Friday, December 14, 2007

12/14/07 - Saving Your Company Money


This issue: saving your company money…

1. Health Freedom Blog update
2. Key food product trends
3. How do your email “click-throughs” rate?

1. Vitamin Lawyer Health Freedom Blog & Factoids
New Posting -
NJ Tops Maryland in Compulsory Vaccination Stupidity

eAlerts – STOP COMPULSORY DRUGGING & VACCINATION! please go to: and sign up for the eAlert list today! Better, please tell everyone on your elist to do the same! This list of several hundred thousand purveyors and consumers of natural products and remedies is having a powerful impact…

Practice Note #1: FDA has brought together its various guidances on Food Defense and Terrorism. You can find this information at:

“FDA has simplified these documents by repackaging the information found in each guidance document into the new Food Defense Self Assessment Tool.”

Practice Note #2: It took a couple weeks of persistent emails to Google Adsense, but we just got Adsense to reject a paid ad by a competitor of a client where the competitor had purchased the client’s name to pass-off their inferior product as the real deal… I suspect deciding factors were that the client had her own name as one of her URLs and that it was a well-known name, not just a business phrase, thereby rising to the status of what the law calls a “famous mark.”

2. Key food product trends

From an email: The 10 Key Trends for 2008 are:

“Key Trend 1: Digestive Health – a wellness issue and the biggest opportunity
Key Trend 2: Fruit and superfruit – the future of food and health
Key Trend 3: The marketing power of “naturally healthy”
Key Trend 4: Beauty foods – the newest niche
Key Trend 5: Weight management more about maintaining than losing
Key Trend 6: Mood food feels its way
Key Trend 7: A tipping point for the premiumisation of health
Key Trend 8: Healthy snacking for the “me” generation
Key Trend 9: Kid’s nutrition – connecting to multiple trends is crucial
Key Trend 10: Antioxidants - the new probiotics…

Premiumization” has become a standard for healthy foods …which brands are able to command price premiums of 100%-800% over regular foods – and how they do it
Green tea, antioxidants, probiotics and fibres are the ingredients with the brightest futures
Omega-3 and plant sterols will continue to be niche ingredients
How packaging innovation is the biggest product differentiator…”

3. How do your email blast “click throughs” rate?

What is the average click-through rate for email newsletters? I reproduce an excellent answer from

Answer: The click-through rate is important because without it, you don't get conversions. However, there's no single benchmark click-through rate, because CTRs depend on many factors: whether you send to a business or consumer audience, the kind of mailing you send, how relevant it is to your audience, how often you send, your opt-in process, your use of personalization and segmentation and dozens of other factors. And most significantly, how many links you have in your email and if you are providing content such as articles, whether you include the entire article within the body of the email or you have a teaser or snippet that requires subscribers to click through to a Web site to read.

Beyond that, many companies calculate and report CTRs differently - using total rather unique clicks. Many subscribers will click on multiple links, which means that CTRs based on "total" clicks are typically about two times higher than those based on "unique" clicks..

That being said, below are some ranges for average CTRs for permission-based house lists. CTRs that we cite are based on unique clicks (only one click per person is counted) and are calculated as: unique clicks/emails delivered:

* B2B newsletters typically range from 5% to 15%. If yours are consistently below that level then among other things, you are probably providing content of little value to your subscribers. Or you may have most of the content within your email, not giving subscribers a reason or means to click-through to your site.
* B2C promotional emails often range from about 2% to 12%. Emails with less than a 2% CTR may be a result of over mailing and questionable opt-in processes.
* Highly segmented and personalized lists (B2B and B2C) are often in the 10% to 20% CTR range. Also, email messages with very strong content but sent to unsegmented lists, like many news or trend-type newsletters, are often in the 10%-15% range.
* Trigger or behavior-based emails (emails that are sent to a recipient based on some behavior they showed, such as clicking on a product link, visiting a specific Web page, etc.) are often in the 15% to 50% range.

If your emails are typically showing under say 2-3% CTRs, some of the causes likely include:

* Poor permission or opt-in processes. This includes pre-checked boxes, not making it clear what type of email they will be receiving, automatically adding someone to receive your email when they've actually signed up for something else such as a whitepaper, etc.
* Poorly written subject lines that do not direct and motivate recipients to take an action.
* Poor delivery rates. If a lot of your emails are getting blocked or filtered and you don't know it, your CTR will obviously be affected.
* Poor open rates. If few people open your email, fewer recipients have a chance to click.
* Poor design and layout. If they can't easily find where to click through or aren't motivated to by your layout - you've got trouble in River City.
* Lack of links. Quite simply, the more links the better. Make it so that readers are continuously stumbling over text and graphic links like they do signage in a retail store.
* No reason to click. If your newsletter has a single or multiple articles in their entirety, then don't expect them to click. You haven't given them any reason. If you are sending a promotional email and you don't include a deadline for the offer, or convey a discount, special offer, limited supply, etc., few people are probably going to take action.

Friday, December 7, 2007

12/07/07 - Insurance for Your Products


This issue: saving your company money…

1. Health Freedom Blog update
2. Insurance for your products
3. Bayer told to tone down vitamin claims
5. Coming next year: improved format for the VL Update eMemo!

1. Vitamin Lawyer Health Freedom Blog & Factoids
New Posting -

eAlerts – STOP FORCED VACCINATION! If you are on the Natural Solutions Foundation eAlert list you received an alert about the emergency health freedom advocates’ meeting in Tiburon CA I attended. If you want to stay current on health freedom issues, you really need to sign up to the eAlert list - please go to: and sign up today! Better, please tell everyone on your elist to do the same! This list of several hundred thousand purveyors and consumers of natural products and remedies is having a powerful impact in Washington and internationally.

And they’re getting the idea behind The Codex 2 Step:

"Although Codex is not a regulatory body, its decisions are used as a benchmark of discussion should trade disputes arise in the future, and while Codex does not have the same force of law as an EU directive or national legislation, it is used as a reference point for countries that are looking at revising or creating legislation."

For an 8 minute video of me explaining the Codex 2 Step, see:

2. Insurance for your products

Obtaining product insurance has become increasingly difficult as FDA/FTC regulatory oversight has ratcheted up. I’ve worked with one particular agent here in NJ for nearly a decade and many of the Vitamin Lawyer clients have found his services reassuring. Here is the type of information that is needed for the application.

1) Description of all named insured person or entities
2) Financials – latest annual income statement and balance sheet.
3) 5 years of sales/receipts history
4) Product labels & brochures, reflecting ingredients in the products
5) 5 year currently valued company loss runs or “No Known Loss Letter.
6) Expiring program including carrier, limits, deductible, premiums, and term.
7) Does the insured have or plan on having any products containing Organ/Glandular Extracts, Ephedra, Colloidal Silver, Green Tea, Synephrine/Bitter Orange, Kava, Lobelia, Magnolia or Yohimbe products? If so what are the product names, what percentage of their sales is applicable to these products and how many milligrams go in the products? We will need these product names and labels

I have the 8 page application form available; please email me with “Insurance App” in the subject line.

