Running an online business can be a lot of fun and can be profitable as
well. But it’s important that you make sure you are meeting all
compliance requirements with governments. Is Your Online Business Compliant?
Many website owners ignore this at their peril.
If you capture emails of potential customers,
In many countries, you are required to disclose what you intend to do with
those emails. You need to let these customers know if you intend to sell
their emails or any other plan you have for them. It is common to include
If you include testimonials, make sure that they are real. In the United
States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is cracking down on
companies and websites that are fabricating testimonials. This should be
common sense but make sure you get people who have actually used your
product and are giving genuine feedback about it. Also, be aware that if
you pay for these testimonials or give your product away for free in
exchange for a testimonial, this fact must be disclosed as well.
If your business includes affiliate sales
and you provide reviews of
affiliate products you are selling, you must disclose that you have an
affiliate relationship that may result in commissions generated. The FTC
wants to make sure your potential customers understand your reviews
may be biased based on the fact that you are receiving commissions.
It’s not the worst idea to run your policies by a lawyer who is familiar
with compliance law. The internet is accessed by many people around the
This complicates the scenario as you need to make sure you are
compliant not only in your country but everywhere else your website may
be viewed. Many countries are trying to implement similar rules but you
simply never know when one falls outside those rules. Failure to comply
can at best get you a warning and at worst levy steep fines for your
business. Those fines will likely be more than any amount a lawyer would
charge to help ensure compliance.
Of course, there are plenty of tricksters and charlatans who will use scare
tactics to try and get you to purchase products and services that will help
you keep compliant. If you have a budget for this, you will be better
served to pay a lawyer as the solution will be specific to your business.
Don’t leave it to chance. You may put your business at risk if you do.