Direct Marketer Questions Perfect 10 Suit

Matt O'Conner
NEW YORK — Search marketing “expert” Kevin Lee says Perfect 10’s pending intellectual property lawsuit against Amazon.com doesn’t hold much water, but Perfect 10 founder Norm Zada tells XBiz that Lee doesn’t have his facts straight.

Perfect 10 last month filed suit against Amazon claiming the online retailer is illegally making available to surfers thousands of proprietary Perfect 10 images through its A9 search engine.

Lee, founder of New York-based search marketing firm Did-it.com, was quoted by several publications saying that the dispute could have been avoided if Perfect 10’s webmaster had taken advantage of A9’s robot exclusion protocol.

Robot exclusion protocols allow site administrators to indicate portions of a website that should not be visited by a search engine robot. Amazon provides a tutorial for using its exclusion protocol on its site.

Lee also speculated that Zada is using the suits to garner free publicity for his magazine and website.

"Ironically, many of Perfect 10's competitors use the fact that spiders crawl images as a method of organic search engine optimization to drive free traffic to the sites," Lee said. "So, while most adult sites want the free traffic and visibility, it appears Perfect 10 wants the opposite, or perhaps they just like to litigate things that also result in good PR and media coverage."

But Zada, who says he was never contacted by the publications that quoted Lee, tells XBiz that Perfect 10 already uses every possible safeguard against property theft on its website and decided to pursue legal action only as a last resort.

“[Exclusion protocols] are completely irrelevant in this case,” Zada says. “You have people in the Czech Republic and Hungary who scan the magazine, and then the images are stolen by thousands of websites, and the search engines [link] to those websites, so it has nothing to do with the Perfect 10 website.”

In fact, out of 1.5 million searches for Perfect 10 models, Zada says, only 10 linked back to original, copyrighted material on his website. The rest linked to websites that stole the images to begin with.

Zada contends that Amazon, not his company, has the power to fix the problem but refuses to do so because that would mean lost ad revenue.

“For every [Perfect 10] image they illegally show, they can sell 10 ads,” Zada says, adding that Perfect 10 has sent seven notices of infringement to Amazon in addition to 34 notices Google, which he also has filed suit against, but both companies continue to display his copyrighted images without authorization.

Neither Google nor Amazon responded to any of the notices, Zada says, forcing his company to take the matter to court.

Lee did not return a call from XBiz for comment.