12 eCommerce Legal Issues to Consider in Operating an Online Business

The following article provides a high-level summary of some key eCommerce law issues online business operators face in running a website or other eCommerce business. Conducting business online or maintaining a website may subject companies and individuals to unforeseen legal liabilities. The following is a brief survey of 12 key eCommerce law issues to consider:

1. Internet Business & eCommerce

A good starting point is analyzing a company’s online presence and auditing their procedures to determine how to grow their brand and online influence. As part of this, the company’s agreements and websites should comply with the myriad of laws and regulations affecting websites and online businesses, such as COPPA.

2. Domain Name Acquisition

Domains are often the key to an online business, but can present a number of problems. Domain name issues include securing a domain name initially, as well as protecting domain names from adverse parties that attempt to trade off the goodwill associated with the company’s brand. Sometimes, the company needs defense, retrieval, and protection of domain names on the Internet.

3. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) Compliance

Companies operating websites, particularly where third-party content may be uploaded directly, should consider adopting agreements and procedures to shield themselves against claims of liability and copyright infringement. This procedure is sometimes referred to as a “copyright policy” or “DMCA takedown” procedure. Compliance with the DMCA can provide the online operator with a safe harbor from liability.

4. Online Privacy

Online privacy continues to become a bigger issue. With the spread of mobile devices, tablets, and apps, privacy issues are becoming more complex. Companies should consider composing or updating their privacy policies as well as adopting internal security protocols aimed at protecting the online privacy of customers and website users.

5. Social Media Law

While a powerful vehicle to build brand strength and interact with customers, social media can create a number of legal issues for online businesses. A social media policy provided to employees as well as guidelines can be effective steps to reduce risk. A few key areas to consider are employment related use of social media, confidentiality, sponsorship, and branding guidelines.

6. Privacy Policies

Privacy policies should not be copied from online templates or rival companies. They should be drafted comprehensively to address unique issues of a specific online business and to accommodate future growth. Whether a company looks to collect analytics or more personalized information, the company should focus on its specific business needs and risk factors. Privacy policies should be updated as a business evolves.

7. Terms of Use Agreements

Terms of Use (TOU) agreements can limit liability for companies that maintain an Internet presence. These agreements should be optimized to address a company’s specific business and should not be simply cut and pasted from the Internet. What works for one company may not work for another company.

8. eCommerce Agreements

eCommerce agreements come in many forms such as licensing, advertising agreements, and payment processor agreements. eCommerce agreements should be drafted to address the primary legal risks involved in a particular eCommerce contract or business transaction.

9. Online Sweepstakes & Games

Online sweepstakes, contests, and games create a number of legal pitfalls. Depending on the sweepstake, contest, or game, compliance with the laws of all 50 states as well as the federal government may be required. Registration in specific states may also be required. Online businesses may benefit from guidance as to whether a particular new initiative is considered a sweepstake, contest, or game.

10. Domain Theft

Recovering hijacked domains can often be difficult and time-consuming. Typically, avoiding domain theft in the first place is much easier than attempting to recover a stolen domain. While difficult, it is possible to recover a hijacked domain.

11. Website Agreements

Website agreements can be customized to limit legal liability and reduce risks of disputes by analyzing an online business’s intellectual property portfolio, business processes, and brand objectives. Website agreements can be used for mobile applications in addition to websites.

12. Impersonation and Username Squatting

Impersonation and username squatting can occur when a third party registers a social media account using someone else’s identity. This can result in harmful posts and information being published in social media. Username squatting can also prevent a trademark or brand owner from controlling their trademark. Typically, registering usernames in advance is the best strategy to avoid impersonation or username squatting.

While the above identifies a number of eCommerce and internet law issues affecting website and online business operators, an in-depth analysis may be required. For more information, you may want to contact an eCommerce attorney.

Disclaimer – As with any discussion of legal topics, this article is intended to be educational only, and is not a substitute for legal advice, nor does it provide legal advice or form an attorney-client relationship with the reader. Please seek legal counsel before making any decisions. Also, please note that this article will likely not be updated, so the law and circumstances may have changed by the time you have read this article.

