Dec 15

Why SEO Is More Relevant than Advertising Today

Image credit: iPrice

Technology and the Internet have become indispensable aspects of our daily lives. The Internet has grown to become a primary source of information, a platform to promote two-way communication, and a reservoir that provides unlimited business opportunities.

With the advancement of technology comes increasing methods for marketers and business owners to publicize their products and services. Despite the plethora of apps and software that are designed specially to help corporations gain the publicity they seek; many businesses are still relying on traditional methods such as advertising to promote their products or services. Unfortunately, these conventional methods are not as effective as they used to be once upon a time.

Why is Advertising Less Effective than Before?
Advertising strategies have always been an integral part of a marketer’s arsenal. However, there are a variety of factors that have caused advertising to be less effective as a marketing approach than they once were.

The Existence of Ad-Blockers
Every day, while we are surfing the Internet, we are assaulted by hundreds of advertisements. This can be quite irritating as they disrupt our online experience. With that said, there are a variety of ad-blockers that users can install to prevent any information that resembles an advertisement from reaching them. Due to these software and extensions, advertisers have defeat the primary purpose of advertising which is to disseminating information to target demographics.

Advertisements are Perceived as Less Credible Sources
Due to the nature of advertisements being a paid source of publicity, advertisements are deemed as not credible. The information featured on them will only be beneficial towards the advertiser. Advertisers will not be truthful and include information that is detrimental to their businesses, hence users will no longer trust advertisements as a reliable source of information.

The above factors explain why advertisements are not the best marketing approach, which is why businesses today should explore alternative methods to market themselves. One of the most useful techniques that can be applied today is search engine optimization, also known as SEO.

No Pay, No Gain
Unlike SEO, advertisers will need to constantly pump in a certain amount of money to ensure that the ads remain online. Once the allocated budget is exhausted or if advertisers have decided to stop advertising online to cut costs, then the advertisements will also be taken down. On the other hand, SEO does not require constant maintenance and financial commitment compared to advertisements. As long as your content remain relevant and your website is optimised for search engines to identify, your online presence will still be retained.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Although it is one of the best methods with the most potential today, SEO is still heavily underutilised. SEO is a way for businesses to create better brand awareness in the digital atmosphere. According to Sam McRoberts, CEO of VUDU Marketing and an expert in the subject matter, SEO is the process of enabling websites to be more accessiblend understandable to search engines such as Google, Yahoo Search, Bing, et cetera, so that they can rank well on search engines. Many e-commerce companies such as Amazon, Lazada, and iPrice, have benefited by optimising their websites and content for search engines to identify them easily.

Hence, SEO, when used properly, can increase the amount of online traffic and visitors to a company’s website, which increases potential prospects and profits. This is because when consumers nowadays are planning to purchase a product service or looking for information, they will turn to search engines to look for related details.
Why is SEO Relevant?

Businesses looking to venture into the digital sphere should consider investing in SEO techniques as they can help to drive potential sales and increases a business’ visibility much more than online advertising can. An article published by Enquisite supports SEO’s effectiveness by concluding that the click-through rates for organic results from SEO are 8.5x higher than paid search results.

Here are a few reasons why SEO should be the new marketing approach for online-centric businesses:
1. Firstly, the techniques that have been employed by marketing experts to improve one’s ranking on search engines remain useful even today, as proven by many SEO-based case studies. Joshua Guerra, CEO of marketing firm BIZCOR claims that as long as companies are focusing on optimizing user experience while executing SEO strategies, businesses will be able to achieve higher position in search engine rankings as well organic traffic. Furthermore, these techniques are unlikely to stop working in the foreseeable future.

2. Secondly, SEO can also provide a good for ROI for businesses because it costs less than any other forms of online marketing methods such as social media marketing, lead purchasing, online advertising, and so on. Although advertising might generate higher revenue, organic SEO increases and retains a business’ presence online.

3. Furthermore, search engines are becomingly one of the most popular functions online. According to MediaRidge, the number of searches daily have quadrupled since 2007 and Google handles billions of searches every day. Based on statistics mentioned in New Media Campaigns, 81% of users find their desired information and related websites via a search engine, and the number is expected to increase in years to come. Hence, companies should be focusing on their positioning on search engines or else users will be diverted to their competitors instead.

