Online Legal Protection

Why Internet Marketers Need More Protection  

From the moment you first connected to the Internet, you have probably been  told that you need to use security measures to protect yourself. This is  something that all Internet users face all of the time. There is a great deal more  to protection for Internet Marketers however.  

Internet Marketers need more protection than that average user simply because  they have more to protect, and of course they have more at stake. The average  user may use their personal computers to shop, play games, or to surf the  Internet. As an Internet Marketer, you probably do all of those things, but you  also operate an entire business online.  

A hacker can easily break into the email that is associated with your website,  read your mail, and use that account to send thousands of spam emails out – all  in your name – between the time that you turn off your computer for the day  and fire it up again in the morning. They could even do it while you are taking  your lunch break – or while you are sitting in front of the screen working.  

They may also manage to break into the databases on your website and obtain  all sorts of private information concerning your customers. Either of these actions  could literally put you out of business in a matter of hours – or minutes. This  goes far beyond protecting your own personal credit card information or identity.  This is basically about protecting everything you’ve worked so hard for.  

The average user worries about computer viruses and protecting their identity.  You have to worry about protecting yourself from computer viruses, protecting  your website from malicious acts, protecting your customer’s information, and  

protecting yourself legally. You would be surprised at the number of Internet  Marketers who have failed to take these security measures.  

The average user has the luxury of remaining totally anonymous on the Internet.  The Internet Marketer does not have that option. There is a great deal of  information regarding how to protect yourself from identity theft later, but this is  another reason that Internet Marketers must use even greater security  measures.  

Internet Marketers have information that potential identity thieves want. You have customer names, billing addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. 

You may also have credit card numbers, however, most payment processors are  designed to encrypt that information, and there have been few instances where  thieves have been able to obtain this information through a merchant’s payment  processing gateway. But the other information will give the thieves a head start  regardless of this.  

Aside from your own personal information, a thief or hacker is interested in the  information that you have because of the customer information. Your customers  trust you to protect that information with everything you have, and therefore,  more security is required.  

Then there is the legal aspect of your business. You need a disclaimer so that  customers can’t expect the impossible, or the not-so-average results, fail to get  them, and then turn around and sue you because they didn’t. There has always  been a great deal of hype on the Internet, and now, there are laws to protect  consumers from that hype. A disclaimer is necessary.  

You also need a Terms of Service, or TOS. This serves to protect you and your  other customers. It basically tells customers how they are to behave while using  your site and this is typically more geared to sites that are community based –  where customers interact with each other. Both the TOS and the disclaimer are  covered in greater detail later.  

You also have to protect your rights to any product that you create. This is  especially difficult if you are dealing with information products, and it is a source  of concern for most information product creators.  

You also have to know how to use email properly, so that you not only protect  your email account, but also because you need to ensure that you are following  the law, and not putting your entire business – or your reputation – in jeopardy.  Product rights and the proper use of email are also covered later.  

It sounds like a great deal of work and worry, but the honest truth is that once  you know what needs to be protected, and how to protect it, it isn’t  overwhelming or hard. It is just a matter of doing it. It is also a matter of  keeping up with some basic technology advances, and also keeping up with what  is going on in the dark world of hacking.  

As an Internet Marketer, you have to think about protecting your computer, your  website, and you information much like locking up your store at night and setting  the alarm. Think for just a moment about a physical business. They have a good  

lock on the door. They have an alarm system. They probably have security cameras inside. They may even have a panic button that will quietly summon the police if there is a problem. 

This is the kind of security that you need for your Internet Business – and  without it, you are opening yourself, and your customers, up to a world of  problems. So, now that you know you need the added protection, where do you  start? You start with understanding how to protect your identity, in the Internet  Marketing world where anonymity isn’t really allowed.  

You Can’t Be Anonymous  

Average users do more than protect their computers. They are also taught to  protect their identity. This has a two-fold purpose. First, it protects them against  identity theft, and second, it protects them in the physical sense. Unfortunately,  Internet Marketers cannot be anonymous and expect to remain in business for  long, even if they manage to get their business off the ground in an anonymous  way.  

