How "Guidelines" Become Law

This article is to help both online business owners, those thinking about selling online AND online consumers! I'm putting to rest some questions and arguments, once and for all.

If you were to start a business down on Main Street, you would - without question - find out what the legal ramifications are, and do whatever is necessary to cover your butt.

I continue to fail to see WHY folks think that should be different if they have a business on the Web. It still seems as if way too many online business owners think they can cut corners just by the very fact that they DO operate online.

This is an erroneous idea that gets people into trouble!

I DO understand you can start an online business for FAR less capital than it takes down on Main Street. This is a GREAT thing for those losing jobs or needing additional income. I whole-heartedly recommend it!

However ... Are you in business - or not? The Web isn't a playpen, and it should be taken seriously if you plan to make a living on it!

Who do YOU do Business With?

Consumers ARE finally becoming more savvy about who they choose to do business with. They look for physical contact information - including a telephone number.

But, they are ALSO learning to look for the legal documents that protect them. True: it's becoming more complicated. At one time, it was mostly just a Privacy Statement they expected.

So many scammers have now brought consumers to the point for knowing to look for more protection. Can you blame them?

I shop online constantly, and you'd better believe I'm VERY careful to be sure the companies I patronize have the proper legal documents! I want to be SURE I'm dealing with a professional - and legal - business!

Which Brings Us to My Point ...

I RARELY join an affiliate program. If I did it for one iCop member, I'd feel like I had to do it for all of them. No time.

But, I DID join the AutoWebLaw Pro program when it first came out. Why? Because this is a product that can do nothing but help every single online business owner!

In fact, it's a NECESSARY product to doing legitimate business online. I truly believe in it for several reasons - not the least of which is the money business owners can save by using it instead of running to a business attorney every time some regulatory guideline changes.

And, by the way, the words "guidlelines" and "regulations" ARE used interchangeably by the regulatory institutions!

In another life, and for 15 years, I dealt with legal documents, and business laws in particular, for the businesses I represented in keeping them out of bankruptcy. There isn't much I don't know about how the legal system works for business.

So, you can believe me when I tell you the documents in AutoWebLaw Pro are TOP-NOTCH. And, I'll guarantee you - I wouldn't promote them for a single minute if they weren't!

It isn't just the current FTC new "guidelines." The AutoWebLaw Pro package is full of more legal advice than you can shake a stick at! All you have to do to gain that advice is READ all the documents.

Now, I know the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), or a similar agency in other countries, isn't going gunning for every small business owner online. They don't have the staff for that.

But, let a couple of consumers report you for something, and see what happens! Once a red flag goes up, an investigation can start while you're blissfully drinking your coffee and counting your money.

You won't know anything about it until someone arrives on your door step with a subpoena!

“Well, (Boo-Hoo) it's only a guideline!”

“Yeah, Pal, it's a guideline today, but as soon as we take you to court, and win - which we will - it sets a precedent that makes it part of the LAW. We refine the “law” as we go along!”

The BASIC law simply says, “No deceptive advertising.” But, what constitutes deceptive advertising is determined by the courts!

You should also know - if you don't live in the USA and your payment processor IS in the USA, all U.S. FTC laws also apply to you. Refuse to comply and you can lose your payment processor!

Two Final Tips

  • Consumers are absolutely RIGHT to look for, and read, legal documents on a website. And, not lay down a single penny until they do!
  • Every online business owner is ALSO an online consumer. Legal documents apply to you from BOTH sides!

How to Get Your Newsletter Read

I'm a HUGE believer in email marketing - always have been. I don't believe it will EVER be replaced - not by blogs, RSS, social networks or anything else.

Problem is, due to the spam filters, things have changed in the world of email. It appears to be very difficult to get your email delivered. It's why so many folks have given up on sending ezines.

BAD mistake!

I learned a couple of things in just one week of using a blog ONLY. I wanted to be able to stop concerning myself with whether every issue got by the spam filters - especially when I refuse to word-check for the ISPs.