4. Moreover, utilising SEO is also a way for companies to keep up and identify the strategies used by their competitors. More and more companies are realising the importance of SEO and are already channelling their efforts and focus towards building exposure for their products and services online. If a company is not implementing SEO as part of their online strategies, they are bound to lose ground to their competitors for relevant keywords and search terms.

Without a doubt, SEO is the way to go for businesses who are planning to build solid online presence to reach out to more target demographics. SEO is not only a cheaper alternative to other online marketing tactics, it is also a trustworthy method for businesses to build a long-lasting presence digitally. SEO is not exactly rocket science and there are a variety of free tools online that can help you in your SEO initiatives.

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Dec 14

4 Online Marketing Tactics Brick-and-Mortar Stores Can Leverage to …

Many physical retailers continue resisting ecommerce. These businesses are hesitant to venture online, fearing they’ll dilute their existing business model or confuse customers but ignoring mounting evidence that brick-and-mortar shops without an online business are seriously risking failure.

The internet continues to grow as a means of effective advertising and marketing, and retailers that want to survive are using it. Whereas only 60 percent of retailers were using social media strategies in 2013 that number is now believed to be well above 70 percent. If you aren’t using social media or other online marketing approaches, you’re part of the minority.

The key to being a successful retailer in the coming years will lie in your ability to connect with the new generation of millennials and even younger people who now hold massive buying power in today’s economy. And, quite frankly, if you aren’t using online marketing tactics, then you’re missing out on this very important demographic. Already, 72 percent of millennials research an establishment online before walking in to shop.

You can leverage online marketing to maximize offline sales — here are some helpful strategies and tangible takeaways.

Related: How Retailers Are Thriving Despite the Supposed Death of Their Industry

1. Build an online community.

One of the best strategies is to build an online community around a subject matter or niche that’s related to your core product offering. If you’ve primarily been a brick and mortar retailer and now you’re venturing into the online world more, I always recommend content marketing of some kind, since so many people are consuming content now.

You’re eventual goal should be to pump out material on a regular basis that highlights your expertise in the type of business you run. For example, think of a big company that offers tax preparation services. It runs a blog that features stories about new tax rules or tips on tax exemptions. Perhaps this company holds a networking event with speakers who can answer questions about taxes.

You can do all this even if you’re new to ecommerce. By building an active community, you’re simultaneously creating an owned media outlet that can then be leveraged to promote your retail experience. The idea is to make sure people know that they can not only turn to you for finding a certain type of product, but also trust you to generate opinion about that subject so they can understand it better.

Related: 4 Ways Brick-and-Mortar Stores Can Outsell Online Retailers

2. Use Google AdWords (and other paid advertising).

In order to reach today’s customer, you have to think like them. If you were a potential customer who didn’t know your business existed, how would you discover the business? Sure, you could drive by and see it, but millennials are more likely to search for something on Google.

If you want to reach these searchers – which could potentially be a group of thousands in your immediate geographical area – then you must invest in paid advertising. Google AdWords will probably give you good bang for your buck.

Related: 3 Eras in the Evolution of Brick-and-Mortar Retail to a Digital Future With a Happy Ending

3. Connect the dots with email.

If you aren’t asking customers to sign up for some kind of rewards program, you’re missing out on the opportunity to build a valuable contact list. You should be collecting email addresses at checkout.

When you collect emails, you can then build an email list that can be used to advertise deals, share news, and promote special in-store offers. When users have access to such deals, they may be less likely to shop online for a certain product and more likely to wait until visiting your store.

Related: Technology’s Daydream Is Becoming the Nightmare of Brick-and-Mortar Retail

4. Make web design a priority.

Last but not least, your web design is a direct reflection of your business. Specifically, you need to pay attention to mobile web design. While you may not think of web design as a component of Internet marketing, it certainly is. Just consider that 57 percent of users won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile website.