This is another reason that Internet Marketers have to be even more cautious  than average users – they can’t be anonymous in most cases. Your name will be  out there – hopefully in bright lights – but there is still a way that you can  protect yourself from identity theft.  

While your name must be out there for the whole world to see, this doesn’t  mean that other information must be made available. Most Internet Marketers  are very open about where they are physically located in the world. They have to  be, because the CAN-SPAM act requires that they include their business address  in every single piece of commercial email that they send out.  

Furthermore, you can’t use a post office box. The law requires you to use your  physical address. Most Internet Marketers work from home. What this means is  that a potential identity thief not only has your name, but they also have your  home address. An average user would never throw this information out there in  the public – you are required to.  

So, with your name and address out there for anyone in the world to find, how  does an Internet Marketer protect their identity?  

They do it the same way that everyone else does but with a great deal more caution. Never store your credit card information or banking information online,  for starters. Second, never give out your social security number or any personal information that is not required from you during the course of business.  

Remember that you are already a target because your name and address are out  there. If you keep that in mind, you will find that you are more cautious about  sharing other personal information. In fact, you may be more cautious than the  average user, as you should be, and therefore better protected from identity  theft.  

Finally, always look to see who is looking. While most people are urged to check  their credit report annually, an Internet Marketer would do better to check their  credit report every three months. This way, you will be better able to stop  identity theft before it gets out of hand, and you find yourself in thousands of  dollars worth of debt!  

Start With Basic Security Measures  

Just as average users use basic security measures, Internet Marketers must also  use basic security measures. You should think of this as the foundation for all  other security measures that you may employ for your online business.  

You need anti-virus protection on your system. This virus protection must stay  updated at all times. Don’t take any chances with this. Make sure that you are  running your virus protection at all times, and that you scan your system at least  twice each week.  

You need a firewall. Most systems today come with a firewall as a part of the  operating system. Make sure that you set the security on your firewall to the  highest possible setting.  

You need spyware protection. This is not the same as anti-virus. They are two  totally different things. Spyware protects you from malicious software that can  gather information from you computer system, including keystrokes. Make sure  that you keep this up to date, and that it is constantly running.  

Your system should be password protected. If someone gains physical access to  your system, they can easily install software to log keystrokes, and your spyware  protection and anti-virus protection will not catch it. Use a strong password that  

contains uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers. Do not use common  words.  

Be extremely careful sharing sensitive information through email or instant  messenger. These messages can be intercepted, and the information may prove  valuable to a thief or hacker.  

Make sure that your operating system is always up-to-date. Often, software  makers – and hackers – find holes in the operating system that would allow a  hacker to gain access. When this happens, software patches are created that are  designed to close those holes. You may have noticed that your operating system  updates itself fairly regularly. If this is the case, make sure that you allow it to  continue updating.  

If this never happens, make sure that you have set your options for your  operating system to automatically update. Without these updates, your system  becomes vulnerable. Also make sure that any other software that you use on  your system is regularly updated. The operating system isn’t the only thing that  can leave you vulnerable!  

This brings us to how you use your computer. First, let’s cover downloads. Never  download anything from an un-trusted or unknown source. If you purchase a  product, you can usually download it without a problem. It is the free downloads  that you must concern yourself with.  

Many free downloads contain viruses and/or spyware. If you don’t read the  license agreement that we all agree to, you really don’t know what is being  installed on your system. There may be third party software included that you  weren’t expecting. Take the time to read that license agreement!  

Use caution when opening email attachments. Viruses are typically sent out this  way. Once you open that attachment, if your virus protection does not catch the  virus, you are infected. The only way to prevent this for sure is to not open  attachments at all.  

Of course, since you are doing business on the Internet you will have to open  attachments from time to time. In this case, just make sure that you don’t open  anything that you don’t expect or anything from people that you do not know  and trust.  

Use a pop-up blocker. Often warnings that you have a problem with your system  may pop-up. These warnings almost look like a warning that your operating  system is sending you – but they aren’t. Often, they are malicious ads that will  install software. Do not even click on the close button or the ‘no’ button on these  pop-ups. Instead, just prevent them altogether with a pop-up blocker.  

