This Article is About
internet marketers
ftc rules
internet marketer
costly mistake
endorsements
Law For Internet Marketers
Join 1000's of Authors at StreetArticles Today!

Law For Internet Marketers

Introduction

This article is relevant primarily to internet marketers doing business in the United States.

Most new internet marketers seem to give little, or no, thought to complying with the state and federal laws which directly apply to them. That can be a costly mistake.

All of the applicable laws cannot be covered in a brief article such as this one. The goal here is to alert you to the laws which affect internet marketers so that you can do further research and discuss them with your own legal advisers.

What Laws Directly Affect Internet Marketers?

As mentioned, we can't cover everything here, but the following list contains some of the most important questions you should ask yourself about the legal issues facing you, as an internet marketer:

  • Are You Complying With The Can-Spam Act Pertaining To Commercial Emails?
  • Do You Know The Disclosures That The FTC Requires You To Have On Your Websites?
  • Do You Know What You Can, and Cannot, Do With Testimonials?
  • Do You Know What You Can, and Cannot, Do With Endorsements?
  • What Are Common Mistakes You Must Avoid With Your Review Sites?

The Can-Spam Act

The Can-Spam Act, in its full glory is the "Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act." Boy! That's a mouthful.

Perhaps a better name for the Act would be the "Can't Spam Act," because Spam is what it seeks to control - unsolicited emails relating to pornography or commercial activity.

Very briefly, to comply with Can-Spam, emails you transmit must contain:

  1. A clear and conspicuous identification that the message is an advertisement, and
  2. A clear and conspicuous notice of the opportunity to decline to receive further messages from the sender, and
  3. A valid physical postal address for the sender.

There are fines for violating the Can-Spam rules. What you may not realize is that those fines can be up to $16,000 per violation, and each email you send is a separate violation! Ouch!

FTC Rules Pertaining To Disclosures Of Financial Relationships

Many internet marketers are affiliate marketers. As such, you earn your income primarily from affiliate links on your websites which link to other websites and products which you are receiving commissions to promote.

The Federal Trade Commission expects you to disclose these financial connections in a "clear and conspicuous" way on your website in close proximity to the affiliate links. The days of burying your disclosures in tiny print in your footer or deep in your Terms of Service Agreement are over.

The Use Of Testimonials

In the infancy of internet marketing it was not uncommon for unscrupulous marketers to make up a bunch of testimonials purporting to praise the virtues of their products. Undoubtedly, some marketers continue in this folly to this day, oblivious to the potential legal problems they are inviting.

To make a long story short, if you use testimonials these days, they had better be legitimate and you'd better have proof of that fact to back you up when the FTC comes calling.

The Use of Endorsements

Endorsements are very much like testimonials, and the FTC rules are the same. If you show someone, a celebrity or not, endorsing your product, that had better be an actual current user of the product. You can't just pay someone to say they use the product when they don't.

Rules For Review Sites

Review sites are very common in the internet marketing world. I have no data to back this up, but my guess would be that somewhere around 90% of the reviews on review sites are written by internet marketers who have never used the product being reviewed.

The overriding principle under which the FTC operates is that your communications with your potential customers, whether that is accomplished through your website or by email, must be honest.

So many review site owners put up websites comparing and rating a bunch of products (for all of which they are affiliates). These "reviewers" either expressly or impliedly claim that their reviews are impartial and based on their personal knowledge of the products, when in fact they are neither impartial nor based on knowledge of the products being reviewed.

These marketers have a direct financial interest in the products being reviewed and many (dare I say, most) of them have never used the products, or even researched the products' features. Suffice it to say, this is a big No-No.

Summary

Don't be one of those people who start an online business without considering the legal requirements that apply to them. For some odd reason, many new internet marketers operate under the mistaken assumption that "anything goes" on the internet, and that the usual laws and regulations don't apply. That is a mistake you don't want to make.

It is advisable to do a more comprehensive review of legal issues that may affect you, and you should always discuss your legal issues with your personal legal advisor.

This article is designed only to alert you to some of the more important legal issues that affect internet marketers in general. Nothing in this article should be regarded as legal advice.