People who put together mobile sites nowadays have it down to a science. Everything from load times to placement of certain items on your smart phone screen heavily influences whether or not someone makes a purchase. Do your homework, hire someone with experience in this area, and put together something strong that helps you transition to the online world.

In the end, the path to success is clear. If brick and mortar stores want to survive the ongoing shift to an ecommerce-based economy, they need to invest in ways of optimizing their online experience. How your site looks and how you communicate with the communities you create is almost as important as how much customers connect with your product. If you leverage the online world right, you’ll keep customers that Amazon is only too eager to snatch away from you.

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Dec 13

Cloudflare Grows Enterprise Business More Than 80 Percent Year Over Year Amid Significant Product RolloutsThe …

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 12, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Cloudflare, the leading Internet performance and security company, today announced record growth for its business. The company continued its expansion into enterprise services, with that business growing more than 80 percent and average deal size up nearly 40 percent year over year. Cloudflare now protects more than seven million Internet properties and has nearly 2,000 enterprise customers. Roughly half of Cloudflare’s business is from outside the United States.

“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished over the past year, expanding our network, team, and capabilities as part of our goal to help build a better Internet,� said Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare. “We have continued to significantly expand and broaden our product offering, and I am looking forward to bringing an even better Internet experience to our customers in 2018.�

Today’s announcement caps off a strong year for Cloudflare. In 2017, the company announced 14 new products, including Argo, a smart routing system that improves performance for customers, Orbit, a solution that protects millions of IoT devices from the network level, Cloudflare Apps, a free platform that enables developers to build applications for Cloudflare’s millions of customers, and Cloudflare Stream, the company’s first video solution that makes integrating high-quality streaming video into a web or mobile application easy.

In addition to these announcements, Cloudflare hired its first CFO, and acquired Neumob to extend its benefits to mobile devices. The company’s global network spans 119 unique cities across 58 countries, has 15 Tbps of network capacity, and is the most interconnected to Internet exchanges globally among edge networks.

In December 2017, independent analyst firm Forrester Research Inc. included Cloudflare in its Forrester Waveâ„¢ for DDoS Mitigation Solutions report. Cloudflare was listed as a leader among 10 other vendors.

Cloudflare now has more than 500 employees, up from 300 just over a year ago. The company continues to grow its engineering, sales, marketing, and support teams across its offices in San Francisco, Austin, Champaign, IL, London, New York, Washington, D.C., and Singapore.

To learn more about Cloudflare, please check out the resources below:

About Cloudflare
Cloudflare, Inc. ( / @cloudflare) is on a mission to help build a better Internet. Today the company runs one of the world’s largest networks that powers more than 10 trillion requests per month, which is nearly 10 percent of all Internet requests for more than 2.5 billion people worldwide. Cloudflare protects and accelerates any Internet application online without adding hardware, installing software, or changing a line of code. Internet properties powered by Cloudflare have all web traffic routed through its intelligent global network, which gets smarter with each new site added. As a result, they see significant improvement in performance and a decrease in spam and other attacks. Cloudflare was recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer, named the Most Innovative Network Internet Technology Company for two years running by the Wall Street Journal, and ranked among the world’s 50 most innovative companies by Fast Company. Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Cloudflare has offices in Austin, TX, Champaign, IL, Boston, MA, Washington, DC, London, and Singapore.

Daniella Vallurupalli
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Dec 12

business internet los angeles

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Commercial VOIP Internet Service Providers to help you for growing your business

With the advent of new technology and Business Phone Internet Providers Los Angeles, people are given more options to reach out to others in the form of cellular phones, landlines, and internet. The world unites through communication. This is the element that brings different groups of people with a common purpose together. In the olden times, sending of letters was the most popular means of communication.

The release of more gadgets to enhance the activity of communication carries both personal and business benefits. Not to mention that doing business today oftentimes calls for a personal touch to attain the trust and confidence of associates. You need to establish constant communication with partners to coordinate properly and execute plans according to instructions.

The technology of voip harbours the feature of transmission of sound into audio signals and then sending them across the network with the help of fiber optics. This system is very cheap and also is extremely economical. The performance is of course fast and therefore voip is making its presence felt all over the world.