The agent tells me that he spoke with the underwriters. “They are not willing to speculate on the impact [of the new Adverse Event Reporting law that goes into effect on December 22, 2007]. They aren't doing anything [with rates] at the moment, but will be following it over time to determine its impact. … "

3. Bayer told to tone down vitamin claims

December 5, 2007 - The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus is recommending Bayer Healthcare modify or discontinue certain claims surrounding its Vital and Sharp Mind supplement. NAD, the Federal Trade Commission and industry trade associations have been targeting the marketing claims of supplement makers. Because this move involves a large player in the health industry getting its knuckles rapped by a monitoring body, it could send out warning signals to smaller companies about being more careful in marketing their products… NAD found no fault with following its review are that Vital & Sharp Mind "supports memory, mental sharpness, and healthy brain function", as well as that it promotes "memory, concentration, and mental sharpness," and can "keep your mind vital and active." [But] … there was insufficient evidence to support the claim made in a television commercial that Vital & Sharp Mind could assist healthy adults in recalling a list of items that was recited moments earlier… this claim suggests the product can actually assist healthy adults in recalling a list of names that was recited moments earlier. The agency says this level of effectiveness goes beyond the general claim made by Bayer that the product "supports" memory and as such requires further scientific evidence…”

4. Holiday Sale! Vitamin Lawyer Time for Sale…

It’s that time of year when your successful natural product business needs to expense out profits… So, why don’t you prepay The Vitamin Lawyer for consulting time good anytime in 2008? Here’s my special holiday deal: buy two hours at regular rate, $295/hr and get a third hour FREE… that’s a 33% savings! You can reserve as many hours as you’d like. We all know the dollar is tanking… that means all professional fees will be going up this coming year. Lock in 2007 discounted rates now! You can go to my PayPal page, or email me with VL DISCOUNT in the subject line. And have happy holidays; prosperous new year!


5 Upgrading the VL Update eMemo!

Coming next year: this email update system will be replaced by a second, private blog, the Vitamin Lawyer Update Blog, to allow me to keep you up-to-date better than ever! You’ll receive a shorter weekly update email with links to blog articles that will be posted as the information becomes available… more timely information better indexed!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

11/29/07 - EU Court: Foods are not Drugs


1. Health Freedom Blog update
2. Health Freedom victory in the EU
3. Herbs at a glance… NCCAM listing

1. Vitamin Lawyer Health Freedom Blog
New Posting -
The Tiburon Statement: No Forced Vaccinations!

eAlerts – STOP FORCED VACCINATION! If you are on the Natural Solutions Foundation eAlert list you received an alert the day before yesterday about the emergency health freedom advocates’ meeting in Tiburon CA this past weekend I attended. If you want to stay current on health freedom issues, you really need to sign up to the eAlert list - please go to: and sign up today! Better, tell everyone on your elist to do the same! This list of several hundred thousand purveyors and consumers of natural products and remedies is having a powerful impact in Washington and internationally.

2. Victory for health freedom in the EU

As we’ve been saying for years, "Foods are not drugs..." Now says the European Court of Justice, about the German attempt to ban the importation of garlic capsules:

"Regarding the concept of a medicinal product by function, the Court stated that garlic capsules do not contain any substance other than natural garlic and have no additional effects, either positive or negative, compared to those derived from the consumption of garlic in its natural state. In contrast, a medicinal product must have the function of preventing or treating disease. Beneficial effects for health in general are not sufficient."

This rational and just decision, recognizing, as it does, that foods can have health benefits without that fact categorizing the food as a "medicine," is a major step toward more open and freer healthcare in Europe.

Congratulations to the Court of Justice!

3. Herbs at a Glance…

NACCAM – the National Center for Complementary and Alternative “Medicine” is publishing information about herbs, which can be found at:

You may find this a useful resource to suggest some claims support. WARNING: the site uses the word “treat” inappropriately, confusing normal nutrient effects with treatment of disease… Maybe a US court needs to tell NACCAM what the EU high court just told Germany: food health benefits are not drug claims!

Friday, November 16, 2007

11/16/07 - AER on Your Labels?

1. Health Freedom Blog Update, Factoid
2. Best Practices Alert: AER on the label??
3. Evidence based healthcare
4. FDA food safety initiative
5. Healthcare professionals take vitamins!

1. Vitamin Lawyer Health Freedom Blog
New Posting -

Supply Side West – Last week; industry association representative comments on the new AER law: “When questioned on the upcoming adverse events reporting (AER) bill, Seckman [NPA executive director] responded that when the legislation comes into effect at the end of the year, there will be an initial spike in incidences as reporting increases. However, he said this will then stabilize and eventually have a positive effect on the dietary supplement industry's image. "Then we will see that the baseline numbers will be low consistently," said Seckman. "We will then look to publicize this in industry."”

eAlerts - If you are on the Natural Solutions Foundation eAlert list you received an alert early this morning (I thinkwe sent it out about 6 AM…) about my foundation co-trustees, Dr. Laibow and Gen. Stubblebine at the Codex meeting. More about that meeting below. If you want to stay current on health freedom issues, you really need to sign up to the eAlert list - please go to: and sign up today! Better, tell everyone on your elist to do the same! This list of several hundred thousand purveyors and consumers of natural products and remedies is having a powerful impact in Washington and internationally. Imagine the impact if the list were One Million Health Freedom Warriors… ready to click their mousse for your right to sell and use high potency products!

2. Best Practices Alert: AER on the label?

I’ve recently seen a few draft labels with statements like “We report all serious adverse events to the FDA.”

Please remove such statements! Mentioning "Adverse Event" might give customers the wrong idea... that they might have an “adverse event” with your product! I have read both the new AER law and the FDA guidance regarding same very carefully (just reread them to be sure) there is NO requirement for any mention of AER on the label!

The law is very specific that filing a serious adverse event report is not an admission of responsibility, but, if you mention AERs on your label, aren’t you admitting that you are selling a product that might harm a customer?

All the law does require is that you to have your company name and an address or phone number on the label. If The Vitamin Lawyer Consultancy reviews your labels, you know they will comply. For more information about the new AER law that goes into effect on December 22, 2007, please see:


3. Evidence based healthcare

From -

Evidence based practice (EBP) is an approach to care wherein professionals use the best evidence possible, i.e. the most appropriate information available, to make clinical decisions for individual patients. EBP promotes the collection, interpretation, and integration of valid, important and applicable patient-reported, clinician-observed, and research-derived evidence. The best available evidence, moderated by patient circumstances and preferences, is applied to improve the quality of clinical judgments and facilitate cost-effective care.

This involves complex and conscientious decision-making based not only on the available evidence but also on patient characteristics, situations, and preferences. It recognizes that care is individualized and ever changing and involves uncertainties and probabilities. Ultimately EBP is the formalization of the care process that the best clinicians have practiced for generations – from the country “Doc” who knew his patients to the practitioner who knew his patients over decades.

Evidence-based practice (EBP) develops individualized guidelines of best practices to inform the improvement of whatever professional task is at hand. Evidence-based practice is a philosophical approach that is in opposition to rules of thumb, folklore, and tradition. Examples of a reliance on "the way it was always done" can be found in almost every profession, even when those practices are contradicted by new and better information.

Evidence-based design and development decisions are made after reviewing information from repeated rigorous data gathering instead of relying on rules, single observations, or custom. Evidence-based medicine and evidence-based nursing practice are the two largest fields employing this approach. In psychiatry and community mental health, evidence-based practice guides have been created by such organizations as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in conjunction with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

This model of care has been studied for 30 year in universities and is gradually making its way into the public sector. It effectively moves away from the old “medical model” (You have a disease, take this pill.) to a “evidence presented model” using the patient as the starting point in diagnosis. EPBs are being employed in the fields of health care, juvenile justice, mental health and social services among others.

Key elements in using the best evidence to guide the practice of any professional include the development of questions using research-based evidence, the level and types of evidence to be used, and the assessment of effectiveness after completing the task or effort. One obvious problem with EBP in any field is the use of poor quality, contradictory, or incomplete evidence. Evidence-based practice continues to be a developing body of work for professions as diverse as education, psychology, economics, social work and architecture.

According to Norcross et al (2006) "the burgeoning evidence based practice movement in mental health attempts to identity, implement, and disseminate treatments that have been proven demonstrably effective according to the empirical evidence". However, Norcross et al (2006) also state that perhaps it is more useful to identify what does not work - discredited psychological treatments and tests, and has conducted survey research on discredited psychological treatments. Examples of discredited psychotherapies include: the use of pyramid structures, orgone therapy, crystal healing, past lives therapy, chiropractic manipulation, neurolinguistic programming and Erhard Seminars Training.

