Legal, Tax, & Accounting January 16, 2020

Did you ask your customers for permission to use their logos on your site?

Andy Cloke @andycloke

Influence Grid has some well-known businesses as customers now, and I want to use their logos in an 'As used by:' section on my site.

I'm leaning towards 'beg for forgiveness' on this one, i.e. just use them without asking explicit permission. With the legal departments that these companies have I imagine the chance of getting a 'no you can't use it' is fairly high.

Does anyone have experience of using them without permission? How did it go?

I found this IH thread, but keen to get some more discussion going on this one from people that have taken the 'just do it' route.
https://www.indiehackers.com/forum/how-to-ask-permission-to-feature-customer-logos-a8d07b6880

  1. 6

    I have an entry in the license agreement that states that I’m allowed to use the logo for marketing use. Only one of now nearly 400 customers has commented on it.

    1. 1

      Yeah that seems the best approach. Guess I need a license agreement first though..

  2. 3

    Here is a good article to read:

    https://www.brigittelyons.com/media-logos/

    1. 2

      Thanks. This was very helpful.

  3. 2

    We try to have a good relationship with our customers and simply ask, usually in exchange for a month free or something.

  4. 2

    I haven't got a perspective from my own stuff but where I work we have a few customers where we have the logos of customers on the site but we didn't ask then first.

    The only difference is they have provided us testimonials on another part of the site so the company same is listed there do using the logo probably doesn't matter to much.

    The logo should link to that company though and should not be modified on any way. The quest that might Helen is a company contacts you to remove their logo and as long you do to straight away I think you'd be ok.

  5. 2

    What if you create a personal page and add a logo of a company you worked at? I feel many people do this and probably haven't received written consent.

  6. 2

    I wouldn't use a logo without permission.

    1. 1

      I think the lesson learned here is to include it in your terms of use.

  7. 2

    If they have a large legal department to say no, than they also have time to sue you for trademark infringement. Most of the large co trademarked their logo and co name so you cannot use it without consent.

  8. 1

    I think the best approach is to reach out and ask the customers you'd like to feature: 1) if everything is going well and, if so, 2) that it'd be OK to put their logo on your website.

    If you've made sure your client is happy, then there's zero reason for them to say "no" to that small request, especially if you say something like "I'd really appreciate it, and would happily give you your next month free as compensation."

    The counter-experience is that I've worked for a couple different companies who were big enough that products we'd trial would see our name in their signup digest and immediately slap our logo on their website in the "Companies that trust us" section. Frankly, it was a huge turn-off for us as customers and a bit of a yellow flag. If you're not doing the work to reach out to us and make sure we are actually using you and do actually trust you, then we're going to stop using you and move on to a competitor (and have the lawyer send you a "no, you can't use our logo even if your license agreement says you can" letter).

  9. 1

    The worst that can happen is that they send you a cease-and-desist, and you take it down. And maybe you lose them as a customer.

    The best that can happen is that it builds so much trust and goodwill that you double, triple, even quadruple your conversion rates.

    What would you do?

    1. 1

      I think that is a pretty bad "worst that can happen", though. These customers don't exist in a vacuum and if they're big enough that you want to feature them, they're probably also big enough that you don't want their eng and legal departments bad-mouthing you to their networks. Especially when it's free to just ask for permission and keep the relationship with one of your early customers healthy...

  10. 1

    I am no legal expert but I think as long as the logo links and lead to their page, you should be fine.