Productive Domain Names – Choosing the Right Domain Name For Your Site

The domain name is the identifier name given to a site to make it distinctly unique from the various sites there are on the net. It is important to have a domain name because the unique existence of your site is dependent and reliant on the domain name. A site can never complete its cycle of creation if a domain name is not attributed to it. It is therefore, essential that you rightfully choose the domain name to attach on your site because it brings great impact on your site. I have cited below some of the important notes that you can consider in choosing the right domain name for your site.

a. Choose a domain name that bears close affiliation with your site. This means that when you create or purchase a domain name for your site make sure that you get to create something that conveys the real content of the site. Do not go too over boarding with the domain name that it loses pertinence in equivalent to the site content. It is essential that you also have to equate the domain name with what the site is naturally talking about.

b. Choose a domain name that is uniquely drafted but at a certain point has close association with the more established domains. This means that instead of ceating a newly, unfamiliar, and not recognized name, why not come up with a domain name that has a little touch with the ones that are successfully exiting in the market so that when the search begins, your domain name shall be placed on the search engine results page because of the close affiliation of your domain name to theirs.

c. Choose a domain name that does not look too general. A broader domain name is too difficult to be indexed by search engines and when they are difficult to index, they rarely get good chances of getting better ranks. Try to be more specific with your domain name.

How About Flipping Aged Domains As an Online Home Business?

Flipping domains is a quick and easy way to generate an income online from home. This is also a cheap way to get started because all you need is $10.00 to buy an Internet address and post it for sale on one of the many directories on the Web and wait for the offers to come in.

However, if you have a few more dollars to spare you may want to consider flipping aged domains because sometimes you can get up to four times what you paid for it from a sale. Aged domains are addresses that have been previously used online but were allowed to expire by their owners and are now available on the open market.

These domains are a little pricier because some of them already have existing traffic flowing to them and they may also have a reasonable page rank on the Web. If you decide to take this route here are 5 important things you should consider before buying an aged address:

1. As with most domain names the length is very important and it should consist of no more than two words. Any longer than this and your prospects have a difficult time remembering it and it lends itself to mistakes when being typed into the browser window.

There are exceptions to this rule but only if you are lucky enough to find a three word address that is keyword rich and easy to remember.

2. Speaking of keywords you should check the domain to see if it contains keywords relevant to Google searches. If it does this would make it much easier for your website to get ranked.

3. Always check an aged domain to find out if it still has existing traffic coming to it. If it does, this will substantially increase its value on the open market thereby making it a more attractive purchase for your prospects.

4. When you’re looking at the available aged domains list for sale try to imagine what the name could be used for by the buyer. For example, is it a brand able name or would it be better suited for a blog or a personal website?

If you can find a name that’s suitable for one or more of these types of websites it would make it easier for you to promote by suggesting these ideas in your sales copy.

5. Finally, before purchasing an aged domain always investigate to make sure you won’t be in violation of any trademark claims of existing companies by doing so. This is a headache no one needs especially if they decide to take legal action against you and your business.

You can create a nice income for your online home based business by flipping aged domains as long as you keep these 5 considerations in mind before buying.

Earn Money With Parked Domain Names

Do you have domain names that you are not currently using?

Did you know that these domains can actually become a source of revenue for your online business?

There are several companies on the internet that will pay you to redirect your domain to a landing page, filled highly relevant PPC (pay per click) links. The links displayed on your landing page will be optimized based on what keywords are in your domain, and what links previous visitors have been interested in looking at. You can earn real money every time one of your visitors clicks a link on your landing page, in addition to guaranteed ad revenue for each and every unique visitor that you receive. All this revenue building up month after month can form into a very nice income stream for your business.

