Risks Involved in Marketing Online

I always talk about the upsides to building an online life insurance business.  Lets take a look at one of the biggest downsides:

People WILL come after you.  If they haven’t yet, it’s only a matter of time.

Here’s what I mean.  Over the last 12 months I’ve had to battle the following:

1) An agent reported my website to 6 life insurance companies for deceptive marketing practices.  This was an anonymous complaint that I’m certain was from a competing agent.  I had to deal with legal departments for 2 weeks who all “ok’d” my website – I just had to fill out some compliance forms and add some disclosures.  It was a huge time suck for me since there is nothing deceptive about my marketing practices.  It just alerted those life insurance companies that I didn’t have the disclosures they required (which I do now).

2) I’ve had agents bad mouth me on guest blog posts and advertising.  Adding comments to the tune of “don’t use him, I’m way better” then plugging their website…stuff like that.  Basically hijacking my marketing.  I’m tempted to “out” the sites that do this consistently, but I won’t.  They’re not really competition anyway…but it’s a frustrating thing to deal with.

3) I’ve received 2 cease and desist letters from 2 VERY well known names in our industry.  I defeated the first one easily as it was completely frivolous and I’m in the middle of battling the 2nd one (with several other agents who received them) which they’re pressuring hard.   These are from articles written on our websites.  Again – we’re doing nothing wrong, it’s just bigger business picking on smaller businesses.

4) I received a demand letter from G-E-T-T-Y Images (I don’t want to draw attention from them, so I hyphenated) for an image on my website.  They’re demanding $947 or to take me to court.  I purchased the image for $1 from stock photo site, but I guess they didn’t have the rights to sell it.  Even though the image isn’t on my site anymore, they still are coming after me.  I’m still fighting this one.  Be careful of the images you use!  G-E-T-T-Y isn’t the only one going after bloggers.

This is just SOME of the stuff that comes with the territory of marketing online.   I know others that are dealing with different issues  – these are just the one’s that I’ve had to deal with this year.

With that said, you need to be prepared to deal with these situations in a calm and professional manner.  These types of things will happen and it’s part of our business.

I write this mostly as a warning for other agents out there who are marketing online.  It’s normal, don’t panic…it just means your pushing the limits and that’s a good thing!