When I gave that further thought, I remembered something I already knew. I use an email service that has a 99% delivery. has a reputation with the ISPs that relieves me of that worry.

If I need to make adjustments, Mark McCreary, owner of, lets me know. This man is a pro - not a rinky-dink internet marketer list service. I know it, and the ISPs know it. So, I get delivered.

What Do Subscribers Want?

This is the question that blows me away. I will soon have 11 years of weekly ezine publishing. There isn't much I haven't tried in that period of time, so I feel like an expert on the subject.

I've done multiple surveys on the issue of how subscribers wish to read. When asked, they'll say they prefer to read it online - every time.

However, when given a choice of either reading online, or requesting an autoresponder for the full issue, response level falls off. Usually, only those who want to keep issues ever click for the autoresponder.

But, surprisingly, very few subs go to the website, either. It may be a matter of thinking, “I'll read it when I have a few minutes ...” and we all know how that goes!

Even sending a notice with a Table of Contents - or a “teaser” - via email, with a link to an online version, cuts my response rate.

When given the choice of having the full issue delivered - with a link to an online version - I get the greatest response. Why?

Because, no matter what folks think they want, they are actually most apt to read a full issue once it's put in right in front of them in their email inbox!

I know this for a fact! I can check the site stats and see how few go to the online version, yet my over-all response is greater than any other type of delivery when I just provide a link in a FULL email version of the newsletter.

Of course, I COULD prove that by sending the issue in HTML. Then, I could count how many are “opened.” Even though many companies do this, Mark tells me the ISPs still tell HIM they block HTML at a much greater rate than text messages. So, why lower my delivery rate?

Why did I bother to put up a blog? It seems to have become necessary for article marketing.

When I write the Journal as an email issue, I feel like I'm just writing a letter to friends - because I am. On the blog, I feel I need to write in a more formal manner because of the strangers who will come along and read it.

Four Things to do for Best Response to an Ezine

  • Use an EXCELLENT delivery service with at LEAST a 98% delivery rate
  • Send a full issue via email - in TEXT
  • Add a link at the top to an online version
  • Be personal so your readers will grow to know you
That's it! It IS that simple! You might want to check your text for filter trigger words. But, if you use a reputable enough email service, it isn't really necessary.

Which Brings Us to RSS

I've never had any use for RSS. I've used RSS many times to be notified of someone's blog updates. All that happens is the updates go to my bookmarks.

Weeks or months later, while in the bookmarks, I see the blog has 50 entries I never knew about! They were silently placed in my bookmarks.

Do I read them all to catch up? Absolutely not!

You may have noticed, although everyone seems to have a blog, they nearly ALWAYS send you a direct email when they're selling something. Why do you think that is?

NOTHING beats email for response rate!

Remembering Summer

I had a really neat childhood. My brothers and I went to school in the city, but nearly every weekend, plus holidays and summers, were spent on our beloved grandparents' farm. In the city, I learned to be quite the little lady. But, on the farm, I could just BE. So, I had the best of both worlds.

It's those summers I've been flashing back to lately. I have NO idea why! Maybe, I'm worn out. Maybe, it's one of those, "Stop the world, I wanna get off," things. Maybe we just work too damn hard, and forget to relax and enjoy.

Video Message from the President

Please be careful if you hear about this site. The information in the whois database doesn't look right. It is NOT the address for Network Solutions.

The .com email address doesn't bring up a page. The whois information on that domain is "iffy."

The site also shows a bad certificate. Please do NOT use this site.

I could be wrong but, if it's what I think it is, it's a VERY clever way to get every piece of personal information you have. NO site should be asking you to upload your personal documents!

Better safe than sorry!

Article Copyrights

Creative Commons License
These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
To re-publish articles by jl scott from this site, please include the following byline - with live links - after each article you use.

-----> Begin

* dr. jl scott is the Founder of Chamber of Commerce - on the Web™ - and also the publisher of the Online Business Trade Journal™ - the blog that keeps you up to date with online business coming of age. Visit:

-----> End

Syndicate content

C of C Solutions Web Hosting
"Web Hosting for Online Business Sites"