If your pop-up blocker does not prevent such messages from popping up, press the Ctrl key and the W key on your keyboard if you are running windows. If you are using a Mac computer, use Command and W.  

Beware of phishing scams. These are emails that claim that they are from a  company that you most likely do business with, such as PayPal or eBay. They will  tell you that you need to go to the site, and sign in for some security reason. If  you click the link in that email, you are taken to a site that appears to be the site  that you do business with, but it isn’t.  

The people who sent this email to you are attempting to gain access to your  account with this email and fake website. Look for the signs. First, they won’t  address you by your first name, because they do not know your first name. The  site that you do business with will always address you by your name.  

Second, if you hold your mouse cursor over the link in the email, you will see  that it actually goes to a different URL than the one in the email. This is a sure  sign that this is a fishing email. Third, businesses such as these would never  request you to sign in for security measures.  

You may also receive emails warning you about viruses. These are usually  hoaxes, and should not be believed. They will give you directions to either avoid  the virus or to check for the virus. They may tell you to look and see if a certain  file is on your computer, and in most cases, it will be – because it is an operating  system file. Do not follow these directions. Instead, go to a reputable security  site, such as Norton’s site or McAfee’s site and see if the virus is real first.  

Make sure that you are using anti-spam features that come with your email  client. These will keep you from being subjected to many virus hoaxes and  phishing scams, as well as prevent you from letting potential spammers, or those  who supply spammers with addresses, that you have a live address.  

Often, spam is not a virus or a hoax. Instead, it has a small html graphic that  you can’t see included in it, and when you open the email, the sender is alerted  that they have found a live address. By using spam filters, you will actually be  cutting way down on the amount of spam that you receive.  

If you have a network set up, where you connect multiple computers in your  home together, you need the right router. Outsiders can take full advantage of  your network if you aren’t careful – especially if it is wireless. If you’ve opted to  make files and such available to all computers on your network, those who are  basically ‘stealing’ your Internet connection also have access to your files.  

To prevent this, make sure that your router has a built-in firewall, that each computer on your network is assigned a dynamic IP address, and that you use the security features that are included with your router and modem to keep outsiders locked out of the network.  

As you can see, there is a great deal to securing your personal computer. But  once you are set up with the right tools, it becomes very painless and very fast.  Just as you purchase the right tools for your online business; it is vital that you  purchase the right tools for computer protection as well. This is a business  expense that is vital.  

Above all, just use caution and common sense, just as you do in your life. If  something doesn’t feel right or sound right, it probably isn’t right. If your  computer starts doing weird or unexpected things, don’t assume it is just a  glitch, or that your computer has a mind of its own.  

It could be an indication that a virus, a Trojan, or some type of spyware has  made its way to your system, despite your efforts to prevent this from  happening. The best thing that you can do at that point is stop what you are  doing. Open your task manager and see what processes are running. Make sure  that your anti virus and anti spyware are up-to-date and let them scan your  system. Find out what caused the weirdness and eliminate it.  

Using Disclaimers  

Disclaimers are a vital part of any business. A disclaimer serves to protect you in  the legal sense, and depending on what you are marketing, they relate to the  results that one should or could expect from the use of a service, product, or  method.  

Disclaimers can be used on websites, inside products, and in email. It is basically  a ‘use at your own risk’ statement. Have you read an ebook lately? It probably  had a disclaimer stating that the information was for informational purposes  only, and that the author and/or publisher would not be held responsible for any  results you may receive from your use of that information.  

Failure to use disclaimers can result in lawsuits. Don’t think that this won’t happen to you – it has happened to many others, to the tune of millions of dollars.  

A site disclaimer can entail many different things. First, you disclaim the information, stating that it is for informational purposes only and that you claim no responsibility for the information or your visitor’s use of the information.  You then can disclaim any endorsements that you make of other people’s 

products. Finally, you can disclaim any links that may appear on your website as  well.  