Considering the fact that you can earn up to $5.00/click (depending on your domain, and what country your traffic comes from) with this type of program, there is no doubt that domain parking can be an extremely lucrative practice. If you would like to learn more about how to start earning money with your unused domain names and be receiving paycheques by the end of next month, please click here

For more internet marketing articles and online business resources, please visit WealthStream.info

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Why El Cheapo Domains Will Cost You Money

You want your own online business? Good because it’s one of the most fun things you can do with your spare time and can be very profitable.

Remember that just because it’s an online business doesn’t mean that you should treat it with any less professionalism or seriousness than you do your daytime job.

Why? Simply because when you run an online business it’s a serious business. Well it should be taken seriously if you want to make serious money.

One of the most important aspects of any online business is the domain name. This is where the vast majority of new online entrepreneurs make their first big mistake – they choose one of those free domain name providers to represent their business online. This is a critical mistake.

Let’s say you’re starting a computer repair business. Which one of the following domains looks better:

http://www.computerfixer.com

or;

‘computerfixer.freehosting.com’

The truth of the matter is that computerfixer.com is a top level domain and computerfixer.freehosting.com is a sub-domain. These free domain providers would have you believe that their cheapo subdomain is as good as a top level domain – this simply isn’t so.

Online shoppers expect your online business to be located on a top level domain. If they find your website on one of these cheap or free domain services you’ve just lost 50% of your potential customers. They’ll click back and look at the next search result in Google, Yahoo or MSN.

Free domains make you look cheap, show that you don’t want to invest in your business, that you don’t take your customers seriously, look terrible on business cards and make you look like an amateur. There aren’t any benefits to cutting corners on your domain name.

A domain name costs, at most, $15 per year. That’s 4 cents per day. If your business can’t afford this then you really shouldn’t be running an online business at all.

Getting Your Online Business Started

Any business starts with an idea. Turning the idea into a profitable business takes time and dedication. It doesn’t happen overnight. There are a few fairly easy ways to turn your business into a profitable website.

Online businesses are part of the internet. The internet is full of people searching for things from all over the world. This is one reason to have a website. You will be able to reach many more people than a local business. In order to get your website started you need to have a domain name. This is the name of your business online. You can search through places like GoDaddy to find available website or domain names. Usually a domain name will cost about 7.99 and up for a year. You will need to pay this cost each year to keep your website or business name online. You want to be sure that your domain name fits with the type of business you have online. If you sell clothes you don’t want to use a domain name that goes with selling pet food. You also have to make sure this is a unique name that is only used by your business.

So you’ve got your domain name, but that’s not all. You have to choose a web host provider. In order for your website to function right you need a good company to host your website on their server. Some good web host providers include BlueHost, Startlogic and Resellers Web host. Make sure it is a reliable company with good reviews. You don’t want to have your website with error messages or saying this website is under construction. If you can’t see your website chances are other people can’t. If you wish to avoid this choice you may wish to use a company like Wix which will do these things for you for a monthly fee.

Now you need to list your business and product information. Even if your business is an Ecommerce website it is still important to have good content. In other words, describe your products well. Also make sure you have good pictures of your products. A picture says a thousand words. Even if you go through a company like Wix you are responsible for managing the pictures, products and information on your website. If your website is more of a blog or information website you may wish to go through WordPress which is free for blog type websites.

In order to be a profitable business you need to make money. You may need to use money to advertise but make sure you are reaching a targeted audience. You want people to come to your website who are looking to buy from you. There are several ways to advertise your website for free. Social media like Twitter and LinkedIn are great ways to do this.

In order to get the right people to your website, be sure to do some good SEO or Search Engine Optimization. WordPress Ecommerce is a great program to use in order to make this step easier. There is a learning curb but if you check forums and do some research you will learn how to do this step yourself. You may wish to hire a programmer if it is too complicated. Be sure to use good keywords and keyword phrases. If you are selling perfume, you don’t want to use keywords like pets, food or words that have nothing to do with your products.

These steps may seem a bit overwhelming, but study each one at your own pace. Stay focused and keep doing what you know to do. It takes time to get your website to be a productive online business but it is very possible. Keep learning and stay encouraged.