4. FDA food safety initiative

HHS Unveils Plan to Strengthen, Update Food Safety Efforts
Plan uses integrated collaborative approach to meet demands of a global economy to protect American consumers

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today announced a comprehensive initiative by the Food and Drug Administration designed to bolster efforts to better protect the nation's food supply. The Food Protection Plan proposes the use of science and a risk-based approach to ensure the safety of domestic and imported foods eaten by American consumers.

"America's food supply is among the safest in the world, and we enjoy unprecedented choice and convenience in filling the cupboard. Yet, we face new challenges to meet both the changing demands of a global economy and consumers' expectations," Secretary Leavitt said. "This Food Protection Plan will implement a strategy of prevention, intervention and response to build safety into every step of the food supply chain."

HHS Deputy Secretary Tevi Troy and FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D., presented the Food Protection Plan at a press conference in Washington, D.C.

"FDA must keep pace with this transformation so that the safety of the nation's food supply remains second to none," said Commissioner von Eschenbach. "The Food Protection Plan calls for effective action before an outbreak occurs."

The Food Protection Plan, which focuses on both domestic and imported food, complements the Import Safety Action Plan delivered by Secretary Leavitt to the President earlier today that recommends how the U.S. can improve the safety of all imported products. This year, $2 trillion worth of goods will be imported into the U.S., and experts predict that amount will triple by 2015. The Import Safety Action Plan lays out a road map with short- and long-term recommendations to enhance product safety at every step of the import life cycle. Taken together, the two plans will improve efforts by the public and private sector to enhance the safety of a wide array of products used by American consumers.

Advances in food production technology, rapid methods of food distribution, and globalization have transformed supermarket shelves and restaurant menus, broadened the tastes of consumers, and challenged the existing food protection framework.

"Although our agency clearly needs to maintain and enhance its response capacity, the primary goal is to prevent contaminated food from ever reaching the consumer," said von Eschenbach.

The plan is premised on preventing harm before it can occur, intervening at key points in the food production system, and responding immediately when problems are identified. Within these three overarching areas of protection, the plan contains a number of action steps as well as a set of legislative proposals. Taken together, these efforts will provide a food protection framework that ensures that the U.S. food supply remains safe.

To strengthen its efforts to prevent contamination, FDA plans to strengthen support of food industry efforts to build safety into products manufactured either domestically or imported. The FDA will work with industry, state, local, and foreign governments to identify vulnerabilities and will look to industry to mitigate those vulnerabilities, using effective methods such as preventive controls.

The plan's intervention element emphasizes focusing inspections and sampling based on risk at the manufacturer and processor level, for both domestic and imported products, that will help verify the preventive controls. This approach is complemented by targeted, risk-based inspections at the points where foreign food products enter the United States, including ports.

The plan calls for enhancing FDA's information systems related to both domestic and imported foods to better respond to food safety threats and communicate during an emergency.

The Food Protection Plan's three core elements--prevention, intervention, and response--incorporate four cross-cutting principles for comprehensive food protection along the entire production chain:

* Focus on risks over a product's life cycle from production to consumption;
* Target resources to achieve greatest risk reduction;
* Use interventions that address both food safety (unintentional contamination) and food defense (deliberate contamination); and
* Use science and employ modern technology, including enhanced information technology systems.

The Food Protection Plan is available at

5. Healthcare professionals take vitamins!

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) has announced as part of the initial results from its survey of healthcare professionals that, contrary to industry belief, the sector is in fact both using and recommending dietary supplements.

"It reconfirms what we know: that supplements are very mainstream in the US," CRN vice president of communications Judy Blatman told NutraIngredients-USA. Industry repeatedly claims there is a perceived divide between its products and so-called mainstream medicine - but Blatman says this may not even be as prevalent as once thought and that the key now is to get healthcare professionals to talk more to their patients about the potential benefits of these products.

"We need to make sure that we as an industry are communicating with healthcare professionals and that they are communicating with their patients and getting accurate information," said Blatman… Perhaps even more surprising is that not only did the survey reveal that 72 percent of physicians use supplements… 85 percent recommend them to their patients…”

Friday, November 9, 2007

11/09/07 - Codex Meets; eMail Blasts


1. Health Freedom Blog Update, Factoid
2. Codex about to meet on health claims
3. How to improve your email blasts

1. Vitamin Lawyer Health Freedom Blog –
New Posting -

If you are on the Natural Solutions Foundation eAlert list you received an alert early this morning (I think I sent it out about 2 AM…) about my foundation co-trustees, Dr. Laibow and Gen. Stubblebine on their way to the Codex meeting. More about that meeting below. If you want to stay current on health freedom issues, you really need to sign up to the eAlert list - please go to: and sign up today! Better, tell everyone on your elist to do the same. This list of several hundred thousand purveyors and consumers of natural products and remedies is having a powerful impact in Washington and internationally. Imagine the impact if the list were One Million Health Freedom Warriors… ready to click their mousse for your right to sell and use high potency products.

2. Codex about to meet on health claims

By: Alex McNally - Nov. 9, 2007 - Codex members are due to sit down and vote on a series of far reaching rules governing nutrient compounds in foods - and crucially discuss whether health claims should be based only on clinical studies. Although Codex is not a regulatory body, its decisions are used as a benchmark of discussion should trade disputes arise in the future, and while Codex does not have the same force of law as an EU directive or national legislation, it is used as a reference point for countries that are looking at revising or creating legislation.

In Europe, the EU has already unveiled its own health claims regulation - which says claims about foods should be supported by science - and has caused uncertainty for the industry since coming into force in July. The Codex meeting… will vote upon whether scientific evidence should be based solely on clinical studies. This suggestion has come under fire from trade groups who say this would be "unfeasible."

3. Better email blasts for your business

Entireweb always has good advice -- here is the entire article on email blasts

Entireweb Newsletter * November 6, 2007 * ISSUE #385 *

2 Dozen Ways to Improve Your E-Mail Marketing Results

I suppose I can title this article "25 Email Marketing Mistakes I've Made." But rather than focus on the negative, below I've outlined the best practices I’ve come to adopt over the years. Hope you find something here useful.

1. Diversify your Content: If your entire email focuses on one product, service, or topic, you risk alienating all but the few people who will be interested. Unless you have segmented your database based on previous behavior, do not send an email on only 1 topic. I consistently find that the click through rate increases in proportion with varied content.

2. Don't Stress about Spam Words: Many experts will tell you to avoid words like "free" or "sale". In my opinion, ISPs tend to be moving away from content based spam filtering in favor of reputation based filtering. In other words, your sending IP address and from email are more important than whether or not
your email contains certain words. Personally, I've used words like "free" in the subject line without any affect on delivery rates.

3. Make it Readable with Images Disabled: Always take into account the appearance of your email with images disabled. For email clients such as Outlook, this is now the default feature. Even popular web mails like Hotmail now disable images unless the sender is in the address book of the recipient.
The best tactic to create readable emails with images block as an alt description.

4. Create an Online Version: Always provide an online version of your email for users having trouble viewing images. I've calculated from emails I've sent in the past that around 5% of users will use this feature.

5. Remove Inactive Subscribers: Inactive subscribers are the most likely to get you in trouble by clicking the spam button. Consider automatically removing a subscriber that hasn't opened an email in several months.

6. Proofreading: Always have every email proofread by at least 2 detail oriented people. There's nothing more embarrassing than a typo in an email blast.

7. Monitor Replies: When you send out thousands of emails, you're bound to get a few replies. Occasionally, you'll get some good feedback from your subscribers. In addition, some people reply with unsubscribe requests.

8. Unsubscribe at Top: I know what you're thinking, "At the TOP!?" Yes, at the top. Lazy unsubscribers have a tendency to click the spam button instead scrolling down to find the unsubscribe link. By placing the link at the top, you might increase your unsubscribe rate, but that's better than an inflated spam complaint count.