Many people do fail to use disclaimers, because they feel that they are  essentially saying ‘I don’t know what I am talking about.’ This isn’t what you are  saying. What you are saying is that this is what you know, but you are not going  to be responsible for someone else’s use of what you know.  

Email disclaimers also have a variety of uses. They are typically used by  corporations, and may cover topics such as negligent misstatements, entering  into contracts, transmission of viruses, breach of confidentiality, or it may be a  complete disclaimer.  

A complete email disclaimer looks like this:  

“This message may contain confidential information. It is intended only for the  person named in the email. If you are not that person, you should not use,  distribute, or copy this email. You should notify the sender that you have  received the email by mistake, and delete it immediately. We cannot guarantee  that this email is secure or error free. Information could be corrupted, destroyed,  intercepted, lost, or contain viruses. We do not accept liability for any errors or  omissions in this email message. For verification, please contact us at ABC  Company, 123 Any Street, Any Town, Any State, 00000, Any Country,  www.website.com. “  

A sample website disclaimer looks like this:  

“All information contained in this website is intended for general information  purposes only. The information is provided by ABC Company. We try to keep the  information up-to-date and ensure that it is correct, however, we make no  warranties of any kind concerning the accuracy, completeness, suitability,  reliability, or availability of the information contained in this website, or any  products, services, links, or graphics that may be found on this website. Use this  information at your own risk.  

ABC Company will not be held liable for any loss or damage, or loss of data from  your use of this website, or in connection with this website. This includes indirect  or consequential loss or damage.  

ABC Company has no control over websites that are linked to on this website.  Those third-party websites are under the control of their owners, and ABC  Company will not be held liable for your use of those websites. By linking to these sites, we are not endorsing or recommending any information or views expressed in the content on those sites. “  

The above disclaimer can also be used for information products, as long as it is  altered to reflect the product, instead of a website.  

Finally, as an Internet Marketer, you may need income disclaimers as well. An  income disclaimer generally states that any results advertised in your email or on  your site are not to be considered typical, and that you have no control over how  much one might earn from their use of your information.  

Here is a sample of an earnings/income disclaimer:  

“While every effort has been made to accurately represent the potential of this  information/product, ABC Company cannot guarantee how much money you  might earn, as we have no control over your efforts or your use of the  information. Examples and testimonies used on this site are not to be interpreted  as a promise or guarantee of your expected earnings. “  

Disclaimers look fairly simple and straight to the point, and because they are  straight to the point, you may be afraid to use them. Don’t be – instead, you can  soften them a bit, just as long as it is still clear that you are not going to be held  liable for someone else’s use of your information.  

Before you write your own disclaimer, take the time to read those used by other  companies. This will give you more ideas for your own disclaimers, and help you  to write one that covers you from all directions.  

Proper Use Of Email  

The chances are very good that you know how to use email. Email, after all, is  becoming the most popular and most widely used form of communication  worldwide. As an Internet Marketer, knowing how to use email is as important, if  not more important than knowing how to use the telephone. But do you know  how to use email properly?  

Rule number one is to never, ever send out any spam, or anything that might be  construed as spam. Rule number two is to not use your email client to send out  mass email. Instead, use an autoresponder. This way, you won’t bog down your  ISP, who might actually shut you down because you are bogging the system  down.  

Every commercial email must contain your business name and physical address.  It must, by law, have instructions for people to remove themselves from your 

email list. You have the option of including a disclaimer. If you have employees  who use business email, you most likely need an email policy as well. This policy  basically lays out the rules for the usage of the company email system, which  employees are to follow to the letter.  

Do not send attachments in email unless they are expected by the recipient.  Also, run your email – especially emails sent out to an opt-in list – through a  spam checker to make sure that your message won’t hit the spam folders. Make  sure that your virus scanner is set to scan all incoming email.  

Finally, use these twenty rules of email etiquette when sending email. These  don’t relate to protection, but they will be good for your business!  

