Trademark Registrations for Emojis 0

[This is another excerpt from my Emojis and the Law paper.]

The Trademark Office has registered emoji trademarks. On January 20, 2017, I conducted a search in the TESS database for “emoji” and identified 385 records. At that time, most of those are pending trademark applications; I counted only 62 actual registrations. Of those, most are word marks with no design elements; and the few with design elements usually incorporated an emoji within the design rather than constituting an actual emoji itself. Still, I found a couple of trademark registrations of emojis, including:

Registration No. 5048843 (Sept. 27, 2016) for a key emoji:

key emoji



Registration Nos. 4942364 (April 19, 2016) & 4942363 (April 19, 2016) for emoji stars:

emoji stars




Some other registrations that looked relevant: Registration No. 4997234 (July 12, 2016) (Kissemoji); Registration No. 4942877 (April 19, 2016) (I ♥ Emoji); Registration No. 4884274 (Jan. 12, 2016) (I Am Cardboard); Registration No. 4870069 (Dec. 15, 2015) (Emogi); Registration No. 4860908 (Nov. 15, 2015) (Christian Emojis); Registration No. 4842853 (Oct. 27, 2015) (Volleez); Registration No. 4810852 (Sept. 15, 2015) (Emoji Icons); Registration No. 4742444 (May 26, 2015) (Guess the Emoji); Registration No. 4536604 (May 27, 2014) (Emoji).

As with the copyright analysis I posted earlier, there is no question that this search is wildly under-inclusive. Undoubtedly, many other emoji-like designs have been registered without using the term. See, e.g., Registration No. 3078614 (Apr. 11, 2006) (“A SQUARE WITH A SAD FACE IN THE MIDDLE”):

square unhappy face



I have copies of my search if you want the backup.

Source: Eric Goldman Legal

When Is it Time to Hire a Marketing Agency? 0

Leaky pipe? Time to call a plumber.

Aching tooth? Time to call a dentist.

In some cases, it’s easy to tell when it’s time to call an expert. But when it comes to your small organization’s marketing function, deciding when to hire an outside agency can be a tough call.

You probably already realize that a marketing firm can help your company.

According to, marketing agencies provide small businesses with three key advantages:

  • You don’t need to onboard, train and manage them (like you would an employee).
  • You save lots of money on things like a marketing manager’s salary, payroll taxes and benefits, as well as expensive marketing management tools.
  • You have access to a team of marketing experts.

But when is it time to make the call – and hire an outside marketing firm?

Here are a few telltale signs:

  • You lack a clear strategy – or the resources to execute it.
    Marketing has evolved dramatically over the past decade. Creating a sound plan for success – especially in today’s digital world – requires expert knowledge, cutting-edge tools and substantial time. A marketing agency offers the high-level advice your business needs to develop a solid strategy, and then uses their expertise, proven methods and economies of scale to efficiently execute it.
  • It’s just not getting done.
    Out of necessity, marketing frequently gets pushed down the priority list. Or, maybe you just avoid marketing projects because you don’t like doing them. Regardless of the reason, a professional marketing firm ensures the right things get done, at the right time and in the right way.
  • Sales are flat.
    Despite having an excellent product/service, competitive pricing and exceptional customer service, sales are flat (or declining). An outside agency takes an objective look at your business, and can help you adjust your marketing strategy to differentiate your company, target the right prospects, generate leads and improve the effectiveness of your sales efforts.
  • You don’t have the budget to hire someone.
    Hiring a marketing agency is typically much faster and cost effective than recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training and employing a full-time marketing professional. What’s more, an agency give you access to an entire team of experts – not just a single employee.

Once you decide you need to hire a marketing agency, how can you choose a great one?

Read this earlier post, “What Makes a Good Marketing Agency?

Or, just give BARQAR (bark-er) a call. Our digital and inbound marketing experts can help you create a world-class marketing strategy to build your brand, engage your audiences and drive sales.


The post When Is it Time to Hire a Marketing Agency? appeared first on BARQAR.