There are many Commercial Voip Internet Service Providers which give lots of services to their customers and hence they have quite a high degree of demand. The technology is also useful because of the versatility in its nature and hence it can be used in a multiple number of ways. The world all over sees VoIP carrier services being established and also getting customers, the number of which keeps on growing with every day.

These services hence are now being used in a major way not only for the purpose of personal communication but also for the purpose of commercial and business communication. Hence corporate establishments have started to utilize the advantages of this technology and therefore business communication has changed completely.

In today’s competitive times, getting the right business internet banking services plays a crucial role in your business success. If you’re a small business owner, looking for a bank, financial institution, or credit union partner can sometimes be very frustrating. For small business owners, it is quite difficult to find a bank that can finance your operations as and when you need. Locating in a small town or far-flung area simply adds insult to the injury. In such a scenario, online business banking services can actually solve your problem and help you in getting required finance to grow and manage your business.

Having a Business Internet Los Angeles plan is essential to reaching success online. Internet marketing is a concept that is considered as an essential requirement for any type of business today. There are lots of websites nowadays that are focused on providing assistance to people in terms of internet marketing planning. Most of the ideas that are provided by these websites are most effective on small businesses.

An increase in the number of internet users has brought about an increase in internet service. It can now be accessed through satellite, mobile, dial up and broadband methods. The Commercial Internet Service is a global system of various interconnected networks that use the standard internet protocol suite to provide services. It has grown tremendously within the years. This is due to the development of technology and an increase in the number of computer users.

People these days find it extremely hard to determine which Voip service provider is the best considering that the number of service providers has increased a good deal in the past few years. This technology is extremely famous not just amongst commercial users, but amongst home based users also. Voip has revolutionized the entire conventional phoning system.

For those who wonder why Voip has gained such immense popularity in such a short period of time must take a look at the benefits offered by it. The major reason why Commercial Voip Providers services are so popular these days is that it enables you to make free computer to computer calls, where PC to phone calls are rather cost-effective.

Choosing the Business Internet Providers, especially for businesses that require internet accessing, is a must. Nowadays, more and more internet lines have been developed so the competency for this is becoming quite high. There are normal business lines that offer digital data transfer. These are the phone lines we know which transmits voice as an analog signal – and when you use it with a modem, it can transfer digital data, though not at high speed.

Always known as information super highway, the net has become a major part of human lives. It what holds almost every piece of information an individual might need. In most of the companies whose services and products can be accessed worldwide, they rely heavily on the use of internet. The net is mostly used by many people for interaction purposes. This is where everyone meets to exchange ideas, play some online games and also do or carry out some trade transactions.

For any company to carry out its services or trade using the net, it must have acknowledgement from the internet service providers who give business internet services for all companies. This is also where information about any organizations dealing with its clients online is stored. Each provider has its different ways of allowing access to all the websites stored in the world wide web.

Get the kind of phone system that works for you. With online resources, you can get help from medium providers recognized by consumers and businesses professionals. Business Phone Providers gives a reliable, convenient, and most of all affordable way to have your business needs meet. It does not matter whether you need it for a small business or large company, it will always serve a business the better way.

One way or another choosing a particular site to purchase the important elements of your business phone service can serve just right. Choose among voip, long distance and local calls, and other telecommunication products and services features. There is a place for buyers and marketers to meet and share common interests and ideas.

Pop over to this web-site for getting more information related to Commercial Voip Internet Service Providers.

This article was written by business internet providers for on .

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Dec 11

North America Internet Security Market (2016-2022): Analysis By Products & Services, Technologies & Application … – SYS

The “North
America Internet Security Market (2016-2022)”
report has been
added to Research and Markets’ offering.

In today’s multi-national nature of business, cloud computing solutions
are used widely. Cloud based solutions are used for various purposes
such as storage, platform, computing, etc. Due to the ability to
optimize total cost of ownership of business resources, companies are
using cloud services extensively. Increased usage of cloud solution
induces several risks such as data breaches from client systems, data
loss due to malevolent attacks, traffic hijacking by attacker, insecure
interfaces, denial of service (DoS) attacks, data theft or alteration by
malicious insiders, cloud abuse to break encryption keys, etc. The
security solutions are of grave importance in overcoming these hazards.