1. People are in a hurry, get to the point. Emails are not like letters – they  are usually short.  

2. Answer all emails in a timely manner. Make sure that you’ve answered all  of the questions asked.  

3. Check your spelling and grammar. Most email clients include spelling and  grammar checkers. Use them.  

4. To avoid dry emails, make your email personal. Address the person by  name.  

5. Do not attach files, unless they are expected.  

6. Do not write in all capital letters.  

7. Do not use the high priority option, unless it really is a high priority.  

8. When mailing to multiple people with your email client, use the BCC field  instead of the CC field. It is rude to share other people’s email addresses  with others.  

9. Do not overuse emoticons, and take care when using abbreviations.  

10. Do not request read and delivery receipts. People feel that this is an  invasion of their privacy.  

11. Do not forward chain letters, unless you are forwarding it to people that  you know are enjoying them. Be sure to ask first. Never forward virus  hoaxes.  

12.Never reply to spam messages.  

13. Never discuss confidential information in email. It could be intercepted.  Instead, let the recipient know that you have something confidential to  discuss, and either ask for a good time to call, or include your phone  number and state when you will be available for a telephone call.  

14. Always use a subject line that relates to the email message. Don’t try to  fool the recipient.  

15. Make sure that your email is formatted properly, so that it does not break  up in your recipient’s email client. The general rule is 45 to 50 characters  per line, including spaces and punctuation.  

16. When replying, make sure that you leave the message that the person  sent you in the email message you are sending back, for easy reference.  

17. Use caution when sending rich text or HTML messages. Not all people  want to receive these.  

18.Make sure that you are replying to the right person. If the email was sent  to multiple people, you may or may not want to use the reply to all  features, depending on the nature of the email, and your response.  

19. Avoid using words like URGENT or IMPORTANT unless it really is. Don’t  use hype.  

20.Read the email before you send it. Correct any mistakes, and make sure  that it is indeed the message that you want to send. Once it is sent, you  can’t take it back.  

Protecting Product Rights  

The rights to a product are something that most product creators these days –  especially creators of information products – worry about. The Internet offers us  the ability to find any information that we want – that is what it is all about – the  sharing of information. This doesn’t mean that you want to share the rights to  your product.  

The first thing you need is a copyright. Copyrights are used on websites and in  products – and may even be used in emails. Many people mistakenly think that  copyrighting information requires filling out forms and paying fees. This isn’t 

true. The fact is that as soon as you write something down or create something,  it is copyrighted.  

You don’t ever have to fill out a form, or pay a copyright fee, although in some  instances, you may want to. This is typically done for hard copy books, music,  and other creatives – but not usually done for digital products. This doesn’t mean  that it cannot be done for digital products.  

The fastest way to copyright something, however, is to add this statement:  

Copyright © 2007 by Your Company Name  

All Rights Reserved.  

That alone takes care of it, although because the person who first writes or  creates something owns the copyright, it is important that you have some  documentation that indicates the exact date that the product was created, in  case someone tries to infringe on your copyright. Microsoft Word does this.  

You won’t find the copyright symbol on your keyboard. It is created by holding  down the CTRL key and pushing the numbers 0169. Give it a try. It can also be  found in the character map, which you will find under your start button > all  programs > accessories.  

If you have work created for you, it is called ‘work for hire.’ Usually, the law  requires that the copyright is automatically transferred to the person paying for  the work, when the creator is paid for that work. However, depending on whom  you are dealing with, you may want to create an agreement that states exactly  when and how the copyright is transferred to you.  

Of course, copyrighting work doesn’t necessarily prevent others from stealing  your hard work. There are many out there who are not above plagiarism – and  this is a problem.  

You can use a fabulous website called Copy Scape at http://www.copyscape.com to see if others are using your work. This is a free service. If you find someone  else using your work, the first step is to send them an email asking them to  remove the plagiarized work. If this fails, send them a registered letter, via  postal mail. If that fails, you will most likely need a lawyer to intervene, and you  may have to take them to court.  

There are two other ways that you can protect your product rights. The first is a  non-disclosure agreement, and the second is a non-compete agreement. These  are useful when you have other people doing work on your product. They know 

all of your secrets, and without a non-disclosure agreement, they are free to tell  your competitors whatever they want to tell them.  

