Friday Five: How much do your dreams cost?

In lieu of a post about Citizens Giving something possibly less interesting. Here is part of an interview with Kelly C, a Flint-based volunteer with Citizens Giving. So here’s the Friday Five meme, instead!

1. What would you do right now, if money were not an issue?
I would go on an overseas trip until July, which is when university will start, for me.

2. What would you do for the next three years, if money were not an issue?
Go on overseas trips whenever I could, buy/rent a very nice apartment in the city, employ a personal chef, volunteer the time I would spend working to good causes.

3. What is bringing you the most joy right now that requires little or no money?
Reading and helping other people succeed.

4. What types of things do you find enjoyable that require no money?
Aside from the aforementioned reading and volunteering, I love to play and laugh with my nieces and nephews, daydream, play with my cats, swim at the beach, create new things out of old things, to name but a few.

5. Is there anything you’ve been meaning to do for a long time, but put off because of money?
Do more volunteer work, get maybe another tattoo, go on a holiday and bring someone who deserves it, someone who doesn’t have anything at all!

Here is an example of a great employment option:

What does a Brand Cop do?

Pros: Dedicated onsite employee with specific duties
Cons: Laborious and time-intensive; higher potential for missed mentions of your brand online

Cost: Annual salary and benefits per employee start at about $60,000 and can climb as high as a few hundred thousand dollars depending on employee education, skill, and expertise.

Caroline K. is one of six Coca-Cola brand cops. She, of course, wouldn’t describe herself that way, but the young lawyer has spent the last four years upholding the letter of the law for the Coca-Cola brand. Many of her days are spent in the Atlanta corporate office surfing the Web, tracking repeat offenders and writing cease and desist letters centered on Coke brand abuses, online and off.

The cases she tackles are usually first investigated by the trade research department. Katz will then determine who is behind the work and study the nature of the infraction. Only a very small portion of her cases end in legal action.

“It really is a case-by-case basis. If it’s a matter of using a logo and saying, ‘I love Coca-Cola,’ that’s not really a trademark infringement,” Katz says. “I don’t want to prevent consumers from being happy and loving our product. If someone is doing this who doesn’t realize it’s illegal, we take a much more gentle approach.”

That usually means writing a letter – Katz writes about 10 to 15 per week – in which she asks the interlopers to stop using the Coke brand or trademark.

Even though hyped-up fans account for the vast majority of the cases, intentional misuses of the Coke brand remain the most disconcerting and consist largely of unauthorized domain name usage and attempts to sell domains back to Coca-Cola.

“There are a lot of people out there looking to make a quick buck,” Katz says. “We get a lot of people saying ‘I just registered this domain name, would you be interested in buying it?”‘

The answer is no. Coke has never purchased a domain name in such a situation, partly for policy reasons and partly due to the reality of domain name abuse: Early on, the company decided that there are so many potential variations on its name and products, that it wasn’t worth attempting to buy them all.

In fact, the company tried at first to buy or prevent the launch of derogatory Websites. It decided, however, that it was wading into a free-speech issue and backed off. Still, Coke does monitor suspect sites – Katz opens a file on each one and depending upon the content will log in every few weeks to make sure none have crossed the line from free speech to trademark infringement.

Yet Katz doesn’t expect to keep pace with the increasing expansion of the Web. “I’m not sure how much longer I can continue to cover the United States [online] by myself,” she says.

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