If you’re selling products or services, there are certain rules and regulations that you must abide by, whether they are set by the company for whom you distribute products, platforms that you use to advertise (like Google or Facebook), or governmental agencies.
There are rules governing: Advertising, Trademarks, Copyrights, Testimonials, Website Content…TaJust to name a few… ; )
Here’s The Bottom Line…
You can’t afford to get caught with your pants down when marketing online, the stakes are too high.
Don’t believe me?!?
Your website may be seized by the US Government, you can be subject to enormous fines by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), or you can be the subject of a costly civil lawsuit.
Well, I have clients that have paid in excess of $100,000 BEFORE setting foot in a courtroom.
First, A Little Background…
Many of you know that I’m an attorney.
But did you know that due to requests from my friend, Jim Yaghi and my husband, Rich Hazlett, I spent months researching the causes of the infamous Google Slap, poured through the pages and pages of advertising terms and conditions and the FTC guidelines?
In doing so, I noticed a trend.
The US Government and their respective regulatory agencies like the FTC have one concern:
Protecting the American Consumer from YOU!
Why does the government feel the need to do this? 2 reasons:
1. The government knows everything… (LOL!)
2. The government thinks American consumers are idiots and can’t decide for themselves what is and is not good for them.
The Government believes that American consumers are too foolish to realize that work from home opportunities carry some level of risk.
…That just because one person made $200K in a month doesn’t mean that they will experience the same result.
…That just because one person lost 100 lbs in 3 months, that they may not achieve the same results.
…That the amount of money you make online is dependent upon your skills, effort and the value you bring to the marketplace.
…That consumers have to be blatantly TOLD that someone may make money off of a recommendation they make on their website because they’re too stupid to figure that out on their own.
… That if you sign up for a monthly membership site, your credit card will be charged, um, monthly.
As a result, the FTC is coming down hard on online marketers.
If you aren’t aware of the FTC’s regulations (or if you’re aware of them, but not abiding by them) then you’re putting your business at risk.
And if you don’t have a separate business entity, you’re putting your family at risk by being personally liable for any fines, etc. that the FTC or other agencies may see fit to impose.
This is very serious stuff.
If you think that you need to be making a ton of money to be sued, you’re sorely mistaken.
Ask the 16-year old sued for millions of dollars by the recording industry for file-sharing…
Another reason that you need to abide by rules and regulations is to ensure you aren’t jeopardizing your business relationships, which can result in your distributorship agreement being terminated, or you advertising account being suspended if you’re a Pay-Per-Click marketer.
Why do companies have certain rules in place with respect to their distributors or advertisers, for example?
Businesses like to avoid getting cross-ways with the Government
Agree with me on that one? Hope so! ; )
I believe that this is the reason that businesses (like Google, Facebook and others) are not going to let their customers jeopardize their business by doing things that the government does not approve of or believes may “mislead” the American consumer.
(Yes, regardless of how much money an advertiser spends with them!)
Don’t believe me? Try advertising prostitution on Google….
Point is, they want their customers (advertisers) to act in a manner that won’t hack off the government and its army of federal regulators.
As a result, Facebook, for example, does not allow ads:
“where a business model or practice is deemed unacceptable or contrary to Facebook’s overall advertising philosophy.”
How vague is that? Think that at some point, Facebook could find Network Marketing as an unacceptable business model?
I think it’s definitely a possibility.
In fact, Facebook does not allow ads for:
“Get rich quick and other money making opportunities that offer compensation for little or no investment, including “work from home” opportunities positioned as alternatives to part-time or full-time employment or promises of monetary gain with no strings attached”
How many network marketers are trying to run ads that talk about alternatives to part-time or full-time employment? Or money-making opportunities offering compensation for very little (or no investment?)
Too many to count, that’s how many!
The sad thing is that most people haven’t bothered to learn the “rules of the road” when it comes to this new world of Internet Marketing.
As a result, another crop of marketers will be sent to the Internet Advertiser’s Graveyard.
The Rules of Internet Marketing are Changing.
If your plan is to have a sustainable online business, you must start paying attention to the guidelines, regulations and laws that govern your online marketing efforts.
If not, you may find all of your hard work circling the toilet bowl.
You cannot build your business on a foundation made of quicksand.
Honor Thy Rules & Regulations!
- Protect yourself by making sure that you have an appropriate liability safeguards in place (by not conducting business in your personal name);
- Protect yourself by having the appropriate legal disclaimers on your website;
- Educate yourself about the applicable rules pertaining to online marketing;
- Most importantly protect yourself by becoming familiar with the applicable advertising platform guidelines if you are running pay-per-click advertising
- Keep in mind the overly protective government when advertising online.
Most of all, remember that honesty and transparency are two essential keys to staying safe in this new online world.
If you would like to learn more about the legal land mines that exist online, check out this complimentary 60-minute webinar presentation to discover the 8 mistakes most internet marketers make online that can cost them a fortune!
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