Are You Planning on Opening a New E-Commerce Website?

Are You Planning on Opening a New E-Commerce Website?

There is much you need to know as you begin your new business.  I suggest you do not attempt to write your own legal policies.  This is not where your training and background lie, and though you are probably as smart as an attorney, you do not have their experience.

Below is a checklist for legal issues I use for new e-commerce clients.

  1. 1. Business Model – Is your idea viable as a web based business?
  2. 2. Business entity – Are you going to be a C corp, a sub-S, an LLC or a sole proprietorship?
  3. 3. Terms of Service – This is your contract with your visitors and is the most important item for any e-commerce site. A little work here brings big dividends in the future.
  4. 4. Privacy Policy – Every e-commerce site needs a privacy policy!
  5. 5. FTC guidelines – The FTC has been regulating business advertising for almost a century. All of their advertising guidelines apply to e-commerce sites.
  6. 6. Domain Name issues?  Is your name available?  Can you create a Trademark?
  7. 7. Trademark – Do you have a brand name free from conflict? Should you start with just common law rights? Should you register the mark, and when?
  8. 8. Copyright – If it is on the web, it already belongs to somebody. Did you buy a license for the images you are using?
  9. 9. Do you need a DMCA policy?
  10. 10. Web Site security issues?
  11. 11. Do you need and have an EIN? You can get that for free.
  12. 12. Do you need an arbitration clause?
  13. 13. Do you have employees? – If so you need written policies regarding their authority and use of the internet.
  14. 14. Do you know the difference between a “browser wrap” and a “click wrap” and which do you need?

When I discuss this list with clients other issues arise. Finally, I always discuss with my clients their need for good accounting services. An accountant’s advice as you start up can save you many dollars in tax that you might not save if you wait to speak to an accountant until your first tax return is due.

I hope this list will give you pause to think about those issues for which you might need to seek professional advice.  Feel free to call me with any questions you may have (no charge) and if you like this blog – please share this article with your friends.