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eCommerce Laws Apply to Blogs and Blog Designers

Posted on December 05, 2011 by Blog Design Journal

Blogging began as a simple way to express oneself on line, to share thoughts and ideas. How times have changed!

Bloggers started accepting ads and sponsorships and putting links in their posts to products for which they received commissions for sales made through their links, and so on. Blogs evolved into money-makers.

What we now refer to as a blog is often a commercial website that just happens to be in a blog format or built with a blogging content management system, such as WordPress. Blog design has changed, for sure. And the laws affecting blogs have also changed.

When you sell goods or services through your blog, even when you just link to other companies’s sales pages in hopes of receiving commissions on sales, you move into different territory. You enter ecommerce. And not everyone involved in ecommerce is honest.

As ecommerce booms on the Web, the U.S. government is taking a closer look and tightening regulations. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has tightened regulations to prevent phishing and other scams and to limit claims made by online merchants to those that can be proven.

The laws governing doing business on line can be extremely confusing and sometimes highly technical. The average general attorney is usually not familiar enough with Internet law, intellectual property law, and web technology to advise bloggers and blog designers to keep them out of trouble with the FTC or to keep them from getting sued by other Internet businesses.

I found that out the hard way when a larger company demanded I give them my company’s domain name in 2000. Their lawyer made all kinds of threats, and I hired a general attorney recommended by a friend. Big mistake. My lawyer knew much less about intellectual property law than I did, and she tried to browbeat me into selling my valuable domain name cheap—because she would get a share of the proceeds.

We recommend getting in touch with an international e-commerce law firm and becoming familiar with what they offer and what they recommend that you do to stay safe—before you need them.

Because when the unthinkable happens, you will be glad you made that connection in advance.

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