9. Don't Over or Under Mail: If you send too much, you'll get deleted or marked as spam. Oddly enough, if you send once every 3 months you may have the same problem. Keep your brand top of mind for your customers by finding the perfect balance between over and under mailing.

10. Forward to Friend Feature: Many users automatically do this, but it doesn't hurt to ask. First time potential customers can be very open to a company when it is introduced by a friend or colleague.

11. Subscribe Feature for Forwards: Make it easy for potential new subscribers to subscribe if they receive your email as a forward. Include somewhere in the body a subscribe link.

12. White List Reminder: If you want your subscribers to add you to their white list or address book, you need to ask. Sure, not everyone will add you. However, those who do are likely the people who care most about receiving your emails and, therefore, you have the most to lose if your emails get flagged as spam.

13. Single Click Unsubscribe: I generally recommend keeping the unsubscribe as simple as possible. However, you may want to confirm the action if you place your unsubscribe at the top of every email in case users click the link on accident.

14. Privacy Policy: Always place your privacy policy at the bottom of every email. Assure customers that you obtained their email address in a legitimate fashion, and you will not sell their personal info.

15. Don't Rent Lists: Some may disagree on this, but I've never seen anything good come from a rented list. Don't risk your sender reputation with emails from questionable sources. If you want to reach a new audience, consider a joint venture with another firm in a similar but non-competing industry.

16. Develop your Brand: Remember that your emails will slowly build your brand in the minds of your subscribers. Even if they never click-through and make a purchase, be sure to keep a consistent and accurate corporate image with your email content.

17. Call to Action: Each section must contain a specific call to action that avoids vague phrases like "click here." You'll be surprised how an effective call to action button or link can improve your click through rate.

18. Mix Freebies with Products: Too much selling can burn people out. Engage your subscribers with useful, free content. For example, if you sell home theater equipment, send out an article on the explaining the benefits of newer technologies. When you provide additional value to your customers with
learning resources, they are sometimes even willing to pay more for your merchandise. In addition, strategies like this keep your brand top of mind.

19. Find Your "Tuesday": For the eCommerce sites I've worked with, Tuesday morning has always resulted in the best open, click-through, and conversion rates. However, every company is different.

20. Same Day, Same Time: Be consistent in the time you send your emails for two reasons. First, the ISPs see inconsistency as a possible spam flag. Spammers can care less when they send out mass emails. Second, your customers will begin to anticipate your emails at a certain time each week, possibly
increasing the likely hood of them opening and clicking through.

21. Keep the Good Stuff above the Fold: Remember that many email clients will obscure a large portion of your email unless the user scrolls down. Make sure the top 400 pixels are as engaging as possible. I can't tell you how many times I've had to send artwork back to the design department because the top
of the email failed to grab your attention.

22. A/B Test 1 Variable at a Time: It took me far too long to learn this. For years, I would change several factors in each successive email blast, but never could find that perfect mix. If you really want to find out what works, you can only change 1 variable. For example, should the subject line be short or long? Keep the same content and split your list in 2, sending half a longer subject and the other half a shorter one. Do not change any other variables!

23. 600 Pixel Width: Due to the limitations of many email clients, stick with a width somewhere between 500 to 600 pixels wide.

24. Experiment with Subject Lines: I wish there was a magic principle I can share with you about subject lines. Unfortunately, there isn't. The best we can do is test, test, and test again. Sometimes short subjects are better, sometimes long, sometimes intriguing, sometimes urgent, whatever works best for you. Here's a great article on email subject lines.

25. Begin Segmentation & Personalization Now: In a few years, email marketers that don't practice segmentation and personalization will be left in the dust. There are an endless number of ways to segment your email list. Some popular ways are by purchase behavior, geography, or ordering frequency.

As a long term strategy, I would also greatly encourage researching transactional and trigger based email marketing, as they tend to product much better open, click-through, and conversion rates. To learn more about eCommerce Email marketing, please visit the Palmer Ecommerce Marketing Blog.

Justin Palmer offers expert eCommerce consulting services and Do It Yourself search engine optimization lessons. In addition, Justin is the eCommerce director for, which sells Spiritual t-shirts and Witness wear.

Friday, November 2, 2007

11/02/07 - FDA Commissioner Warns Industry


Lots of ground to cover in this memo… important information…

1. Health Freedom Blog Update, Factoid & Client GMP Warning
2. Raising the RDA
3. Taking vitamins is good for you
4. Organic is better…
5. Warning from new FDA Commissioner to DS industry
6. SEO for small businesses

1. Vitamin Lawyer Health Freedom Blog –
New Posting -

“In the past, over-conservative government-sponsored [maximum level] standards have encouraged dietary complacency…” - Vitamin Safety Review Panel

Client GMP Warning: This just in: one of the Vitamin Lawyer clients reports receiving a request from his production people: “In the very near future we are going to need a copy of your stability study which substantiates your Exp [expiration] date. FDA requires that this be on file and available for review.” This particular client is wisely having his contract manufacturer laboratory retain samples to test every six months so he will have the data.

Please note that the FDA does not currently require the use of “expiration” or “best if used by” dates.

The new GMP Rule comments state: “if you use an expiration date on a product, you should have data to support that date... We recommended that you have a written testing program designed to assess the stability characteristics of the dietary supplement, and that you use the results of the stability testing to determine appropriate storage conditions and expiration dates… the final rule does not require that you establish an expiration date, we decline to offer guidance on the type of data that are acceptable to support an expiration date, other than to repeat that any expiration date that you place on a product label (including a ‘best if used by’ date) should be supported by data.”

To get on to the Global Health Freedom eblast list, please go to:

2. Raising the RDA

“The US Recommended Daily Allowance/Daily Reference Intakes are too low and most should be raised immediately, says an independent panel of physicians, academics and researchers. In a statement this week, the Independent Vitamin Safety Review Panel said: “Government-sponsored nutrient recommendations, such as the US RDA/DRIs, are not keeping pace with recent progress in nutrition research… In the past, over-conservative government-sponsored standards have encouraged dietary complacency. People have been led to believe that they can get all the nutrients they need from a 'balanced diet' of processed foods. That is not true. For adequate vitamin and mineral intake, a diet of unprocessed, whole foods, along with the intelligent use of nutritional supplements, is more than just a good idea: it is essential.”

3. Taking vitamins is good for you…

Knowledge of Heath, Inc. -
Special Report: Dietary Supplement Fanatics Healthiest Of All - By Bill Sardi © 2007

“They may not be laughing at vitamin supplement fanatics much longer. According to an authoritative study just published in The Nutrition Journal, avid dietary supplement users who, on average, take 17 different supplements daily, were judged to be far healthier than adults who just take a single supplement such as a common multivitamin, or who don't take dietary supplements at all.…While more than half of U.S. adults take dietary supplements, nearly
half of these supplement consumers take only one type of supplement, most commonly an inexpensive multivitamin…Risk for disease was far lower among the multi-supplement users compared to non-users. Risk for diabetes was 73% less, coronary heart disease 52% less, and self-determined health status (report health status was rated as "good or excellent") 74% more often, compared to non-supplement users.

This study may dispel a common belief that a low-dose multivitamin may be sufficient to address essential nutrient shortages. Source: Gladys Block, et al, Usage patterns, health, and nutritional status of long-term multiple dietary supplement users: a cross-sectional study. The Nutrition Journal, 6: 30, 2007

4. Organic is better…

“The biggest study into organic food has found that it is more nutritious than ordinary produce and may help to lengthen people's lives. The evidence from the £12m four-year project will end years of debate and is likely to overturn government advice that eating organic food is no more than a lifestyle choice. The study found that organic fruit and vegetables contained as much as 40% more antioxidants, which scientists believe can cut the risk of cancer and heart disease, Britain’s biggest killers. They also had higher levels of beneficial minerals such as iron and zinc.”

