Miles Burke

Startups, digital marketing, small business & more.

Category: Industry Page 2 of 22

Ethics in the Web Industry

Last Friday, I had the honour to speak at Western Australia’s premier web conference, Edge of the Web.

My talk, titled ‘Services, Sites & Snakeoil’ was a 45 minute run down on the state of the web industry, examples of possibly unsavory behavior amongst the industry, and suggested actions to put into place to encourage better ethical decisions in the future.

I also handed out paper, and requested people jot down some of their own thoughts, which I’ll be sharing here in the near future. Right near the end of the talk, I dropped mention of the wiki environment that a bunch of us have started, in order to work through the concept of a ‘Code of Conduct’ or some-such. I’d love to see you join us there, at

Please enjoy the presentation above, and if you like it, share it with your colleagues. Thanks to Matt Didcoe, Ashul Shah, Helen Burgess and the team at Partner and Prosper for the great conference – it really was a fantastic event.

Feedback on my talk, or the slides above? Hit me up in the comments.

A Question of Ethics

Road marking

It’s personally gratifying for me to read the comments on posts and articles (as well as the recent calls, emails, etc) I have previously written about the fine line of ethics in business, particularly in the web industry, and read so many other industry players agree with me on what’s right or wrong.

I have had my fair share of debate as well; sure, it’s easy for me to say what I believe is ethical and what isn’t, and that it isn’t a definitive line, and I am publishing what I think is right or wrong. As far as I am concerned, that’s the point. It is MY personal view on what is ethical and what’s isn’t, or what is in the grey area in-between. Sure, there’s no list of boundaries and that it is my personal view, however I like to believe with twenty years of business management and ownership in various forms, I can speak from my own personal experience.

Let’s be frank here. I would never steal someone else’s design and call it my own. I wouldn’t use competitors intellectual data or client lists for my own advantage, I wouldn’t advertise using AdWords and specifically target searches for competitor business names or trademarks. There’s a stack of other things I also wouldn’t do, yet I haven’t written about.

The responses from my most recent two posts have inspired me to work further on the idea of an opt-in code of conduct, something I have been discussing and thinking about for a few years now. If I did start to facilitate a list or a code or whatever we call it, and open it to peer review, do you believe it would be worthwhile? Would you consider be involved in guiding it? Would you even consider adopting it?

Be keen to hear your feedback – shout out in a comment below…

Yanchep Night Sky

Perth Web Design a trademark?


I’ve been involved in the Perth web design industry for 15 years now, and have often referred to my business, Bam Creative as a Perth web design company. That’d be correct; we’re based in Perth, Western Australia and we offer web design and web development and other associated services.

A cursory glance at a number of other websites of Perth web design businesses, shows that the phrase ‘Perth web design’ appears on nearly all of them. Bam Creative certainly has used this phrase since we started in 2002.

So it came as quite a surprise to me, when I was alerted to the fact a local company has applied for a trademark on the term ‘Perth web design’. In fact, they only lodged the application last month, on the 20th December 2010.

Now, I’m no trademark attorney, but in my humble opinion, it seems somewhat far-fetched that an application for such a generic phrase could be accepted, however we all know that law and reality don’t always see eye to eye.

On this information page on IP Australia, it states that…

Types of trade marks that are difficult to register
A trade mark that describes your goods (eg. radios) and services (eg. electrician). It must not be a sign that other traders may wish to use to promote or describe their goods and services, nor can it mislead the public about the nature of your goods and services.

It is also very difficult to register a geographic name or a common surname as a trade mark, however, someone who has used one extensively for a considerable period of time may be able to achieve registration.

Given that the application is for terms that describe services, as well as a geographic location, I would imagine that this would get rejected, however it sure is an interesting case, and I for one will be watching it closely.

Searching the IP Australia ATMOSS database of lodged trademark applications, you’ll see that application 1400795 is applying for the term “Perth web design” as a trademark, in the class of web portal services, which includes designing or hosting of web sites. (The easiest way to search is to ‘Login as Guest’, then use the second search box, and enter the application number 1400795).

The application is currently at a status of ‘Indexing Approved’, which simply means it has been added to the database. The next step from here, is for the examination to be undertaken, before being accepted and published for the opposition period of three months.

If you are involved in the Perth web design industry, and keen to oppose this trademark application, should it be required, then there is a Guide to opposing registration of another person’s trade mark available on the IP Australia website, along with a number of other guides.

I’ll post an update to the application when it has moved through the appropriate processes…

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