You can find many samples of non-disclosure agreements on the Internet, for  free. It is a good idea to have anyone who works for you sign an NDA, and have  it notarized as well. While this may not stop them from sharing your secrets, it  certainly gives you more of a legal leg to stand on in the event that they do.  

A non-compete agreement is a little different from an NDA. A non-compete  agreement essentially states that the person working for you is not allowed to  compete with you or work for your competitors for a certain number of years  after leaving your employ.  

These are typically meant for full-time employees. They are not usually meant  for people who do contract work, because it would prevent them from making a  living after their work with you is finished. For these people, and NDA should be  used instead. Like NDAs, non-compete agreements can also easily be found on  the Internet, and you will find links to both in the resources section of this  ebook.  

Other than using technology that prevents people from printing or copying your  work, or prevents them from seeing programming code, this is really all that you  can do to protect your work. Remember the steps for dealing with someone who  has used your work:  

1. Contact them via email. Request that they remove the plagiarized work.  

2. Contact them via postal mail, using registered mail that they have to sign  for, so you can prove that they received it.  

3. Hire a lawyer, and have them contact the violator.  

4. Take them to court.  

Be prepared. Court action is not cheap, and neither is hiring a lawyer. If possible,  work it out without either of these things, and only sue as a last resort.  

Protecting Your Website  

Protecting your website from hackers is crucial – not only for your business’s security but also for the security of your customer’s personal information. 

Hackers know how to break into a website, so to speak, and literally take control  of it, and you have to know how to protect yourself, and your customers, from  such actions.  

Aside from really messing up your site, the most dangerous thing is that hackers  can implement viruses that your customers are infected by when they visit your  site, and they can take control of your email to send out viruses and spam. Both  of these actions can make you liable, if you aren’t careful.  

Start by removing any unnecessary files from your server. Even if the files are  not viewable on your website, search engines can still find them and index them.  That leaves these unused files open to exploitation. Make sure that you are not  removing any needed files, and make backups of those files before you delete  them.  

Keep your other files up to date. This is especially important for script or  program files. Just like operating systems, the creators of these programs and  scripts often update them to work out bugs and close security holes. Failing to  keep your copy up to date is an invitation to be hacked.  

Use a robots.txt file on your server. This file can be used to tell search engines  not to index certain files, and also not to index images. Images can be searched  for, specifically, and this makes it easy for someone else to steal your images.  

If you have databases, scripts, or any other sensitive file, it can and should be  password protected. Make sure that you are using passwords that are not easy  to crack. Files such as these are the ones that hackers really like, so make sure  that yours are protected with a strong password.  

Don’t think that using the script that prevents right clicking on your page will  protect your content. It won’t. People are getting smarter, and they can just as  easily go to their browser window, select edit > select all and then edit > copy  and capture everything on your page. Instead, use a script that hides your  source code completely. Even better than that, use style sheets for your HTML.  

If you left click on each file on your server, you will be presented with the  CHMOD option. This enables you to set permissions on each file, and it is  important that you do so. You can check with your web host or web developer to  find out how the permissions should be set. The options are read, write, and  read – write. This allows some people to only read the file, while others have the  option of reading and writing to the file. Note that changing these permissions  may have an adverse affect on some scripts or programs.  

Protecting your sites email is extremely important. As a business owner, you  probably have opt-in forms and feedback forms on your website. If you ever  receive a strange message from your feedback form, be on the lookout for  spammers. It is best to use a script that hides your email address, or to use an  image for email, instead of an actual linked email address. These two methods  will help to prevent spam software from collecting the email address.  

As netizens, we put our email addresses out there in a lot of ways – and many  times, we don’t even realize that we are doing so. We sign guest books,  participate in forums and newsgroups, and of course we advertise. First, start  using a throw away email account, such as a Yahoo account. Failing that, don’t  put your email address as you@yourdomain.com. Instead, use you at your  domain.com.  

Make sure that you change the password to your control panel often – at least  once every thirty days is recommended. You should also password any folder  that contains set up files, if possible. Some applications won’t work if the setup  files are in a password protected folder, but since most applications no longer  use the setup files, once the application is set up, this can work – and it does  protect your website.  