Street Talk

No comments present
You May Also Like
What A Happy Horse Can Teach Internet Marketers
Jane Savoie has written an in depth course on dressage riding complete with videos and study manuals. This is one of the best courses on riding available, but what can a happy horse teach Internet Marketers? This is the subject of this article. The thing is that you can not…
  Likes: 14

So You Want To Quit Your 9 To 5
You want to quit your day job and go full time – part of the time working at home right? We’ve all heard about this dream people are living for real every day, but now it is our turn and we want in on it. While you might have tried…
4
  Likes: 1

Why Doesn't Coke Promote Pepsi? - The Logic Shattered By Internet Marketers
A strange question I ask, or is it? You and I both know we have never seen a Pepsi commercial stating that Coca Cola is an awesome soft drink and that we should all run out and buy it. Quite the opposite. In the real business world, the proposal to…
By: Kyle in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Internet Marketing   Feb 18, 2012  
36
  Likes: 32

Tips for New Internet Marketers
It has been a year since I dipped my feet into the internet marketing ocean and I've learned a lot. If you are just starting out, here are some of the things I've learned, my tips for new Internet marketers. 1. Try not get discouraged. Cyberspace is vast and confusing,…
By: R.B. Malo in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Internet Marketing   Jun 06, 2011  
0
  Likes: 2

Fiverr ideas for internet marketers
Could it be possible to get outsourcing work done for your online business for just $5? Apparently it is. Fiverr, a site where individuals offer their services for just five bucks is chock full of possibilities and has become very popular in the last little while. Here are some Fiverr…
By: R.B. Malo in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Internet Marketing   Jun 06, 2011  
0
  Likes: 2

Pinterest Review
I learned about Pinterest from Wealthy Affiliate University. I immediately requested an invite and after waiting for some days, I was in. I've been using it for quite some time now so I want to share my own Pinterest review. The Interface Pinterest's interface is different from those common social…
By: Cham Altatis in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Social Networking   Mar 19, 2012  
3
  Likes: 5

What Are Some Internet Marketers Thinking?
Recently I received an extremely disturbong email from a friend who lives in the Middle East. He has been receiving abusive emails from total strangers all because of his country of birth. Now most of us are aware of the unrest in that part of the world but this does…
By: Sam G Morton  in  News and Society  >  International   May 31, 2012  
4
  Likes: 1

Follow Up With A Personalized Thank You Card
In marketing, the "follow up" is key to success. Every marketer knows this, whether they are online or offline. The problem is most internet marketers never think about marketing offline. Sure maybe they hand out a business card when opportunity presents itself but, this is not enough. You have to…
By: chris38 in  Business  >  Marketing Direct   Oct 26, 2012  
0
  Likes: 0

Write 60 Articles Per Month
The title is more of a command than a title, don’t you think? Why do I say this? It’s because I know you’re reading this because you’re either just beginning, which is good, or you’re not a beginner and you haven’t made much money on the Internet. I’m going to…
By: Tom Marchido in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Internet Marketing   May 30, 2011  
0
  Likes: 3

Kardashian Fashion Line - Upcoming Opportunities for Internet Marketers
The Kardashian fashion line took the nation by storm last year and their recent holiday season sales successes have inspired the famous reality siblings to launch a new venture in 2011. Now with the addition of a powerful department store ally the Kardashions aim to be busy again this year…
By: Barry Livingstone in  Business  >  Branding   Feb 04, 2011  
1
  Likes: 0

Making Money with a Website - 3 Reasons Most Internet Marketers Choose WordPress
Making money with a website is less complicated than ever before today. Even the most novice computer users can, with a paypal account or credit card, can have a fully functioning for-profit site up and running in a matter of a couple of hours. The key to the web based…
  Likes: 0

Thank You Page
In the world of Internet marketing there are a lot of elements and issues to take into consideration. An often forgotten one is The thank you page. This is a place where you ought to build a relationship with your customer and stand by them with relevant information and support.…
By: Bengt in  Home Based Business  >  Network Marketing   Jan 26, 2011  
1
  Likes: 1

Opt In Email Lists - 3 Reasons Internet Marketers Embrace Them
Opt in email lists have been the most well established online marketing method since the end of the spamming era. While some internet marketers may have been saddened or threatened by the end (or more appropriately curtailing) of the use of spam servers to send out unsolicited emails, the vast…
By: Barry Livingstone in  Business   Jan 27, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Article Directories and Back Links - It's Important!
Article directories can help you generate tons of money. This article explains the importance of back links and which article directories are best for online marketers.
By: JW Goddard in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Ezine Publishing   Mar 11, 2013  
0
  Likes: 3

Write for the Title
For internet marketers who write articles for article marketing, writing a great article title might be the most important part of the entire article. Often, article marketers will think of a title first, then write the body around the title. Why? Because without an awesome, title people will not view…
By: Alec Lautenschleger in  Writing and Speaking  >  Article Marketing   Mar 02, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Article Views: 918    Report this Article