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Mar 16, 201012:00 AMAfter Hours

with Jody Glynn Patrick

Enough "Flattery": IB is not going to put up with it any longer.

Enough

IB Publisher Jody Glynn Patrick blends work and life in this very clear departure from both her column for In Business magazine, and the other bloggers. Awarded national recognition for her previous work as a newspaper columnist, she brings us all back "Closer to Home" with her insights and remembrances. A nice place to be "After Hours." Check back often! Read Full Bio

Wondering what you are getting from IB, and what you are receiving from cloaked companies or individuals wanting to sell you something "by association"? Imitation may be the greatest form of flattery, but I'm blowing the whistle right here and now on some out-and-out misrepresentations who are walking-the-line between being annoying and actually violating our brand's legal rights.

IB has a family of products that it has worked to create, establish and market. But more and more often, we're getting e-mails forwarded from readers saying "Is this really coming from you?" and more and more often, the solicitations are not coming from us, regardless of the sender's obvious intention to make it appear that we have a relationship or that, in fact, they represent IB.

First, if you receive an invitation to have a plaque made by a company purporting to be affiliated with IB — a plaque for being named 40 Under 40, or a plaque for being in our Hall of Fame, for example — NO OTHER COMPANY IS AFFILIATED WITH IN BUSINESS MAGAZINE TO PROVIDE THIS SERVICE. We have our own service for this purpose, and those invitations come from our staff members. Not from "In the News" representatives who make it appear that they are working with us. They are NOT. It's an out-of-state company that mines lists for sales leads and them implies relationships that don't exist.

We have the same issue here closer to home. We have our Executive Register and Executive Directory online. Another "magazine" [it appears more to be a coupon-driven entity] trying to enter the market now says to make sure you are on its Executive Directory online, using our well-established product name. They also use our print department names in some of their marketing.

I've told that entity to stop. Usually a magazine wants to differentiate its offerings and offer readers something unique that they bring to the marketplace — not just lift names of the successful products that other entities have spent years building and suggest that those items are in their products.

The most recent forwarded marketing piece that really irritated me the most, however, which I personally responded to, came from a marketing gal offering [subject line] "Free Social Media Marketing Webinar for Madison, WI Executives (IBMadison.com)." Note the use of our Web site's name.

Ms. Stevens went on to say, "Because you are listed in the IBMadison Executive Directory, you are invited to a free social media marketing online seminar" where she outlines her agenda. Then she adds (which would lead readers to think IB had written this, in that it is written in third-party reference): "This online seminar/webinar is being presented by Genia Stevens, a 10-year online marketing veteran and a social media professional ... who has helped clients nationwide tap into diverse markets using effective and strategic social media marketing."

IB did not write that. She did.

She has nothing at all to do with IBMadison.com or In Business magazine. We did not supply a mailing list to her, nor would we sponsor or promote her seminars. This is blatant (in my opinion) misrepresentation, and I told her so, since IB is, in fact, in the middle of its own seminar series offerings.

She responded, "I will place a disclaimer that states we are absolutely not affiliated with IB Madison on the webinar page. Sorry for the confusion."

The impression was already made, and little good that correction does us, or our brand. Given that we are offering a legitimate seminar series to our audience at the present time, with extensive marketing, we don't want you to think that this offering is one of our series events. It is NOT. I have no idea of its quality or purpose — only that we have nothing to do with it at all, and are not endorsing it. It may be the greatest advice since sliced bread — I hope it is — but it isn't originating with us. We have professionals Terry Siebert, Marcia Lindsay, Skip Brennan and Craig Culver as our speakers this year, to bring you advice we think is the greatest advice since bagels!

So I'm going to be very blunt about my position on all of this. IBMadison.com, In Business magazine, and any other product under the IB umbrella, belong to us and only to us. We are working very diligently to continue to create reliable and authentic business tools to serve this market. We are NOT going to allow the brand we are building to be misused, misrepresented, or confused in the marketplace, and will continue to let you know when we feel our brand has been misused, and then let you judge the quality of the product you're being asked to buy from our "associates."

I don't know how much more blunt I have to be. Imitation might be flattering, but brand theft is not. It's unethical.

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About This Blog

IB Publisher Emeritus Jody Glynn Patrick blends work and life in this very clear departure from her other writing for In Business magazine. Awarded national recognition for both her previous work as a newspaper columnist and her journalistic leadership at IB, she brings us all back "Closer to Home" with her insights and remembrances. A nice place to be "After Hours." Check back often!

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