12 eCommerce Legal Issues to Consider in Operating an Online Business

The following article provides a high-level summary of some key eCommerce law issues online business operators face in running a website or other eCommerce business. Conducting business online or maintaining a website may subject companies and individuals to unforeseen legal liabilities. The following is a brief survey of 12 key eCommerce law issues to consider:

1. Internet Business & eCommerce

A good starting point is analyzing a company’s online presence and auditing their procedures to determine how to grow their brand and online influence. As part of this, the company’s agreements and websites should comply with the myriad of laws and regulations affecting websites and online businesses, such as COPPA.

2. Domain Name Acquisition

Domains are often the key to an online business, but can present a number of problems. Domain name issues include securing a domain name initially, as well as protecting domain names from adverse parties that attempt to trade off the goodwill associated with the company’s brand. Sometimes, the company needs defense, retrieval, and protection of domain names on the Internet.

3. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) Compliance

Companies operating websites, particularly where third-party content may be uploaded directly, should consider adopting agreements and procedures to shield themselves against claims of liability and copyright infringement. This procedure is sometimes referred to as a “copyright policy” or “DMCA takedown” procedure. Compliance with the DMCA can provide the online operator with a safe harbor from liability.

4. Online Privacy

Online privacy continues to become a bigger issue. With the spread of mobile devices, tablets, and apps, privacy issues are becoming more complex. Companies should consider composing or updating their privacy policies as well as adopting internal security protocols aimed at protecting the online privacy of customers and website users.

5. Social Media Law

While a powerful vehicle to build brand strength and interact with customers, social media can create a number of legal issues for online businesses. A social media policy provided to employees as well as guidelines can be effective steps to reduce risk. A few key areas to consider are employment related use of social media, confidentiality, sponsorship, and branding guidelines.

6. Privacy Policies

Privacy policies should not be copied from online templates or rival companies. They should be drafted comprehensively to address unique issues of a specific online business and to accommodate future growth. Whether a company looks to collect analytics or more personalized information, the company should focus on its specific business needs and risk factors. Privacy policies should be updated as a business evolves.

7. Terms of Use Agreements

Terms of Use (TOU) agreements can limit liability for companies that maintain an Internet presence. These agreements should be optimized to address a company’s specific business and should not be simply cut and pasted from the Internet. What works for one company may not work for another company.

8. eCommerce Agreements

eCommerce agreements come in many forms such as licensing, advertising agreements, and payment processor agreements. eCommerce agreements should be drafted to address the primary legal risks involved in a particular eCommerce contract or business transaction.

9. Online Sweepstakes & Games

Online sweepstakes, contests, and games create a number of legal pitfalls. Depending on the sweepstake, contest, or game, compliance with the laws of all 50 states as well as the federal government may be required. Registration in specific states may also be required. Online businesses may benefit from guidance as to whether a particular new initiative is considered a sweepstake, contest, or game.

10. Domain Theft

Recovering hijacked domains can often be difficult and time-consuming. Typically, avoiding domain theft in the first place is much easier than attempting to recover a stolen domain. While difficult, it is possible to recover a hijacked domain.

11. Website Agreements

Website agreements can be customized to limit legal liability and reduce risks of disputes by analyzing an online business’s intellectual property portfolio, business processes, and brand objectives. Website agreements can be used for mobile applications in addition to websites.

12. Impersonation and Username Squatting

Impersonation and username squatting can occur when a third party registers a social media account using someone else’s identity. This can result in harmful posts and information being published in social media. Username squatting can also prevent a trademark or brand owner from controlling their trademark. Typically, registering usernames in advance is the best strategy to avoid impersonation or username squatting.

Instagram: All About Utilizing It for Businesses

Is your brand on Instagram? What are you doing to bolster your brand there? Are you still figuring out ways in which you can enhance your presence there? Today we will be looking at ways in which Instagram can be used for businesses.

Instagram Stories

First things first. Instagram’s “Snapchat-like” stories are the latest buzz in the world of social media. We will talk about that first. Instagram Stories refer to a series of videos and images that can be uploaded to a different feed from your regular one. These stories disappear after 24 hours. Meanwhile, the story continues to be shown chronologically once you add content to it. There is scope to edit your content with fun emojis, finger paint and text. The videos and images on this feed cannot really be liked or commented on but you will be able to send a message from the Stories on the slideshow to your user. You can even share parts of the stories on your regular feed.

Now, the question is how exactly a Social Media Management Company can make use of this feature to improve brand awareness? We will explore how.

Instagram Stories are a great avenue for securing engagement online. Any sagacious advertiser would understand that. Firstly, it can be a great way with the help of which you can give your users a sneak-peek of what’s happening behind the scenes. Talk about weaving stories and there’s nothing better than telling them who you’re – beyond your products or services. Tease them with glimpses of the upcoming changes to your website or introduce them to your team via videos. These are a few great ways in which you can build buzz and engage users.

Instagram Stories render a certain degree of exclusivity to your content. Capitalize on this exclusivity to gain more followers on this platform. Use this platform to secure more registrants for webinars or for Facebook video sessions.

Instagram’s Algorithm: What you need to know

The recent algorithm change introduced by the platform has attracted the attention of B2C businesses. Earlier, your posts appeared chronologically on the feed. In the wake of the change, however, only posts that are likely to garner the highest degree of attention or engagement in the form of likes, comments, and shares, appear at the top. Instagram, from now on, will try to gauge the kind of interest a post will be able to generate. Talk about Artificial Intelligence!!

Businesses, as such, are required to revise their social media strategies because they would want to get their most recent posts appear first. If they don’t then there’s hardly any point of sharing them at the first place. There is a need to respond to this change with marked immediacy. Ask your fans to turn on their notification, use relevant hashtags to attract discussions on recent topics and strengthen focus on the creation of shareable and click-worthy content. Make sure you’re picking the right marketing tools to measure the success of your content- shares, clicks, audience growth, and click-throughs.