Source: Barqar

“Offensive, Rude, Annoying, Mean-Spirited & Ill-Advised” Blog Posts Aren’t Defamatory–Milazzo v. Connolly 0

This is another case study of the overly litigious world of homeowners’ associations. For example, a few months ago, I blogged about another lawsuit involving a condo association, its no-pet policy, and a string of vitriolic blog posts over residents who had emotional support therapy dogs.

111 E ChesnutThe latest lawsuit involves the homeowners’ association for 111 East Chestnut Street (Chicago), a high rise near Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. A few self-described “troublemaker” residents (as they proudly declare, “We’re the sand in the oyster”) run a blog monitoring the association, including breaking news coverage on issues like a cost overrun on hallway renovations and repairs made using “degraded cement.” After an election for association leadership, a losing candidate blogged that the winner, Milazzo, rigged the election; subsequent posts accused the winner of other malfeasances. One post linked to Milazzo’s business website for his dental practice. Due to the blogging, Milazzo claimed that “his dental practice experienced a decline in: (1) patient visits from 546 to 428; (2) new patients from 351 to 268; and (3) total days worked from 162 to 104 (annualized).”

The defamation claim fails. The vote rigging discussion expressly acknowledged it lacked supporting evidence. The discussion claiming Milazzo broke 3 laws didn’t specify which laws. The blog posts that “portray Milazzo as an unsavory, untrustworthy and crooked president incapable of effectively operating the condominium association” were all protected opinions and weren’t capable of verification. Regarding some blogged statements, the court says “an investigation of those claims would be fruitless given their overly vague, broad and conclusory nature lacking any basis in fact.” The court summarizes:

the statements consist of the author’s unsubstantiated rhetoric and opinionated editorial comments, often times resorting to hyperbole…a reasonable reader would not interpret the five blog posts as depicting verifiable facts, but, instead, would understand them as unsubstantiated opinions about Milazzo

The court doesn’t expressly adjust the defamation standards because it’s a blog, but this ruling is consistent with others that have treated blogs as categorically taken less seriously by readers. See, e.g., LeBlanc v. Skinner, Seldon v. Compass Restaurant, Chaker v. Mateo, Sandals v. Google, DiMeo v. Max, Finkel v. Dauber, Bellavia Blatt v. Kel Partners, and Spencer v. Glover.

The opinion has an odd discussion about the hyperlink from the blog to Milazzo’s dental practice website. The opinion says that none of the blog posts explicitly mention the dental practice, so there’s no defamation. The opinion continues:

[the blog post contained] a parenthetical with a hyperlink to Milazzo’s dental practice (Anthony G. Milazzo, D.D.S.), which provided direct access to the alleged defamatory statements to anyone who searched the internet for Milazzo….We have no doubt that defendants, in fact, intended to harm Milazzo’s dental practice, as there appears to be no other purpose for inclusion of the hyperlink. But while the hyperlink may be mean-spirited and ill-advised, the five identified defamatory posts do not attack Milazzo’s profession as a dentist

A footnote adds: “The name “Anthony G. Milazzo, DDS” was hyperlinked to Milazzo’s profile listed on his dental practice’s website. Anyone searching for Milazzo on the internet will be directed to Connolly’s blog.”

It seems like the opinion is conflating different issues. The hyperlink’s anchor text is indexable by the search engines, a point that I make to my Internet Law course every time we discuss the old Promatek v. Equitrac case. However, the anchor text would be indexed whether or not there is a link. The court seems to imply that the presence of the outlink leads to more inbound search engine traffic from people searching for Milazzo, which is just wrong. Fortunately, because the court gets to the right result anyway, let’s call this no-harm/no-foul.

The IIED claim also fails:

Although defendants’ negative rants were certainly offensive, rude, annoying and, we assume, unwarranted, the nature of the criticisms against Milazzo was a far cry from being so unendurable to a reasonable person

If Illinois had a robust anti-SLAPP law (or better yet, if we had a federal anti-SLAPP law that applied here), the defendants probably would be getting their attorneys’ fees.