The major factors driving the internet security market are increased
internet usage due to advances in wireless communication technology,
internet security offered over cloud services, strict government
regulations and increase in online financial activities. On the other
hand, some of the restraints associated with internet security services
is the lack of awareness amongst users and the use of pirated protection
solutions, which provide limited security features.

The report highlights the adoption of Internet Security market in North
America. Based on the Product Services, the Internet Security Market
is segmented into Hardware, Software and Services segment. Based on the
Technologies, the market is bifurcated into Authentication, Access
Control Technology, Content Filtering and Cryptography segments.
According to the Application, the Internet Security Market is segmented
into BFSI, Retail, IT Telecommunications, Government, Manufacturing,
Education, Aerospace Defense and Others segments. The countries
included in the report are U.S, Canada, Mexico and Rest of North America.

Companies Mentioned

  • IBM Corporation
  • Google Inc.
  • HP Enterprise Company
  • Cisco Systems
  • Intel Corporation
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Dell Inc.
  • Symantec Corporation

Key Topics Covered:

1. Market Scope Methodology

2. Market Overview

3. North America Internet Security Market – By Products Services

4. North America Internet Security Market – By Technologies

5. North America Internet Security Market – By Application

6. Country Level Analysis

7. Company Profile

For more information about this report visit

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Dec 10

The Amazon Effect: Changing market conditions


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Challenging market conditions, year-over-year declines in sales, red tape on the doors of yet another big-box retailer … Could this be the end of an era? OfficeMax, part of the first wave of development on Veterans Memorial Drive, closes its doors Dec. 16. The closure marks the largest retail exit Batavia’s seen since 2011, when Lowe’s Home Improvement announced its closure and suddenly left vacant a 61,973 square-foot property. Across the nation, retailers have set a similar scene, haunting business owners with the image of permanently shut doors. Small businesses have been left to worry for their stability in wake of the mounting crisis. Their biggest threat may not be the struggling economy, though. In fact, local experts point to something seemingly much less sinister — Amazon.

Offering quality products, creating imaginative storefronts and relying on word of mouth were once all it took to succeed in declining markets, but the advent of the internet changed the game. Now, those in the business of selling have to worry about click-through rates, bounce rates and a slew of other analytics determined by internet users. It’s complicated business.

“Amazon is buying available web ad impressions targeting the 14020 zip code,” said Michael Messerly, publisher of the Daily News. “What’s discouraging is Amazon is getting these web impressions for fractions of a penny.”

The term ‘web impression’ refers to the point in which an ad is displayed on a web page, or viewed by a visitor, and it’s one of the most important tools an online marketer can rely on.

“When local businesses don’t compete for their share, Amazon and other online retailers will happily keep winning the online marketing wars,” Messerly explained. “The Daily News wins those fights against Amazon, but local businesses have to be willing to step into the ring with us.”

If they don’t, Amazon will continue to reign supreme. Its ubiquitous nature can serve shoppers at any place and any time with just the click of a button, and it means local entities need to fight even harder for their dollars.

“Amazon is winning the consumer dollar inside the stores, too,” Messerly said. “People are finding products in the store and price-checking them against Amazon’s inventory. One of Amazon’s busiest shopping times is at 3 a.m. People are waking up in the middle of the night, can’t get back to sleep and they grab their phones and start shopping. That’s tough to compete against if you’re a small- to medium-sized business.”

Tough, but not impossible, Messerly said. Local businesses have to invest more, not only in advertising, but in the shopping experience, too.

“What business owners also need to focus on is making shopping their stores a memorable event,” Messerly said. “Shopping is now much more social than it is transactional and I don’t think many small businesses get that. Consumers are repeatedly visiting businesses that make shopping their stores a uniquely memorable experience.”

Some local businesses, like Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle and Charles Men’s Shop, though, have been riding that wave for years.