Why We Need a Mobile Small Business Portal Website for Future Entrepreneurs

It seems as manufacturing jobs have migrated to other countries and as retail jobs have been slowing due to online sales that more and more jobs are in the service business. Having participated in this sector during my career as an entrepreneur I noticed the need for consultants and advice. When starting a service business there is much to learn and more often than not, you cannot find it in an MBA class. So what is a start-up service entrepreneur to do, considering they will probably start by working out of their home and going to the client’s home or business to do the work?

Well, I believe we need better Portal Websites for exactly this purpose. If someone were to start an online resource like this, I’d sure be willing to help them out and I am sure other veteran service industry folks would also, think how many people formerly of the mobile service business are on LinkedIn? Maybe they can steer interested people to your Blog, writings or offerings – that is if you were to take up the cause and start such a website? Do you have a Mobile Business Portal website now? Do you run a mobile service business and think you could help others across the nation in your sector?

It seems mobile businesses need a lot of back-office stuff (accounting, scheduling, software, routing, incoming tele-marketing) and franchisors of mobile business models need franchise buyers. People getting out of the military are EXTREMELY SUITED towards mobile businesses being ‘take-action’ types and they follow business plans and business models, manuals and instructions well, making them more successful in Biz Ops, Franchises or start-up mobile businesses with the right set of instructions and network behind them?

Most start-up mobile businesses need help and funding, so a portal website could capitalize on these needs? Is that kind of what you are doing? Personally, I have many business plans for mobile businesses, and there are other places to find marking plans, so maybe all of these should be on one website?

Now then, currently, I am retired and not really promoting anything, although I do believe in mobile enterprises due to cost-structure and ROI, just as I like “Internet Businesses” and online retail, it just makes so much sense to me for so many reasons. I’ve put a lot of thought into this whole ‘mobile business” thing over the years, in hindsight of what I had done, and also with regards to all the experiences and success I’ve had doing it. I’d be happy to pass that information on to the next group of entrepreneurs, and I guarantee you, I am not alone.

It wouldn’t be hard for some smart entrepreneur to build such a resource for the millions of mobile business operators in America. Think on it.

How to Manage Your Business While Traveling

Whether it’s following up on work, assigning tasks, checking on your business mail, or just replying to customers, it can all be done from your phone. As a matter of fact, almost anything can get done online, through your phone today.

Yes, it’s that simple. But don’t go running home or rushing off to your next vacation destination just yet! We need to establish how you can get all this done and more without being at the office. Keep reading to find out the key factors you need to consider when managing your business while traveling or being away.

Key Factors to remotely managing your business:

Conduct Regular Meetings:

Everyone doesn’t need to be huddled up in the conference room to conduct a good meeting; you can get remote employees, freelancers, and employees at the office all in the same meeting with just an internet connection.

Now meeting on a daily or even weekly basis can be difficult while you’re traveling because you’re mostly busy and have other things to address. However, meeting with the managers weekly or bi-weekly will reassure your presence in the office and confirm your supervision on all business matters.

You can easily conduct meetings through Skype or Google Hangouts where everyone can see each other and even share files if needed. You can also use Google Slides for presentations or Team Viewer to share your computer screen with everyone for demonstration.

Be sure to regularly interact with your employees no matter where you are and build close relations with them that can evolve into trust. If this is accomplished, you’ll never need to worry about business when you’re away.

Follow-up on Work Progress & Hours:

You being away from the office should never mean work doesn’t get done or is on pause. Technology created a solution for slacking or lazy employees, time tracking software. This type of software allows you to track employees working hours so you will always be updated with who came late or who worked overtime.

Employees will be able to track their shifts, breaks, and leave notes on their work progress.

There are many types of time tracking software, some are essentially focused on tracking working hours like ClockIn Portal that generate timesheets and can be integrated with payroll systems.

Others include a project management feature like Zoho Projects where you can share projects, assign tasks, and follow-up on tasks.

You can also use essential project management software like Basecamp or Asana that mainly focus on getting work done efficiently. Project management software allows you to assign tasks, update them with comments, set deadlines, add attachments, and eventually mark them as complete. With a straightforward tracking method of working hours and work progress, employees will feel obligated to stay focused and get things done faster.

Handle Business Mail Instantly:

While traveling, your mail is something you mustn’t forget about. Neglecting your mail for even a few days can lead to problems. Unattended mail can be important contracts from clients, documents from partners or investors, or feedback from your customers.

With a virtual mailbox, you can take your mail with you wherever you go.

A virtual mailbox is a mailbox that you can access online and handle your mail. The options vary from shredding any document or forwarding packages to opening, archiving, or downloading mail in just a few minutes. Your mail is delivered to secure mail facilities where the envelope is scanned and uploaded to your cloud-based mailbox for you to control.

So not only is it remote access to your important mail, but it eliminates the need for a mailroom! This means lesser paper storage, no mail operators, and faster mail operations, a win-win for you and your pocket.

Now, you’re ready to go!

With your business essentials all in check, you can easily travel whenever needed without worrying about work falling behind or inefficiently managing your business. By following these three factors, you can manage your tasks and still have time to enjoy your vacation!

PostScan Mail guarantees that a future change of address or being away for frequent traveling will not pose any problem. They receive your mail, scan the outside, and alert you online. You can then view your scans and manage your mail and packages remotely through any device connected to the internet. Upon your request, they can scan the content of your letters, shred or recycle the junk mail, forward your items to the address you pick or store your mail at their facility for as long as you wish, all with just a click.