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Attorney marketing with niche websites | When is an image inappropriate?


Transvaginal mesh images too graphic?

I recently created a website for the women (and families of women) suffering from complications of transvaginal mesh. The website includes both medical and legal information. After finishing the site, I submitted a news release to one of the major news release services. In the area of the news release in which you can post an image, I posted an image taken by a medical doctor or nurse of transvaginal mesh in place (internally) after surgery. It didn’t include any external part of the body, and I didn’t expect the image to create any controversy.

Within a few minutes I received an email from the news release service saying my release had been placed on editorial hold. The email said:

Your news image is far too graphic to be displayed on our site. Do you have a logo or anything more tame you can substitute for this image?

I did indeed have a logo or something more “tame” that I could substitute for the image. But my logo or other “tame” image did not really convey any useful information about the subject matter covered in the news release. And the news release was aimed at news reporters, who presumably would be used to seeing graphic images.

According to Google AdWords, one of the most-frequently used search terms for “transvaginal mesh” is the question “what is transvaginal mesh.” I didn’t find that surprising, because there have been so many transvaginal mesh TV ads, and it’s hard to explain a subject in only 30 seconds.

I tried to make the transvaginal mesh website informative, with several pages of medical information in addition to the legal information. One of the pages contains pictures of transvaginal mesh, mesh erosion and other medical images. (Here’s a link to the transvaginal mesh pictures.)

The picture I included with the news release does not seem offensive to me, given the context. All of the pictures were copied from either the FDA or the National Institutes of Health (just in case you don’t know, these images aren’t copyrighted, and the federal government welcomes the use of them by third parties to further the educational purpose of posting such materials). The picture page on my website informed viewers that they could click on the image and be taken to the government webpage that would have more information.

I’ve opened Comments on this post so you can share your opinions with me. Is an image of transvaginal mesh too graphic for a news release?

About Michael J. Evans

Michael J. Evans is a personal injury lawyer who represents people with claims involving defective medicine or medical devices, other defective products that cause serious injury or death, and environmental cases. Evans also handles whistleblower lawsuits in which employees, or former employees, expose fraud or other illegal conduct by the corporation for which they work(ed), Evans organizes litigation groups of plaintiffs law firms to work with him on these cases nationwide. Evans uses social media, blogs, online video, mobile apps and traditional media to connect with clients, and help other prominent law firms connect with clients.. Evans is also an advocate for the rights of consumers. His primary areas of legal practice are mass torts, and advising law firms on the ethical rules and law governing legal marketing via the Internet and social media.

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