Case citation: Milazzo v. Connolly, 2017 IL App (1st) 162418-U (Ill. Ct. App. June 6, 2017)

Source: Eric Goldman Legal

How Does Google Handle CSS + Javascript "Hidden" Text? – Whiteboard Friday 0

Posted by randfish

Does Google treat text kept behind “read more” links with the same importance as non-hidden text? The short answer is “no,” but there’s more nuance to it than that. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand explains just how the search engine giant weighs text hidden from view using CSS and JavaScript.

How Google handles CSS and Javascript

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat a little bit about hidden text, hidden text of several kinds. I really don’t mean the spammy, black on a black background, white on a white background-like, hidden text type of keyword stuffing from the ’90s and early 2000s. I’m talking about what we do with CSS and JavaScript with overlays and with folders inside a page, that kind of hidden text.

It’s become very popular in modern web design to basically use CSS or to use JavaScript to load text after a user has taken some action on a page. So perhaps they’ve clicked on a separate section of your e-commerce page about your product to see other information, or maybe they’ve clicked a “read more” link in an article to read the rest of the article. This actually creates problems with Google and with SEO, and they’re not obvious problems, because when you use something like Google’s fetch and render tool or when you look at Google’s cache, Google appears to be able to crawl and parse all of that text. But they’re not treating all of it equally.

So here’s an example. I’ve got this text about coconut marble furnishings, which is just a ridiculous test phrase that I’m going to use for this purpose. But let’s say I’ve got page A, which essentially shows the first paragraph of this text, and then I have page B, which only shows part of the first sentence and then a “read more” link, which is very common in lots of articles.

Many folks do this, by the way, because they want to get engagement data about how many people actually read the rest of the piece. Others are using it for serving advertising, or they’re using it to track something, and some people are using it just because of the user experience it provides. Maybe the page is crowded with other types of content. They want to make sure that if someone wants to display this particular piece or that particular piece, that it’s available to them in as convenient a format as possible for design purposes or what have you.

What’s true in these instances is that Google is not going to treat what happens after this “read more” link is clicked, which is that the rest of this text would become visible here, they’re not going to treat that with the same weight that they otherwise would.

All other things being equal

So they’re on similar domains, they have similar link profiles, all that other kind of stuff.

  • A is going to outrank B for “coconut marble furnishings” even though this is in the title here. Because this text is relevant to that keyword and is serving to create greater relevance, Google is going to weight this one higher.
  • It’s also true that the content that’s hidden behind this “read more” here, it doesn’t matter. If it’s CSS-based, JavaScript-based, post load or loaded when the HTML is, it doesn’t matter, it’s going to be weighted less by Google. It will be treated as though that text were not as important.
  • Interestingly, fascinatingly, perhaps, Bing and Yahoo do not appear to discern between these. So they’ll treat these more equally. Google is the only one who seems to be, at least right now, from some test data — I’ll talk about that in a sec — who is treating these differently, who is basically weighting this hidden content less.

Best practices for SEO and “hidden” text

So what can we discern from this? What should SEOs do when we’re working with our web design teams and with our content teams around these types of issues?

I. We have to expect that any time we hide text with CSS, with JavaScript, what have you, that it will have less ranking influence. It’s not that it won’t be counted at all. If I were to search for “hardwood-like material creates beautiful shine,” like that exact phrase in Google with quotes, both of these pages would come up, this one almost certainly first, but both of these pages would come up.

So Google knows the text is there. It just isn’t counting it as highly. It’s like content that isn’t carrying the same weight as it would if it were visible by default. So, given that we know that, we have to decide in the tradeoff situation whether it’s worth it to lose the ranking value and the potential visitors in exchange for whatever we’re gaining by having this element.

II. We’ve got to consider some creative alternatives. It is possible to make text visible by default and to instead have something like an overlay element. We could have a brief overlay here that’s easily close-able with a message. Maybe that could give us the same types of engagement statistics, because 95% of people are going to close that before they scroll down, or they’re going to receive a popover message or those kinds of things. Granted, as we’ve discussed previously on Whiteboard Friday, overlays have their own issues that we need to be aware of, but these are possible. We can also measure scroll depth by doing some JavaScript tracking. There’s lots of software that does that by default and plenty of GitHub repositories, that are open source, that we could use to track that. So there might be other ways to get the same goals.

