Legal Pages You Need for Your Websites
Dotting the I's and Crossing the T's With Some Essential Page Content.
Paul Smithson - 25th December 2008
The Internet is moving away from the free-for-all days of old and moving towards a much more
regulated environment. The reason for this is simple. In the early days the Internet was like a virtual Wild West,
where pretty much anything went. Those days are long gone. Online business is booming and it’s essential that laws
are put in place to protect both the buyer and seller from unscrupulous behavior.
From an Internet marketer’s perspective there is an increasingly long list of documents that
they may need to include on your site if you are need to meet the regulatory needs of the country in which you are
based or the areas in which you carry out your activities. Some of these are covered below, but what you need to
meet your legal requirements may vary from what is listed here and so it is highly recommended that you hire a
lawyer who is experienced in the field of online business as they will be able to advice you on exactly what you
need, and create the documents for you.
Terms of Service (TOS)
The TOS is a document that explains the rules and regulations for using site, amongst other
things. Basically, you’re asking your visitor to accept these terms if they are going to make use of your
The TOS will include information about copyrights for materials and images used, discuss
trademarks of your company’s products, disclose ownership of the site, offer licensing restrictions, make clear any
age requirements for use of the site, and state your liability terms.
information collected by your ISP, financial information for billing purposes, and email and contact
You need to let people know what information may be collected and how it will be used. People
want to know if their contact information will be sold to other people, for example, and they’ll look here to see
what your policy is regarding this situation.
Your disclaimer protects you from anyone claiming you guaranteed their success or specific
results with your product. For example if you have a product that helps them to start an online business you need
to make it clear that you cannot guarantee that they will earn specific amounts or if it is a weight-loss product
you are not claiming that they will definitely lose as much weight as the examples you may have used on your
The three documents mentioned above are the ones you will see used most frequently. There may
well be others that relate to your particular marketplace.
The use of these documents varies from country to country and even state to state, so don’t
forget the advice about making use of a good lawyer who has expertise in this area and, ideally, your particular
One final word of warning. Using these documents isn’t just a way of you meeting your statutory
legal obligations (i.e. because the law says you have to use them) it’s a way of covering yourself in the event of
legal action. The last thing you need when you are starting or running an online business is a long and drawn out
legal battle that could have been avoided had you used the correct legal documents right from the
About Paul Smithson - Paul Smithson is the founder of Intellimon and the
driving force behind the best-selling XSitePro web site development tool. Since graduating in Business Strategy and
Direct Marketing from two of Europe’s leading business schools, Paul has set up five multi-million dollar
companies, one of which is now owned by the BBC. His areas of expertise include business strategy, e-commerce,
on-line and off-line marketing, software development, and maximizing the potential of on-line
For more information about this, and many other Internet Marketing-related topics,
visit Paul Smithson's site, www.xsitepro.com.
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