ICO Survival Guide for Ad Bans on Facebook, Mailchimp, Google & Twitter

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Mailchimp has joined the bandwagon against ICOs by prohibiting email campaigns on their platform, according to the company’s acceptable use policy. This puts them in the same anti-crypto coalition as Facebook, Twitter and Google, with their plans to ban ICO ads. According to Mailchimp’s modifications to their Terms of Use, “we cannot allow businesses involved in any aspect of the sale, transaction, exchange, storage, marketing or production of cryptocurrencies, virtual currencies, and any digital assets related to an Initial Coin Offering, to use MailChimp to facilitate or support any of those activities.”

There’s sweeping legislation being passed in the United States and other countries regarding ICOs, and even advertising in general. The Senate Omnibus Bill includes the anti-privacy Cloud Act, which will no doubt have a direct impact on privacy coins, ICOs and the blockchain industry in general. Craigslist just took down their entire Personals section, including “Strictly Platonic” and replaced it with this message: “US Congress just passed HR 1865, “FOSTA”, seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.” With all of the FUD that tech giants like Facebook are generating with their response to the latest legislation, there is still a path forward for legitimate ICOs to get their message out to raise funds. Keep in mind, you will need to consult with an attorney who specializes in security law and other related fields. These tips are only meant to keep you compliant with the terms of service of the ad platforms you use.

Advertise Your Technology, Not Your ICO

You’ve got until June before Google activates their all-out advertising ban on ICOs. So, you don’t need to change much just yet, but you do need to start building out new campaigns in preparation for the changes. Facebook is a different story, as their ban is active today. But, here’s what you need to know: they’ll let your ad slide if you aren’t promoting the ICO directly. For example, if you are pitching a decentralized cloud storage platform, don’t push ads to invest in your ICO. Instead, create ads around content that speaks to your technology and not to your fundraising. This may possibly require you to drive traffic to a different website than your ICO site. So, if your ICO is on yournewplatform.io then you might want to build a website on yournewplatform.com to use for your advertising. Build a list of people who are interested in your tech and from there, you can drive them to your Telegram channel, Medium or other places where you can speak more directly about your ICO. Just be sure to consult with your attorney on the best corporate structure for your organization: which country to register with, whether to use Reg CF, Reg A+, Reg D or some other securities structure for your fundraising, how to implement KYC, and so forth.

Explore Other Platforms

Everybody knows about Mailchimp, Facebook and Google, but there are plenty of other places where you may advertise. Besides advertising on popular crypto-content websites like Cash Tech News and getting listed on the many popular ICO listings websites, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got the right team in place to manage your Bounty Campaign for exposure on social media. You should also explore other digital advertising platforms that are still friendly to ICOs. A great place to start is the list of comScore Ad Focus Rankings. Don’t be afraid to reach out to some of the ad platforms listed and ask them what their policies are. As for email, there are plenty of providers besides Mailchimp. Ask your web hosting company for suggestions, and check out some of the blog posts about email service providers. Just be careful about the added costs associated with going over your monthly limits, as they can add up quickly.

Engage the ICO Community

There are plenty of ICO groups on Facebook, Reddit, Bitcointalk and other places. Get involved and post your questions and ideas. There are lots of people who are ready to support legitimate ICOs with great products and ideas. Ask them for help and offer incentives to the most helpful people when possible. We’re a community and most of us have similar goals. Talk to enough people, and you’ll figure out your best path forward.

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