Legal Question in Technology Law in New York
Hi there. Thank you so much for answering my question. This question requires an attorney who knows about Internet law.
I have created a chrome extension. My users install my software and they know upfront that they will see types of advertisements in return. We are very clear on what types on our home page, we don't hide it in small print fyi. Pop under ads are 1 way, and the 2nd way we WANT to offer are native ads ad injections. You can see outbrain.com or taboola.com who are 2 of the largest that offer this. The difference between them and me are they work directly with web publishers who insert a piece of code on their website and for me, I don't work with the website at all. I can just insert the same type of ad space on any page on any website they visit.
From a developer perspective, it's very easier for us to identy when outbrain and taboola ads are on the page, we know the size, the font color etc... So we can easily put the same type of ad space (with our own advertisers) on the site. When we do that, the web publisher doesn't make any money. Remember, this is an chrome extension that only the users who download see, that's very important. There is hacking involved. This is not something new.
I remember a number of users back there were companies that did a SEARCH ad injection on google. They showed sponsored ads on the search engine and some replaced google ads and some companies pushed google ads lower on the page. I think I may have heard that that was a problem, not sure though. I know Youtube sued a company for replacing their ad spots and that company dissolved before even going into a suit.
But these are the 3 options I want to know if we can do.
1) Can we identify when there is an outbrain or taboola ads, and remove their ad space and replace with ours. This is more aggressive obviously.
2) Can we leave outbrain ad but duplicate it and have ours look the same and push our ad in their current position or they would be below ours. (with this also the web publisher wouldn't like this because they will be making a lot less revenue. But we aren't changing anything on their website itself, it's only changing for user who installs our software.
3) We can do what forbes.com does which as soon as you come to site, they have intersticial and we can do same thing with our native ads, so once they click continue then they carry on to site as normal without any modification.
I also want to point out that ad blockers are extensions that also hide ads fyi.
Does it make a difference if we put in our terms when users sign up what will exactly happen.
1 Answer from Attorneys
I am a tech and startup attorney. Unfortunately your questions require further information and legal research and are outside the scope of what can be answered in this free section.
I can say that revenue from advertising is very valuable to all the parties involved and simply usurping existing ad content could invite a very costly legal action again you, if not properly researched and executed beforehand.
If you are serious about your technology and business operations then you should invest the legal $ in research and properly drafted terms and disclaimers.
Contact me directly.
Roman R. Fichman, Esq.
www.TheLegalists.com │ @TheLegalist
email: Info (@) TheLegalists (dot) com
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