5. Warning from new FDA Commissioner to DS industry

Speaking before the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) and the American Society for Nutritional Sciences, Dr. Lester M. Crawford, Acting Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), outlined what the agency claims is its science-based approach to regulating dietary supplements

"FDA is absolutely committed to protecting consumers from misleading claims and unsafe products," said Dr. Crawford. "Unlike most foods, some dietary supplements are pharmacologically active. And we have
seen over the last 10 years a huge growth in the dietary supplements industry, including the introduction of products that seem far removed from the vitamins and minerals of the pre-DSHEA days. We have become increasingly aware of the potential health problems some of these products pose."

In the last 6 months, FDA has inspected 180 domestic dietary supplement manufacturers; sent 119 warning letters to dietary supplement distributors; refused entry to 1,171 foreign shipments of dietary supplements; and seized or supervised voluntary destruction of almost $18 million worth of mislabeled or adulterated products. "We will continue to aggressively enforce DSHEA against unsafe or mislabeled products," Crawford said.

The article continues: When DSHEA was passed a decade ago, there were about 4,000 supplements on the market, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs and other botanicals. Congress determined that these products were more like foods than drugs, which cannot be put on the market unless a high threshold of evidence about their safety and efficacy is met, and that, like foods, such dietary supplements should in general be given the benefit of the doubt as to safety. A recent Institute of Medicine report, sponsored by FDA, estimated that American consumers spend $18 billion annually on dietary supplements and that there are about 29,000 such products on the market, with another 1,000 new products introduced each year.

Are your papers in order?

6. Search Engine Optimization for Small Business Owners

Entireweb Newsletter * November 1, 2007 * ISSUE #384

Small business owners are often limited by small marketing budgets and manpower. But that doesn't mean they can't compete against larger businesses or websites when focused on search engine optimization. SEO is a basic marketing tool that everyone should use regardless of size...

What makes a keyword competitive? One way to determine the competitiveness of a search term is to simply type that search term into Google and notice the number of web pages that contain that search term. This number appears in the upper right-hand corner of the search results page and appears as, "Results 1 - 10 of about 228,000,000 for [your search term here]." ...From my perspective, when this number is less than 3 or 4 million, the particular search term would not be all that competitive in and of itself.

Determining just how competitive the search term is. There are a variety of methods to determine true keyword effectiveness (KEI, etc.)... In addition to the number of sites that contain your keyword, how well optimized are the top 3 sites that appear on the search result. You can determine this by:

1. Visiting the site and determining the Google PR of the page. This information is available by downloading the Google toolbar and looking in your browser. You will see a green bar and ranking (ex: PR5), which tells you how Google ranks this page/website with regard to popularity. Any site with a Google PR6 or better is well established and will be difficult to outrank in the near term.

2. Visit Google and type , "". Be sure to replace 'competitorwebsite' with the website name you are researching... This will tell you how many sites are linking to this particular website. The larger the number the more difficult it will be to outrank.

3. Look at the website code. Simply visit the competitor's website and go to "View", "View Source". Look for the meta tags of "Title", "Description", and "Keywords"...

Using the above will give you a good sense of whether of not you can compete for given keywords...

About the Author: Michael Fleischner is an Internet marketing expert with more than 12 years of marketing experience...

Friday, October 26, 2007

10/26/07 - EU Regs; CAM; GMPs


1. Health Freedom Blog Update, Factoid & Client Notice
2. EU – taking over world food regulations?
3. CAM & Natural Products… perfect together…
4. Public support for CAM reimbursement
5. Fighting over GMP requirements

1. Vitamin Lawyer Health Freedom Blog –
New Posting -

“With food supplements, we have an extremely cost effective and very safe tool to better public health.”
S. Hasslberger -

Notice: Due to the continuing decline of the Dollar and increased costs, The Vitamin Lawyer Consultancy hourly rate has increased.

To get on to the Global Health Freedom eblast list, please go to:

2. EU – taking over world food regulations?

Sepp Hasslberger’s Health Supreme Blog often has a very good knowledge of pending issues. He explores the claim that EU “Napoleonic Code” regulation of foods – including natural remedies, dietary supplements and functional foods – is being spearheaded by the European Union. The most serious problem from the viewpoint of the American wellness marketplace is the old legal distinction between “Code” countries, where whatever is not approved is prohibited, and Common Law countries, like the US, where whatever is not forbidden is allowed; the centuries-old struggle between free markets and mercantilism continues!

Sepp quotes one unnamed source: “One American official says flatly that the EU is ‘winning’ the regulatory race, adding: ‘And there is a sense that that is their precise intent.’ He cites a speech by the trade commissioner, Peter Mandelson, claiming that the export of ‘our rules and standards around the world’ was one source of European power. Noting that EU regulations are often written with the help of European incumbents, the official also claims that precaution can cloak ‘plain old-fashioned protectionism in disguise’.”

“Protectionism” is certainly not a friend of advanced healthcare and wellness companies, especially in our globalized world marketplace. Sepp’s article, on the dangers of “HARMonization” with Codex is a must read.

And what would be the effect of the EU takeover on your business? On your vitamin use? Here is what one UK nongovernmental organization, ANH, noted in a report critical of the “science” behind upper limits: “upper levels being considered for nutrients such as beta-carotene could be exceeded by eating two carrots…”

3. CAM and Natural Products… perfect together…

From The Integrator Blog: Parallel Play or a Potent Alliance? Alternative Medicine Practitioners and the Natural Products Industry are Stronger Together - David Matteson, MPM, MURP, MS

"The Natural Products Industry (NPI) and the complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) industry are each in the midst of a major transformation. Their ability to learn how to 'play' together may be crucial to how well these industries grow and succeed over the next few years.

"There is a natural relationship between these two industries. Many policy makers and many consumers see them as flip sides of the same coin. Yet, these two industries have not really acknowledged their interconnectedness, let alone taken active steps to collaborate on their common political and market interests.”

4. Public support for CAM reimbursement

While I am no fan of licensing laws (‘A license is a limitation…”) An Iowa health reform poll shows 68% of voters want licensed CAM professionals covered in basic insurance benefits.

”A broad-ranging survey on health reform topics by the Gilmore Research Group found that 68% of voters believe basic health care benefits should include coverage for any licensed health care professionals.
Licensed professionals directly noted in the survey of 601 Iowa voters were ‘naturopathic physicians, acupuncturists and chiropractors.’ The survey was commissioned by Code Blue Now! - a national, non-partisan, not-for-profit citizen organization formed to build public consensus in health care policy. The Iowa population was strategically selected to have a maximum influence on the healthcare reform debate.”
5. Fighting over GMP requirements

The FDA’s new Good Manufacturing Practices will be phased in over two years, giving smaller companies some time to get ready… the most difficult area as been the new requirement for “100% Identity Testing” with many companies complaining that there may be no available lab tests that can determine identity where a product has a dozen or more ingredients, some in such low amount as to be nearly nano dilutions.

“The FDA (US Food & Drug Administration) published the final rule on Good Manufacturing Practices, known as GMPs, in June. The soon-to-be-implemented GMP legislation forms part of the 1994 Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act (DSHEA) and is set to provide standards specific to the industry for inspectors to check for purity, safety and legality in manufacturing. Both the Natural Products Association (NPA) and the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) find fault with the fact that under the current GMPs, only supplement manufacturers, but not ingredient suppliers, can submit petitions for exemptions from 100 percent identity testing.”

It is expected that FDA will accommodate the needs of companies with specialized products that may not be susceptible to the required lab testing.

Friday, October 19, 2007

10/19/07 - AER Draft Guidance; Health Claims


The Vitamin Lawyer eMemo Archive is 
Being Inaugurated with this Issue of the eMemo.

