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What is the Telephone Preference Service?

12. January 2010 19:41

A telephone

In the UK it is unlawful to place a direct marketing call to an individual or organisation who has objected, either directly a company or with the central registration scheme - the TPS or CTPS.

The Telephone Preference Service enables individuals or organisations in the United Kingdom to register their objection to receiving direct marketing calls with a central service.

Telemarketing companies are able to receive a list of numbers that have been registered by subscribing to the TPS and or CTPS.

The regulations require that companies comply with an individual's request for suppression made to the central registration scheme within 28 days.

Who needs to comply with the regulations?

All businesses including charities and voluntary organisations who make direct marketing calls to both 'cold' lists and customer lists should be screened against the TPS data before telephone calls are made to ensure they comply with the regulations.

Does TPS apply to customers of a business?

The regulations cover all telephone calls whether they are customers or non-customers. If a customer has registered with TPS you can only call them if they have indicated that they do not object to you calling them.

What are the consequences of calling a number registered with the TPS/CTPS?

Should a subscriber registered with the TPS make a complaint about unsolicited direct marketing telephone calls from a business or other organisation, the Telephone Preference Service Limited (TPSL) will investigate the circumstances in which the call was made. A record of the complaint will be sent to the Information Commissioner's Office, who are responsible for enforcing the regulations.

A TPS subscriber can also contact the Information Commissioner’s Office directly to complain about an unsolicited direct marketing Telephone call which they have received.

How do I get the TPS/CTPS suppression list?

A number of options are available such as list cleaning services, call barring services along with services aimed at helping small companies comply with the regulations.
Visit the TPS website for further details www.TPSonline.org.uk

Picture used under Creative Commons from macinate

Domain Name Dilemma

27. October 2009 18:43

There’s an interesting piece of advice in the November 2009 issue of .NET magazine concerning choosing unique domain names.

A reader wrote in to the Expert Advice column explaining that he had bought a .co.uk domain and the equivalent .tv and .mobi variants for a website he was about to set-up.  However after purchasing the domains the reader stumbled across the .net version of the domain which was already an existing website owned by someone else and providing very similar content to what the reader had planned for his site.

The reader wanted to know if it was best to continue developing his site or think of another domain name that was unique.

The advice given by .NET magazine’s legal expert Struan Robertson was:

“I’d urge you to pick a different name.  That’s partly because a complaint from the established site is foreseeable.”

Struan mentions that keeping the name would cause “confusion in the marketplace, by “harming their goodwill”

“It’s generally in you’re best interests to avoid this type of battle”

Struan goes on to advise:

“Pick a new name that lets you establish your own brand identity from the start.”  “Even if you were to win [a dispute] in the end, such a dispute would cost you far, far more than a few domain names.”

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Category: Domain Names | Legalities

Displaying Business Contact Details on your Website

25. October 2009 22:13

Providing details about your business gives visitors to your website confidence that they are dealing with a legitimate company, it is also required by UK law.  The absence of such information will generally arouse suspicion and most probably affect the potential of your website to drive sales.

Whether you are trading as a sole trader, partnership or limited company you need to display certain information about your company on your website.

You are required to show the full name of the company, registered number, registered office address, email address, VAT number if applicable and the place of registration.

If you are a sole trader or partnership you are required to display your name and partners’ names and business addresses in addition to the information above.


Category: Legalities

Email Marketing Strategy

28. July 2009 20:08

Just because email marketing is much cheaper than more traditional forms of marketing communications doesn't mean you should put less thought into your email marketing strategy.  Sending the same irrelevant message to thousands of in-boxes who aren't expecting email messages from your company is unlikely to be effective and will gradually reduce your future campaigns effectiveness as your emails will begin to be flagged by spam filters as annoyed end-users add your email to their spam list.  Remember that email marketing should not just be used for sales or promotional benefit but to maintain your relationship with existing customers.

Build Customer Lists

Crucial to the success of an email marketing campaign is building an opt-in list of customers who have actively chosen to receive your email updates.  How you do this depends on your business and website, but this needs to be thought through carefully as the wording will have a major impact on how many customers opt-in.  Don't just obtain your customers email addresses online as these may only represent a fraction of your customer base.  Remember you will need to state clearly how you will handle and store their data, especially in relation to 3rd parties; How you do this depends on the data protection laws in your country.

Market Segmentation and Personalisation

Producing emails that are relevant to your email recipients is vital.  Invest in Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) and use it to identify different segments within your list, you can then build emails that target specific audiences within your lists to maximise the response from your campaigns.  Consider using an approach like Amazon, which sends emails with recommendations based on your previous purchases.

Create Compelling Email Marketing Campaigns

Your email recipients are only one-click away from opting out of your email list, so it is vital that each campaign you send out has a clear purpose and objective which is relevant to each recipient.  Remember that your audience has chosen to receive communications from your company so reward these customers for their loyalty by creating offers and promotions especially for them which add value to your marketing messages.  Examples of this are restaurants such as La Tasca who regularly send vouchers to their customers by email.

Analyse and Learn from your Email Campaigns

It's important to spend time analysing each campaign you send out to make sure you listen to your audience.  Pay attention to hard and soft bounce-backs, keep records of every campaign, what changes you make and the resultant effect of the changes on opt-out requests, click-throughs and 'send to a friend' requests etc.  Determine which changes had positive effects and use this information to improve your future campaigns.

Domain Ownership

24. July 2009 18:49

Your domain name is a valuable asset to your business, without it your website and email would stop working.  Yet so many businesses fail to insure that the company's domain names are registered in the company's name.

This can happen for a number of reasons, either way when the relationship between the company and the person who registered the domain (domain registrar) comes to an end, the business will find out sooner or later that they don't control and therefore can't manage their company's domain name.

The company may find that the domain registrar is no longer contactable, may have let the domain name expire or simply retain ownership and make things difficult for the company.  If the business cannot negotiate for the domain name to be transferred to the company the last resort is to resolve the dispute through a procedure known as a Uniform Dispute Resolution Procedure (UDRP).

A company does not have an automatic right to the domain name and will need to present their case in order to succeed.  The business will need to either show that the domain was originally registered in bad faith, the registrar did not have a legitimate interest in it or the domain name is a registered trademark of the business.  A UDRP can be a time-consuming and costly process and success is not guaranteed.

It is therefore imperative that a business actively manage their domain names.

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Category: Domain Names | Legalities