April 2011

Monthly Archives

  • Google Buzz FTC Settlement


    3 ‘PRIVACY’ Takeaways from the Google Buzz FTC Settlement in March 2011

    Federal Trade Commission or FTC Logo - Aber Law Firm

    As you may have heard, Google settled with the Federal Trade Commission regarding its rollout of Google Buzz and its alleged privacy violations during that rollout. There are a few SAAS privacy or software privacy tips here, so I have tried to outline/simplify them for you.

    1) It is All About DEFAULT Privacy Settings. Think about it this way, if you add a new feature to your SAAS service where you connect customers/people/partners, etc. who submitted information subject to your privacy policy, you need to think about whether this feature is by default on or off (open or closed, enabled or disabled . . . you get the idea). I generally think that you should turn these off initially, and then educate your customers why they may want to use that new feature (i.e. it should be their choice). Well, Google got this wrong and opened up Buzz to gmail’s contacts by default, and caused all kind of issues.

    FTC Settlement Excerpt - Aber Law Firm

    2) What Google Learned About its Privacy Policy (and you should know). Most privacy policies state that information subject to the policy will not be used for a purpose other than for the purpose for which the information was disclosed (translated into English, if a customer provides a company registration data then the data should only be used for registration purposes, without that customer’s consent). Read your policy, because it may say something like this. If …

  • Where to Go For Software Negotiation Training?


    Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation Banner - Aber Law Firm

    There are many different places to go for negotiations training (in general), but where is a great place for learning about the art of software negotiations with customers, partners, etc. I highly recommend the Program on Negotiations at Harvard. I have attended some of their seminars, read some of their books, and have found that there is no better methodology for software customer and partner negotiations (from the perspective of the software vendor for say their software or SAAS contract negotiations). You ask why the PON is great, well let me elaborate.

    1) Software Negotiations are Unique. These negotiations are unique as,

    • you are selling something that is by definition intangible,
    • a general matter software transactions are (i) long-term (i.e. it is not a one shot-deal) and (ii) co-dependent relationship (i.e. you each need each other over time) negotiations, and
    • you are generally dealing with super smart people on both sides of the table, who are technically savvy too (i.e. BS will not get you very far).

    2) Transparency and Honesty are the Key. I have negotiated in many different industries over my nearly 20 year legal career, and I have not found any other industry that requires more honesty and transparency over the long haul than this industry. Every software vendor wants their customer to understand how their technology works, what their revenue model is, and what problem it is solves (and doesn’t); so communication and education are super important. Now selling vaporware is not the …