III. If it is the case that you have to use the “read more” or any other text hiding elements, I would urge you to go ahead and place the crucial information, including the keyword phrases and the most related terms and phrases that you know are going to be very important to rankings, up in that most visible top portion of the page so that you maximize the ranking weight of the most important pieces rather than losing those below or behind whatever sorts of post-loading situation you’ve got. Make those the default visible portions of text.

I do want to give special thanks. One of the reasons that we know this, certainly Google has mentioned it on occasion, but over the course of the last few years there’s been a lot of skepticism, especially from folks in the web design community who have sort of said, “Look, it seems like Google can see this. It doesn’t seem to be a problem. When I search in quotes for this text, Google is bringing it back.” That has been correct.

But thanks to Shai — I’m sorry if I mispronounce your name — Aharony from Reboot Online,, and I’ll link to the specific test that they performed, but they performed some wonderful, large-scale, long-term tests of CSS, of text area, of visible text, and of JavaScript hiding across many domains over a long period and basically proved to us that what Google says is in fact true, that they are treating this text behind here with less weight. So we really appreciate the efforts of folks like that, who go through intense effort to give us the truth about how Google works.

That said, we will hopefully see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

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Source: Moz

Freshly-Brewed Content Marketing Tips for Your Coffee Shop 0

As a local coffee shop owner, your business is often the most important part of a person’s day — over half of Americans say they’ll prioritize their morning cup of coffee over anything else and they won’t start their day without a cup.

Just like a good cup of coffee, your content marketing needs to be fresh, bold, and enjoyable.

Over 60% of Americans drink at least one cup of coffee every day — try these 4 things make sure that cup is coming from your business:

1. Encourage people to check in at your business

When people are looking for new businesses to visit, one of the first places they look is their social media to see where their friends are visiting.

Every time one of your customers “checks in” to your business on Swarm (partner with Foursquare) or Facebook, that activity shows up in their friends’ feeds.

One of the easiest ways to get your brand in front of new eyes is to encourage your customers to check in — post signs by your register about where customers can check in online or include it on their receipts.

Find brand ambassadors

Social media is a powerful tool — 81% of Americans use it daily — which gives your business the opportunity to reach a lot of potential customers.

Staying active on your business’ social media pages is important, but finding brand ambassadors can help your business connect with even more people.

A brand ambassador is someone who represents and promotes a company — not only endorsing the products or services offered, but also acting as an extension of business’ brand and identity online. This could be a loyal customer, respected community member, or particularly popular employee.

Having brand ambassadors posting on your business’ behalf will extend your business’ reach online and add some extra flavor to your current social media strategy.

Not sure how to find a brand ambassador? Check out our guide!

Photos are your friend

One of the best things about coffee? The latte art.

Coffee photos are one of the most popular types of content on Instagram. Show off your baristas’ incredible art skills and your shop’s atmosphere.

Whenever you’re posting these photos on Instagram, make sure you include hashtags to increase your posts’ reach. Try some of these!

Make sure your captions are as captivating as your photo! Learn How to Write the Best Instagram Captions!

Run social media contests

Offering incentives for your current and potential coffee connoisseurs to engage with your business online is great way to increase your engagement.

The contests your business runs can be simple — ask followers to comment on a Facebook post with their favorite menu item and tag a friend, or ask them to retweet a tweet on Twitter.

The reward you give to the winner is totally up to you — try a free coffee drink of their choice or some coffee shop swag. You’ll delight your customers, get them engaged, and get new eyes on your brand.

Keeping your content marketing fresh will keep your customers enjoying your coffee shop online — which will translate to more people enjoying your coffee in-person!

Main Street Hub helps 10,000 local businesses build and develop strong online presences. Want to see how we can help your business? Get started with us here!

Energize your social media feeds — follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram!

Freshly-Brewed Content Marketing Tips for Your Coffee Shop was originally published in Main Street Hub on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: Main Street Hub