The eMemo Archive is here:

1. Health Freedom Blog Update & Factoid
2. A Case Study: how NOT to make claims
3. AER draft guidance issued

Counsel Ralph, Atlantic City, Superior Court, 2006

1. Vitamin Lawyer Health Freedom Blog –
New Posting -

Vitamin D and Longevity - “Published in the September 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, the meta-analysis examined 18 previously published studies which had suggested that deficiencies in vitamin D lead to a higher risk of death from cancer, heart disease and diabetes. However - given that these illnesses account for between 60 and 70 percent of deaths in high-income nations - the current analysis indicates the opposite. In fact, those individuals isolated from the studies who did take vitamin D had a seven percent lower risk of death than those who did not take it. "If the associations made between vitamin D and these conditions were consistent, then interventions effectively strengthening vitamin D status should result in reduced total mortality," wrote the researchers, hailing from the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France and from the European Institute of Oncology in Italy -

2. FDA targets company making cancer treatment claims - By Clarisse Douaud

[VL comments: Here is a good example of how NOT to make claims!]

“In another move to prevent dietary supplements infringing on the territory of pharmaceuticals, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to Zeo Health for three of its products…

“Unlike pharmaceuticals, which must go through a series of pre-market approvals, finished dietary supplements need no pre-market approval. Instead, only ingredients not marketed in the US before October 1994 must be approved by FDA before being used in consumer products…

“Unlike, pharmaceutical drugs, dietary supplements are permitted few health claims… "The therapeutic claims on your web site establish that the products are drugs because they are intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease," wrote FDA in a letter to the New York state-based company… FDA objects to …promotion …for cancer prevention and treatment. The agency highlights an example of phrasing to this effect as found on the company's website:

"The scientific community has recently had very positive results on the effect of Zeolite on certain types of cancers. In tests on a variety of tumor types, the treatment with Zeolite led to improvement of overall health status, prolongation of life span, and a decrease in tumor size." The insinuation that the supplement can prevent or treat cancer continues in the dosage information provided by Zeo Health.

"For prevention: As a nutritional supplement, take 2 capsules twice daily. As part of Cancer therapy: As a dietary supplement, take 6 capsules three times daily." [VL Notes: these directions are clearly “treatment” directions.]

“FDA also revealed that Zeo Health claims on its website that the supplement Esdifan is recommended for consumers with irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease. "Esdifan is the most effective relief for diarrhea and bad stomach. Better than any drug on the market....," stated Zeo Health on its company website, according to FDA.

“In its website marketing, Zeo Health leapfrogs from cancer prevention to hangover cures in its product claims.

“The company claims that its Zeolite supplement absorbs toxins associated with alcohol before they make it into the organs: "ZEO absorbs the toxins from the alcohol before they are processed into your organs."

“FDA has urged Zeo Health to respond to its letter within 15 working days of receipt, advising the agency of the steps the company is taking to correct the violations. "Failure to do so may result in enforcement action without further notice." -”

3. FDA AER draft Guidance finally issued! Excerpts from the guidance:

“1. When do the requirements of the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act become effective? -- The effective date for compliance with the requirements of this law is December 22, 2007.

2. What types of foods are covered by the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act requirements? -- The requirements of this law only apply to dietary supplements. No other types of food are covered.

5. What is an "adverse event?" -- An "adverse event" is "any health-related event associated with the use of a dietary supplement that is adverse."

6. What is a "serious adverse event?" -- A "serious adverse event" is an adverse event that: Results in death, a life-threatening experience, inpatient hospitalization, a persistent or significant disability or incapacity, or a congenital anomaly or birth defect; or requires, based on reasonable medical judgment, a medical or surgical intervention to prevent an outcome described above.

7. What is a "serious adverse event report?" -- A "serious adverse event report" is a report that must be submitted to FDA on MedWatch Form 3500A when a manufacturer, packer, or distributor of a dietary supplement receives any report of a serious adverse event associated with the use of the dietary supplement in the United States.”

The AER Consultants web site, will be analyzing form 3500A and will be providing assistance for companies to comply.

Friday, October 12, 2007

10/12/07 - Web Design Help; When to Patent


1. Health Freedom Blog Update / Factoids
2. Contracting with your web designer
3. More on the Chinese ingredient crunch
4. Where are the FDA’s AER Regs?
5. When to patent?
6. Web Design Simple Mistakes and Golden Rules

1. Vitamin Lawyer Health Freedom Blog –
New Posting -

Expanded and updated AER (Adverse Event Reporting) web site, with draft AER Guide:

Factoids: “Food and ingredient prices are growing at a faster pace in China than anywhere else in the world”


2. Contracting with your web designer

I've seen so many clients have awful problems with web designers!

Here's the issue from the designer's viewpoint:

And this one from the company's perspective:

These together should give you a handle on the problem.

3. More on the Chinese ingredient crunch…

High energy and commodity prices have plagued companies at all levels of the food industry for the past few years.

Over the past couple of years alone major players such as CP Kelco, FMC Biopolymer, BASF, Novozymes, Cargill, Danisco and DSM, have all hiked up their prices for products ranging from vitamins E and B3, to sugar molasses and citric acid.

This month DSM announced a ten per cent price increase for all its citric acid, produced in Belgium, on a worldwide basis. The increase, which is effective immediately, was "due to cost increases in raw materials and in energy".

In the wake of "sharp increases" in raw materials, in September the firm further announced a 10 per cent rise in global prices for vitamin E supplies. Orafti pushed up prices of its Beneo fibre ingredient by six per cent.

Bio Springer also said rising costs and shrinking supply of sugar molasses were driving up the cost of yeast extract production, announcing a double digit price increase for its extracts as of next year. Sugar molasses are the main raw material for yeast extracts but over the past three years the cost of sugar molasses has risen by 10 per cent. Energy prices and the impact of the EU's sugar reform were blamed.

This summer Swiss biotech company Lonza announced a worldwide price hike of up to 12 per cent for vitamin B3 in a bid to pass-on increasing production costs…

For more see:

4. Where are the FDA’s AER Regulations?

Industry criticizes FDA for failure to act - where are the FDA regulations?
Companies turning to private experts for guidance.

10/09/07 - FDA must commit to AER guidance
Functional Ingredients Staff

"The detailed data required under new adverse event reports (AERs) laws, need to be made transparent sooner rather than later, a major trade group has told the United States Food and Drug Administration. The Maryland-based American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has requested what it considers an overdue guidance document to give the supplements industry a clearer idea of what is expected of them when the law kicks in on December 22. FDA guidance was expected on September 19 but has yet to see the light of day.

"AHPA is charging the FDA with failing to provide necessary guidance and made its thoughts known in a formal letter to the FDA and its parent agency, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act will require serious AERs to be submitted to the FDA. The Act requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to "issue guidance on the minimum data elements that should be included in a serious adverse event report as described under the amendments made by this Act."

"Congress clearly intended that businesses would have at least 90 days to digest the FDA's guidance and make any necessary changes to their staff or procedures in order be ready to comply with the law when it goes into effect," said AHPA president Michael McGuffin. "The clock is ticking."

For more information on private alternatives to meet the statutory requirements:
5. When to patent.

This is a good background article on patenting: “Patently wise: what, how and where to patent” by Michel Morency and James Ewing

October 10, 2007 - Patent protection can be an effective tool for excluding competitors and generating revenues, if used wisely and married to a company's business strategy. Conversely, obtaining patents can quickly become an expensive and wasteful proposition if done haphazardly and not tied to an effective business strategy.

With the nutraceutical industry spending more and more resources on research and development, companies are turning to patents to protect their new products and investments. However, to get the most out of a patent, manufacturers need to familiarize themselves with the limits and potential of the process.

The first step in designing an effective patent strategy is to understand what a patent can and cannot do for the owner. A patent does permit the patent owner to exclude competitors from making, using, importing and selling the invention, as claimed in the patent.

