Mary Kay Cosmetics Sues RetailMeNot For Fraud, Trademark Infringement

Cosmetics company says “faux coupons” harming model and shoppers.

Mary Kay litigation vs. RetailMeNot

When shoppers are able to make an online purchase a considerable quantity will pause all through checkout, tab over to a search engine and question  “retailer identify + coupons.” incessantly that process yields a result that prominently options RetailMeNot.

Mary Kay Cosmetics is suing affiliate site Google Ventures-backed RetailMeNot in federal court docket for exactly because of this.  the company doesn’t sell right away to the public — though its corporate web site makes it seem otherwise — and says it doesn’t provide offers or coupons. due to this fact the corporate says that RetailMeNot’s presentation of Mary Kay coupons misleads consumers and harms the logo and its relationship with its gross sales reps (independent consultants) in several ways.

Mary Kay lawsuitin line with the Mary Kay criticism, filed in US District court docket in Dallas:

by list these purported Mary Kay “sales” and “codes” on its site, RMN misleads shoppers into believing that Mary Kay has a relationship with RMN, that Mary Kay merchandise can be bought straight away from Mary Kay at a reduced value, and that the coupon “codes” are professional . . . [The coupon listings] lead shoppers into falsely believing there is an approval, affiliation or partnership between Mary Kay and RMN . . .

RMN’s checklist of these “gross sales,” “offers,” and “coupons” harms Mary Kay and its relationship with its buyers (the IBCs). Mary Kay has obtained quite a lot of complaints from IBCs and others, who’ve been compelled by using shoppers to accept and/or honor the false or unauthorized “coupons” posted on RMN’s website online. as well as, RMN regularly resists, refuses or is gradual to dispose of expired coupons and different codes or unauthorized deals, even when users ask RMN to do away with them, possible since the choice of coupons and other listings for Mary Kay and others on RMN’s web site increases the amount of site visitors to the site, which in turn allows RMN to charge greater charges for its services.

RetailMeNot began as a user-generated coupon website online that came fast to dominate search rankings for coupon searches. In 2010 it was once received by way of WhaleShark Media, which rebranded itself as RetailMeNot and went public in 2013. 

In 2014 RetailMeNot claimed greater than 450 million shopper visits to its web sites. the corporate says it made more than $200 million in affiliate revenue the earlier 12 months, riding site visitors to outlets. principally the company does a greater job of web optimization than its retailer consumers.

in many circumstances, then again, there is no precise coupon or promo code, merely a hyperlink to the retailer website online.

Mary Kay litigation

Mary Kay seeks to stop RetailMeNot from the use of its model and logos one day in addition to financial damages. RetailMeNot issued a commentary to the Dallas Morning news, pronouncing that it believed it was in compliance with the regulation and would contest the lawsuit.

whereas Mary Kay may not prevail on all claims, it does seem that the go well with has some advantage and that RetailMeNot could also be compelled to vary some of its practices. if so, it’s not instantly clear how this would possibly have an effect on the broader world of affiliate marketing but there would probably be some repercussions.

RetailMeNot has incentives to settle the litigation and keep away from the creation of an adversarial federal precedent for affiliate marketers. alternatively at least in their public statements, the 2 sides look like totally at odds and so the case might neatly go to trial.

concerning the author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a private blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and actual-world client habits. he is also VP of strategy and Insights for the native Search affiliation. observe him on Twitter or to find him at Google+.

(Some pictures used below license from


advertising and marketing Land – internet advertising news, strategies & pointers