“We pride ourselves in servicing our customers,” said Dave Howe, Charles Men’s Shop co-owner. “Retail has a lot of different cycles, but we still subscribe to the service aspect.”

Customers who participated in the Nov. 25 Small Business Saturday event saw that firsthand. Some even stopped to mention how much they appreciated the personalized service.

And the owners themselves said they know how important it is to always lend a helping hand to someone who might need an explanation or a little extra assistance. The owners of Charles Men’s Shop aren’t afraid to hand-press shirts or walk customers down the street to help them pick out shoes, they said. And at the toy store, providing demonstrations of toys and games so that the customer knows just what he or she is getting is old hat.

According to Messerly, those are some of the best tricks in the book.

“It’s up to the business owner to close the sale,” Messerly said. “If a customer walks into a business and doesn’t see value nor service, there’s no amount of advertising that can make up for that type of shopping experience.”

In its third-quarter report, Sears — which also owns K-Mart — operated at a loss.

The third quarter ended on Oct. 28 and in the report released recently, Sears had a net loss of $558 million. While Sears has been improving in revenues, its income decline was attributed in large part to the number of stores closing.

“Revenues were also negatively impacted by reductions in the number of pharmacies in open K-mart stores, as well as the reduction in consumer electronics assortments in both our K-mart and Sears stores,” the report stated. “Total comparable store sales declined 15.3 percent during the quarter. K-mart comparable store sales decreased 13 percent, while Sears comparable store sales declined 17 percent.”

(Reporter Mallory Diefenbach contribued to this story.)

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Dec 09

Farmington, Utah Business Wins Grand Prize Worth $25000 in Annual ‘ Small Business of the Tour’ Award

Rhodes Physical Therapy selected from 20 finalists across the U.S. to receive online marketing services provided by’s team of experts

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Dec. 08, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — (Nasdaq:WEB), the umbrella sponsor of the Tour and a leading provider of a full range of Internet services and online marketing solutions for small businesses, today announced Farmington, Utah-based Rhodes Physical Therapy is the winner of the inaugural Small Business of the Tour Award. The grand prize honors an outstanding small business for its community involvement and partnership with its local Tour tournament.’s Hannah Hawkins (left) and Jon Rhodes (right), physical therapist and owner of Rhodes Physical Therapy, during the July 16 Small Business of the Tournament Award trophy presentation from the grounds of the 2017 Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Chosen by the public from a field of 20 finalists from across the country, Rhodes Physical Therapy is the recipient of online marketing products and services valued at $25,000 – which is about 10 times the average small business annual media and marketing spend, according to advisory firm BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor.

“Both the Tour and the Small Business of the Tournament are designed to help passionate professionals reach their potential,” said David L. Brown, chairman, chief executive officer and president of “Through our best-in-class advisors and marketing technologies, we look forward to helping Rhodes Physical Therapy improve its online presence, reach more customers, and connect more often with the customers it has.”

“I always wanted to have a family business,” says Rhodes Physical Therapy Founder Jon Rhodes. “I had to start from zero, and you’re not really sure where the patients will come from, but going out and finding them has been a great experience. It will be amazing to redo our entire online presence, including redesigning our website, integrating the ability to make appointments, ask physical therapists questions and get advice.”

On July 16, Rhodes automatically entered into the grand prize competition after receiving the Small Business of Tournament Award during the Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank.

About Rhodes Physical Therapy
Rhodes Physical Therapy is an orthopedic and sports physical therapy practice in Farmington, Utah. The business is owned and operated by Jon Rhodes, a practicing physical therapist with 18 years of experience. Founded just two years ago, the company has experienced rapid growth and has already opened a second location. Jon is a certified golf performance specialist, and Rhodes Physical Therapy has partnered with the local PGA (Utah Golf Association) to create seminars to help golfers improve their swings. For more information, please visit or follow the company on Facebook at

About Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:WEB) is a global provider of a full range of Internet services to small businesses to help them compete and succeed online. meets the needs of small businesses anywhere along their lifecycle with affordable, subscription-based solutions including domains, hosting, website design and management, search engine optimization, online marketing campaigns, local sales leads, social media, mobile products, eCommerce solutions and call center services. For more information, please visit; follow the company on Twitter @webdotcom or on Facebook at


Corporate Communications
(904) 680-6633


Source: Group, Inc.