The fact that a commercial product is described in the patent application is of no use if it is not covered by the scope of the claims. Accordingly, it is important to continuously monitor any claim amendments and any change to the product to ensure that the claims actually cover the final commercial product. A patent does not grant the patent owner the right to make, use, or sell the invention if doing so would infringe another party's patent.

Therefore, a patent strategy should always include a review of third party patents...

Finally, it is important to note that a patent can only be enforced in its country of origin… Obtaining patent protection in several countries can be a very expensive ordeal. The filing and translation costs alone can reach $10,000-15,000 per country. Costs of securing patent protection in a large number of countries can easily reach multiples of $100K or millions over the lifetime of the patents.

A common international patent strategy is to pursue patents in key developed health care markets including the US, Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia... A common misconception is that a company needs to obtain a patent in each and every country in which the product will be sold. A patent is not required to make, use, or sell in a given country; it is only useful to exclude competitors… Your patents are an important asset to your company…

Michel (Mike) Morency, Ph.D., LL.B., is a partner in Foley's Boston office… He can be contacted … via email at - James F. Ewing, Ph.D., J.D., is senior counsel in Foley's Boston office… He can be contacted … via email at


eMail me: with "provisional patent" in subject line!


6. Web Design - Simple Mistakes and Golden Rules

Excerpts from: Entireweb Newsletter * October 11, 2007 * ISSUE #378 *

Good web design … sticking to a small set of guiding principles and avoiding some very common mistakes…

1. Keep Everything Obvious - Don't Make Me Think… Visitors to a website expect certain conventions, breaking these is a great way of losing visitors. People expect to find the navigation at the top of a page or on the left hand side. Logos are mostly found on the top left. Much research has been conducted into how people view and use web pages. The good news is that you do not to know all of this; instead look at how larger companies such as eBay, Amazon, Google, Microsoft structure their pages and the language they use, then emulate them.

2. Limit Colours - A website using too many colours at a time can be overwhelming to many users… Limiting a palette to 2 or 3 colours will nearly always lead to a slicker looking design…

3. Be Careful With Fonts - The set of fonts available to all visitors of a website is relatively limited… It is advisable to stick to fonts such as Arial, Verdana, Courier, Times, Geneva and Georgia… Black text on a white background is far easier for the majority of people to read than white text on a black background. If you have large amounts of text then a white or pale background is far more user friendly. Always ensure that there is a good contrast between any text and its background…

4. Plan for Change - …The ability to add or remove content from a website is fundamental… Understanding how to use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), avoiding unconventional layouts and complicated backgrounds will all help enormously.

5. Be Consistent - Again, don't make your visitors think! About how to use your site at least. If your navigation is at the top on your homepage, it should be at the top on all other pages too. If your links are coloured red ensure the the same convention is used on all sections…

6. Keep it Relevant - A picture is better than a thousand words but if the picture you took on holiday is not relevant to your Used Car Sales website then you should really replace it … If you can take something off of your web page without it adversely affecting the message, appearance or legality of your website you should do it without hesitation… Keeping your content focused will ultimately help your search-engine rankings.

7. Become a CSS Expert - Cascading Style Sheets should be any web designer's best friend. CSS makes it is possible to separate the appearance and layout of your page from the content. This has huge benefits when it comes to updating and maintaining your site, making your site accessible and making your site easy for search engines to read…

8. Avoid Complexity - Using standard layouts for your web page will save you development time and make your site easier to use…

The principles above all border on common sense and are well known to most people, yet so many sites continue to deviate away from them and suffer as a consequence. Following these principles will help you keep away from trouble, although it still doesn't guarantee it!

About the Author: Paul has worked as a programmer and in Web Design for over 15 years. -

Friday, October 5, 2007

10/05/07 - 7 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid; Oversight Seal


1. Health Freedom Blog Update / Factoid
2. DHEA threatened again…
3. Do you sell in Europe?
4. Vitamin Lawyer Oversight Seal
5. 7 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid when Promoting your Business

1. Vitamin Lawyer Health Freedom Blog –
New Posting -

Factoid: "There are currently more than 194 million people with diabetes worldwide, set to exceed 333 million by 2025."

The price of Chinese produced Vitamin C has gone from $3.5 to nearly $20 since July.

2. DHEA Threatened Again

“ ------ Original Message ------
Subject: Action Alert--Stop Congress from Restricting Access to DHEA

Action Alert--Stop Congress from Restricting Access to DHEA

Your access to DHEA is in jeopardy! The Senate is considering a bill, S. 762, to classify DHEA as an anabolic steroid, adding it to the list of controlled substances and removing it from the market. H.R. 1249 is the companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. Your immediate help is needed to keep this safe and effective dietary supplement legal and accessible.

DHEA is not an anabolic steroid. It is a naturally occurring hormone that has a wide range of benefits, including maintaining muscle strength and strong bones, boosting immunity, and improving mood and sleep patterns. Further
studies suggest that DHEA may be helpful for such conditions as obesity, cancer and Alzheimers disease. DHEA dietary supplements, which have been on the market for over 20 years, are derived from a plant in the wild yam family; for more information. – ”

We need your help to keep DHEA legal. Send a message to Congress asking your Senators and Representative to oppose S. 762 and H.R. 1249 and any amendment to restrict access to DHEA to minors. Congress should not restrict access to a dietary supplement that has given health to millions of Americans. Take action now!

If you want some background see my article on how I kept DHEA legal in 1995.


3. Do you sell to Europe?

If people in Europe buy through your web site, you do. “The scope of the changes will not just affect food packaging, but any content including websites associated with the food.”

Innocent found guilty over antioxidant health claim
By Alex McNally

10/03/2007 - UK's Innocent has been rapped on the knuckles for making a health claim about its smoothie having a high antioxidant content and detoxifying effect. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said an advert by the firm, which claimed its fruit juice contained more antioxidants than the "five-a-day" portion, was not truthful or substantiated.

The verdict will come as a blow to Innocent and could set a precedent for other companies looking to make claims about antioxidant ability of fruit. It also adds the pressure on speeding up EU rules, which will require all health claims to meet a Commission-improved list. Although no official wording or accepted health claims have been approved, it seems that advertising regulators are already tightening up on health claims in preparation, and food companies should think carefully before making a health claim.

This is the second time in a week a company has come under fire for making a statement about a products' health or nutritional benefit. Last week the UK Tea Council was criticised for exaggerating the benefits of tea, and banned from making further claims about the drinks' antioxidant potential after running a series of adverts...

Under regulation (EC) No 1924/2006, which came into force in the UK from 1 July 2007, any food product claiming to have a health benefit must meet a list of European Commission-approved wording and be supported by scientific evidence.

Although the regulation came into force this month in the UK, the European Commission is not expected to agree a list of approved literature until the end of the year. The scope of the changes will not just affect food packaging, but any content including websites associated with the food.

4. Vitamin Lawyer Oversight Seal
"The trademark Vitamin Lawyer Oversight Seal may only be displayed on a website if the owner of the website meets or exceeds specific standards. Displaying the Seal indicates:

1. The Website content has been reviewed for FDA and FTC regulation compliance by The Vitamin Lawyer.*
2. The Company’s cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices) have been reviewed for government and industry standards.
3. The Company’s product labels are formatted and printed in conformity with FDA regulations.
4. The Company’s Internet advertisements comply with FDA/FTC regulations.
5. The Website’s content has been reviewed for clarity and appropriateness.

Subject to the Vitamin Lawyer Consultancy standard retainer agreement. - Oversight Seal


5. 7 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid when Promoting your Business

Entireweb Newsletter * October 2, 2007 * ISSUE #375

Many people rush into business thinking it will be easy to run, but very soon they realize that it is not as easy as it looks. A successful business is a finely tuned machine. In order to keep your business running smoothly it is important to avoid making mistakes. Here are the 7 most common mistakes to avoid:

1. Not having clear objectives: Many business people start a business without clear objectives. They fail to set realistic goals for their marketing and consequently set themselves up for failure. It is important to make a list of goals and objectives based on a quarterly time line...

