How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question

Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 90118
Experience:  All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
10285032
Type Your Business Law Question Here...
Law Educator, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Is it legal to target my competitors clients

Customer Question

I build websites (B2B) for a particular niche industry. I have a competitor that offers the same B2B service but lacks many of my features. Am I legally allowed to go to hundreds of my competitor's client's websites and fill out their website contact form telling them about my service and how it is better? Also, Will this cause trouble with the CAN-SPAM act since this is through a website form and not a direct email? I really need a referenced answer so I can proceed confidently.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  JG replied 3 years ago.

JG :

Despite its name, the CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t apply just to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” including email that promotes content on commercial websites. The law makes no exception for business-to-business email. That means all email – for example, a message to former customers announcing a new product line – must comply with the law.

Customer:

Hello JG, thank you, XXXXX XXXXX saw that on the FCC website which is why it was a secondary question. What about targeting my competitors directly? According to the FCC I can send an email if I label it correctly and follow other rules, but what about actually targeting my competitor's clients specifically stating that I know they are using company X and this is why they should consider my company Y

JG :

You should avoid using the competitors name if possible because as you know these claims will be viewed with intense scrutiny by your competitor.

JG :

If you make 10 claims about your competitors product and 1 is false you open yourself up to serious liability under the lanham act.

JG :

It is advisable for you to avoid specifically naming the competitor and you can follow all the provisions of the CAN-SPAM act.

Customer:

So you're saying if I don't mention the competitor's name and I follow the below FTC rules I am allowed to email hundreds of my competitor's clients showing them the benefits of my service?


The FTC’s rules require:



  • Identification – Unsolicited commercial email sent to non-wireless accounts must be clearly identified as a solicitation or advertisement for products or services.

  • Offering a Way to Reject Future Messages – Commercial email senders must provide easily-accessible, legitimate ways for recipients to reject future messages from that sender.

  • Return Address – All commercial email, and email considered transactional and relationship messages (about existing transactions), must contain legitimatereturn email addresses, as well as the sender’s postal address.

  • Subject Lines – Commercial email senders must use subject lines that are accurate. Using misleading or bogus subject lines to trick readers into opening messages is prohibited.


 

Customer:

by email I mean contact them through the website form*

JG :

Unfortunately, I cannot give you a "legal opinion" that is meant for your to rely on and act upon- this site and attorney ethics do not allow it. I can only point in the direction of the law and relevant information and let you evaluate for yourself. If you would like such an opinion you need to hire a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction that you can form an attorney client relationship with.

Customer:

Hello JG, I understand you've put in time but I don't feel I've gotten a usable response based on my question that said I need to be able to proceed confidently. I guess my main question was that can I legally use a platform that my competitor provides to contact their clients (the contact form). I wanted to know that if my competitor realized I emailed several hundred of their clients from their contact forms, would they have a legal right to pursue me.

JG :

I will opt out and allow another expert to help you- unfortunately none of the experts on the site will be able to provide you with a "legal opinion" on whether or not you may or may not be liable performing certain acts.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Your previous expert has asked me to review this matter. If you are not obtaining the information on their clients from the competitor directly (stealing their proprietary client lists) and are obtaining the information from other sources, then as long as you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act and can prove you obtained the client information from a publicly available source, then the competitor cannot sue you for contacting their clients, this is called free market competition and you have a right to advertise to targeted clients who can use your product.


I hope you found my answer helpful, please click on the GREEN ACCEPT button above for my answer. This is necessary for me to be paid for my work and so that I can get credit for assisting you. Your question will not close, and you will still have the opportunity to follow-up if needed. Leaving a bonus and positive feedback is not required, but doing so is certainly appreciated!

If you have additional questions, please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Please consider that I am answering the question or question that is posed in your posting based upon my reading of your post and sometimes misunderstandings can occur. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered.

Also remember, sometimes the law does not support what we want it to support, but that is not the fault of the person answering the question, so please be courteous.

There can also be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be helping other customers or taking a break.

You can always request me through my profile at http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-paulmjd/ or beginning your question with “For PaulMJD…”

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hello Paul,

Thank you very much! So having a large list websites in this niche and then simply going to each site and making a note that it is from that competitor, and then contacting them would be legal?

Makes sense to me. Thanks!
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, since that is open to the general public and not proprietary information only known to the competitor.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 90118
Experience: All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
Law Educator, Esq. and 9 other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Law Pro

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    1426
    20 years experience in business law - sole proprietor, partnership, and corporations
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/lawpro/2012-6-25_171315_PT206740s.64x64.jpg Law Pro's Avatar

    Law Pro

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    1426
    20 years experience in business law - sole proprietor, partnership, and corporations
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DC/DCraneEsq/2012-8-14_14436_DCrane.64x64.jpg MShore Law's Avatar

    MShore Law

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    1233
    Drafted Negotiated and/or Reviewed Thousands of Commercial Agreements
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    1162
    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    1142
    Run my own successful business/contract law practice.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/ohioatty/2009-1-22_185545_me.jpg J.Hazelbaker's Avatar

    J.Hazelbaker

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    393
    Experienced and trained in the area of business law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/scottymacesq/2009-6-10_221523_small.jpg RGMacEsq's Avatar

    RGMacEsq

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    393
    Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/barristerinky/2012-6-10_22423_office.64x64.jpg Barrister's Avatar

    Barrister

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    301
    13 years practicing attorney, MBA