Is Telnet available for your site? If so, turn it off. Most hackers use Telnet to  connect to what they want to connect to, and to do their dirty deeds – and by  leaving Telnet turned on, you are inviting them to do so. Be sure to ask your  web host whether or not you have Telnet, and if so, how to turn it off.  

Make sure that your scripts are running from the right directory. You will find  that most CGI scripts, Perl Scripts, and PHP scripts are meant to run from the  CGI-Bin. This is because the CGI-Bin offers protection from hacks.  

Failure to protect your website from spammers and hackers can have incredibly  bad results for you. Your site could be shut down. It could be blacklisted. The  entire server could get blacklisted as well. Hackers may steal valuable  information from your site. Repairing damage will cost you in terms of time, and  possibly in money.  

Spammers can use your website to send mail bombs from your domain, to send spam from your domain, and to steal passwords and other private or sensitive information. Always make sure that you are doing everything that you can to protect your website.  

Terms Of Use Or Service  

You have probably become a member or used websites that actually have a  Terms of Use or Terms of Service in place. A TOS, or Terms of Service, is quite  different from a disclaimer. While a disclaimer disclaims, a TOS basically states  the rules of using your site or service.  

There are three main objectives you should have when creating your TOS. The  first is that it must be understandable by the average person. A TOS that is full  of legal jargon probably won’t do you much good. Use everyday language. The  second objective should be to make sure that your TOS is easily found on your  site.  

Many website owners include the TOS when a person registers for the website.  After they have filled out the registration form, they are presented with the TOS,  and it includes a checkbox that says that they have read and understand the  TOS. If the site does not have any type of registration, the TOS may just be  present, but may not require that a visitor gives any indication that they have  read or understood the TOS.  

In the second case, the words used in the TOS become more important. You  must state that just by using your site that the visitor has automatically agreed  to the TOS. Ideally, however, you will require your visitors to give some type of  indication that they have read and do understand the TOS.  

The third objective is to make sure that the TOS covers everything. Remember  that this is a document designed to protect you from lawsuits down the road.  The TOS should state what could go wrong, and what you will not be held liable  for. It should also state how your visitors are expected to behave on your  website. This is crucial for community websites, where customers interact with  each other.  

A Terms of Service agreement is typically used when the website offers some  type of service, other than information. A Terms of Use agreement is typically  used for information only type websites.  

Here is a sample TOS/TOU:  

“By using our website you are agreeing to comply with and be bound by the  following terms of use. Review the terms carefully, and if you do not agree with  them, do not use this website. The terms us, we, or our refers to YourCompany,  while the term you refers to the user or viewer of the site.  

You agree to the terms and conditions as outlined in this Terms of Use  Agreement with respect to our site. This agreement is the entire and only  agreement between us and you, and it replaces any prior agreements you may  have had with us, with respect to our site, products, services, and content. We  reserve the right to change this agreement from time to time, without  notification. The latest agreement will be posted on our website, and it is your  responsibility to review the latest agreement.  

This site is copyrighted by us. This copyright covers all content, organization,  design, graphics, compilations, digital conversion, and magnetic translation that  relates to this site. Copying this website, unless otherwise allowed, is a violation  of our copyrights, and is strictly prohibited. You do not own any rights to any  content on this website, unless it is your own work, such as messages you have  written in our forum.  

Ourcompany.com and others are our service marks or registered service marks  or trademarks. Other product and company names mentioned on this site belong  to their respective owners.  

You are granted a non-exclusive, non-transferable, revocable license to:  a. Use the site strictly in accordance with this agreement.  

b. Use the site solely for internal, personal, non-commercial purposes  c. To print out information from the site solely for internal, personal,  non-commercial purposes, ensuring that you adhere to all copyright  laws and other policies in your usage of that information.  

You are not granted permission to use any information printed from our site in  any type of litigation or arbitration, under any circumstances.  