2. Neglecting to analyse your potential customers: Neglecting to analyse your potential customers is a dangerous mistake... When you do not analyse your customers wants and needs you do not know what products and services to develop for them. This will lead to targeting the wrong market and neglecting to understand your own niche market...

3. Not testing: By not testing your sales copy and places you advertise with split testing your advertising, you will be losing sales... If you do not test your ad copy and marketing promotions you will not have a proper idea of the ads and promotions that are pulling and what is not working...

4. Not budgeting: Budgeting is extremely important in business. Your business should never run out of money. This is especially true with your marketing and advertising ventures. It is important to have a monthly or quarterly budget for your marketing... Start small, test and then build on successes. This will allow you to always stay solvent and have enough for promotions.

5. Giving up too soon: Companies go out of business at an alarming rate these days. One of the reasons is that the owners give up too soon... You need to give your promotions at least 3 months before you decide to scrap them... As always, test all marketing tactics before you launch a larger promotion...

6. Poor sales copy: How often have you wanted a product but when you read the sales page you had serious doubts? Poor unprofessional ad copy will cost you sales...

7. Not screening your employees carefully...

The golden rule is to diversify. You should always use multiple forms of marketing promotions in your business. Do not just do one or two promotions and then wait for results. This will slow company growth and your business will stagnate...By avoiding these mistakes you will take your company to the success you deserve... So plan ahead and be careful not to make these common mistakes.

About the Author: Sean McPheat is a leading authority marketing consultant and helps businesses across the UK, Europe, US and the Middle East...

Friday, September 28, 2007

09/28/07 - Vitamin Label Warnings; Functional Beverages


1. Health Freedom Blog Update
2. How to Avoid Alienating Search Engines
3. Vitamin Label Warnings
4. Functional Beverages… the future of supplementation?
5. Are your papers in order?

1. Vitamin Lawyer Health Freedom Blog - New Posting

Does the FDA really want public comments?

2. SE Tactics: How to Avoid Alienating the Major Search Engines

Some more good advice from

Each of the major search engines… have quality webmaster guidelines … prevent … manipulation of search engine rankings …. These webmaster guidelines change frequently … and those websites found engaging in these illicit practices are consequently dropped from the search engine rankings....

Being banned or dropped from the search engine rankings can have dire effects on your website traffic, online sales generation and site popularity…

If you wish to avoid alienating the major search engines then do not engage in the following SE tactics:

1. 'Cloaking' or sneaky redirects - displaying different content to the search engines than shown to your normal website visitors including hidden text and hidden links. …
2. 'Doorway' pages created specifically for the search engines that are aimed at spamming the index of a search engine…
3. Don't create pages that install viruses, Trojans or badware. 'Badware' is spyware, malware or deceptive adware…
4. Avoid using software that sends automatic programming queries to the search engines to submit pages or check rankings... you will be penalized for using it.
5. Don't load web pages with irrelevant words.
6. Don't link to 'bad neighborhood' sites who have: Free for all links pages, Link farms - automated linking schemes with lots of unrelated links, Known web spammers or the site has been dropped or banned by the search engines.
7. Avoid 'broken links' or '404 errors,' your site will be penalized for them.
8. Don't display pages with minimal content that is of little value to your site visitors.
9. Do not duplicate content unnecessarily.
10. Do not use pop-ups, pop-unders or exit consoles.
11. Do not use pages that rely significantly on links to content created for another website.
12. Do not use 'cross linking' to artificially inflate a site's popularity... multiple sites cross linking … together, if all sites are hosted on the same servers the search engines will pick this up and the sites will be penalized.
13. Do not misuse a competitors name or brand names in site content.
14. Sites with numerous, unnecessary virtual host names will be penalized.
15. Do not use techniques that artificially increase the number of links to your web pages ie. Link farms.
16. Display web pages with deceptive, fraudulent content or pages that provide users with irrelevant page content.
17. Using content, domain titles, meta tags and descriptions that violate any laws, regulations, infringe on copyrights & trademarks, trade secrets or intellectual property rights of an individual or entity….

About the Author: Rosemary Donald is an SEO Consultant with - & author of the SEO ebook 'Insider Secrets of Rank 1 Websites'

3. Vitamin Label Warnings…

In addition to the statutory FDA “…not evaluated…not intended…” disclaimer, here are some warnings for you to consider for your labels; please note that the AER warning may have to be modified when the final AER regulations are issued in the next couple weeks.

Product Warnings:

- Keep out of reach of children.
- Do not exceed recommended dose.
- Do not use if outer or inner seal is broken or damaged.
- If you have a serious adverse reaction to product, discontinue use
immediately, seek medical attention if necessary, and contact us.
- If you are undergoing treatment for a medical condition or if you are pregnant
or lactating, consult your physician when taking this product.

In addition to the above, you may need a Food Allergy Warning:

“The term “major food allergen” means any of the following: (1) Milk, egg, fish (e.g., bass, flounder, or cod), Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, or shrimp), tree nuts (e.g., almonds, pecans, or walnuts), wheat, peanuts, and soybeans.”

That warning should read: ALLERGY WARNING: contains [list allergens].

Finally, there is a special warning for iron containing pills or capsules: “WARNING: Accidental overdose of iron-containing products is a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6. Keep this product out of reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, call a doctor or poison control center immediately.”

4. Functional Beverages… the future of supplementation? reports: “As part of its newsletter on equity research - Healthy Living Monthly … highlighted an increased consumer focus on health and wellness as a key driver of new trends… growth and innovation will stem from more alternative segments. There will as such be opportunities for functional beverage and ingredients manufacturers alike as these categories grow. But it depends on how they align their resources and efforts.

"The beverage industry has become a leading delivery vehicle for functional nutritional ingredients, is a major beneficiary of the convenience movement in the US, and is desperate, in our opinion, for any new ideas to offset the stagnant market for carbonated soft drinks," write the report's authors.

Canaccord Adams valued the US nonalcoholic beverage market at $100bn in 2005. Carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) take up the majority of this market, with a reported $64.7bn in sales. However, the analyst says growth in the nonalcoholic segment is coming from categories other than soft drinks as consumers move towards healthier options or, at least, options that are perceived as healthier.

The firm conjectures this interest in healthier beverages is in part due to the fact US consumers are increasingly overweight. An estimated 66 percent of adults in the US are either overweight or obese, based on results from the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The rate of obesity more than doubled from the previous NHANES survey - increasing from 15.0 percent (1976-1980) to 32.9 percent (2003-2004).

In terms of recommending how manufacturers large and small ought to innovate in this market, the report repeatedly highlights the example of the rise of energy drink.

"The history of the energy drink category in the United States illustrates both the opportunities and the risks that exist as change occurs within the beverage industry," write the analysts.

While Canaccord Adams has identified emerging trends in the beverage market as being fortification, functionality, and a shift towards premium, "green" and organic products… For instance, instead of water, beverage manufacturers should now look out for 'enhanced' water.

"Don't buy commodity bottled water today, despite its enormous profitability," states the report. "It is late in the trend, and the early adopters are telling us that."

Waters fortified with healthy ingredients hold the biggest potential and are being cashed in on by the beverage giants. Coca-Cola this year forked out $4.1bn to acquire vitamin water company Energy Brands for the manufacture and marketing of new nutritionally enhanced vitamin water lines.

These fortified categories are the way of the future, according to Canaccord Adams… The analyst states that though dairy was once the bastion for beverage fortification, it has given way to alternative drink sources that come with perhaps less calories or fat.

5. Are your papers in order?

With the imposition of new regulations this year, including the long-awaited Good Manufacturing Practices, are your Standard Operating Procedures up to date? Take a look at my standard SOP format outline at: and let me know how if can help your company organize for future success!