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Dec 08

Luxe Brands Win Internet Ruling — WSJ

European court rules luxury brands may protect image by restricting web sales

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This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (December 7, 2017).

Luxury brands can restrict retailers from selling their products on web platforms like Inc. and eBay Inc. to protect their image, the European Union’s top court ruled Wednesday.

The decision gives luxury companies a powerful tool in Europe to safeguard their exclusivity, which has become a key concern as the sector expands online sales.

In its judgment, the European Court of Justice said companies are allowed to impose certain conditions in their contracts with retailers if the goal is to preserve a brand’s luxury image and as long as the company doesn’t discriminate among retailers.

The case stems from a dispute between U.S.-based cosmetics manufacturer Coty Inc. and German retailer Parfümerie Akzente GmbH, which sells Coty’s products on Amazon. Coty, whose brands include the cosmetics lines of Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs and Chloe, objected to the practice, citing contractual clauses that prevented the sale of its goods through third parties.

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A German court referred the case to the ECJ.

“The quality of luxury goods is not simply the result of their material characteristics, but also of the allure and prestigious image which bestows on them an aura of luxury,” the ECJ said. “That aura is an essential aspect of those goods in that it thus enables consumers to distinguish them from other similar goods.”

Coty welcomed the ruling. “After years of uncertainty, this means luxury brands can determine how they are placed on digital platforms,” it said.

Oliver Spieker, a partner at law firm GÖRG, who represents Parfümerie Akzente, said: “This decision will have an impact on selective distribution systems for a variety of brand-name products as the manufacturers of such goods might argue they are also protecting a luxury image.”

Parfümerie Akzente welcomed the clarity provided by the ruling, Mr. Spieker added, however.

In the U.S., third-party retailers frequently use Amazon to sell luxury merchandise online, to the chagrin of many brands.

However, U.S. law gives little leverage to luxury brands over e-commerce companies. The so-called first-sale doctrine limits the ability of brands to control how their brands are sold once they are distributed to wholesalers.

The ruling comes as the EU is pushing to eliminate online obstacles to the sale of goods and services across borders in Europe, known as the digital single market. Internet advocates say restrictions like Coty’s deprive consumers of choice and lower prices.

“Today’s verdict does nothing to help foster the digital single market… this judgment is bad news for consumers who will face less choice and also less competition when they want to shop online,” said Jakob Kucharczyk, vice president for competition and EU regulatory policy at the U.S.-based Computer Communications Industry Association, a lobby group that represents Amazon and eBay.

Luxury conglomerates such as LVMH Möet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Kering Co. and Cie. Financière Richemont SA are opening their own e-commerce sites or working with specialized luxury internet retailers, such as Yoox Net-a-Porter. This week, Céline, the French fashion house owned by LVMH, opened its own e-commerce operation.

The luxury industry worries that these efforts could be undermined by unauthorized sales over the internet. Luxury goods displayed on websites run by Amazon or other independent e-commerce sites are often sold at discounted prices and displayed next to mass-market brands. Luxury companies say that undermines the aura of exclusivity they strive to build around their merchandise.

Companies like Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group have shunned mass-market platforms on concerns they don’t proactively police their sites for counterfeits and unauthorized retailers.

The court’s decision appears narrowly tailored to the demands of marketing luxury goods online while most marketplace bans relate to mass-market products that can be found in most physical stores, according to Mr. Kucharczyk.

Those types of restrictions are still the focus of some competition regulators.

“Our preliminary view is that such manufacturers [outside the luxury industries] have not received carte blanche to impose blanket bans on selling via platforms,” said Andreas Mundt, head of Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, which has scrutinized similar restrictions by Adidas AG and Asics Corp.

Write to Natalia Drozdiak at and Matthew Dalton at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 07, 2017 02:47 ET (07:47 GMT)

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