Your right and license to access and use this site, including any information or  materials on this site, are subject to the following restrictions and prohibitions of  use:  

a. You may not copy, print (except as expressed above), republish,  distribute, display, sell, rent, lease, loan, transmit, or otherwise make  available in any form, or by any means, all or any portion of this site or  any content and materials retrieved from this site.  

b. You may not use the site or any materials on the site to develop any  information, storage or retrieval system, database, information base,  or any other similar type of resource that we offer for commercial  distribution of any kind, including through license, sale, lease, rental,  subscription, or any other type of distribution. “  

As you can see, a TOS can get very long. This sample gives you the basics of a  TOS, and your TOS should be designed to protect you and your site, specifically. 

From here, it may go on to state rules for communicating on the site, and it  should also go on to state how you intend to pursue those who violate the terms  of service.  

Privacy Policy  

While a TOS may be very long and drawn out and very detailed, a Privacy Policy  is typically more cut and dried. You absolutely must have a privacy policy, and  many other sites that you do business with will actually require you to do so in  order to use their service – such as a payment processing company for your  website.  

Here is a sample privacy policy:  

“Thank you for visiting our website. This privacy policy is designed to inform you  how information is collected from our site, and how that information is used.  Please read this privacy policy, in its entirety, before using our website, or  submitting any personal information through our website.  

By using our website, you are accepting the practices described in this privacy  policy. These practices may be changed, and those changes will be posted on  the website. All changes apply to practices moving forward, and do not affect the  policies used in the past.  

The privacy policy displayed here only pertains to this site. We link to other  websites, and those websites have their own privacy policies. Our privacy policies  do not pertain to their website, and their privacy policies do not pertain to our  website.  

We collect personally identifiable information, including names, postal addresses,  email addresses, etc. That information, however, is only obtained by us, when it  is voluntarily submitted by you and our other visitors. If that information is  provided to us, it is done so to help us fulfill your request. The information is  only used to fulfill that request, unless you give us specific permission to use it in  some other manner.  

This site may use cookie and tracking technology, depending on the features  offered. The use of cookies and tracking technology are needed for gathering  information that includes the type of browser you are using, the type of  operating system you are using, and in tracking the number of visitors to our 

site. This enables us to understand how visitors use our site, and how we can  make changes that benefit our visitors.  

Personal information cannot be collected with the use of cookies and tracking  technology. The information gathered from the use of cookies and tracking  technology on this website is used for internal information only, and not shared  with others in anyway that could personally identify our visitors.  

We may share information with governmental agencies or other companies if  they are assisting us in fraud prevention or investigation. We do this when it is  permitted by law for us to do so, or when we are trying to protect against or  prevent fraud or unauthorized transactions, or when we are investigating fraud  that has already taken place. The information is not provided to any company for  marketing purposes.  

Your personally identifiable information that you provide is kept secure. Only  authorized agents, contractors, and employees, who have also agreed to keep  information shared with them confidential, can access this information. Any email  or newsletters sent to you through our website are those that you requested,  and each one will allow you the option of opting out of further mailings.  

If you have problems, questions, concerns, or comments related to this privacy  policy or our website, you may contact us at:  

Our Company  

Street Address  

City, Town, Zip Code  

Phone Number  

Email Address  

We reserve the right to change this policy, if we find that changes are needed or  warranted. All changes to this policy will be posted on our website. “  

Again, you can adopt the privacy policy example to suit your own purposes.  

Overall, as an Internet Marketer, you must view everything from different angles.  You must consider how information can be compromised, and also consider how  your own content and services can be used against you from a legal standpoint.  When you see problems that may occur, it is up to you to implement legal policy  for your site that is designed to protect you – or to implement security measures  designed to protect you and your customers or visitors.  

Online business owners simply must see a bigger, wider picture than an average computer user sees. While you won’t always catch every potential problem, if 

you follow the information in this guide, the chances are very good that you  won’t find yourself in the middle of a legal battle that pertains to your website or  online business.  

Your two main objectives should be to protect yourself, and to protect your  customers!  

This is a “guide” to protecting your business and yourself. The author takes no responsibility and  will not be held liable for any losses. You should always consult a lawyer for professional legal  help/advice.  

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