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Feb
11

Blogging on Your Small Business Website: Legal Snafus to Avoid

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Image by Flickr user Bennylin0727 (Creative Commons)

Adding a blog to your small business website is a great way to connect with customers, promote your products/services, and show up in search engines.

Below are points to remember from the legal side as you are blogging:
a. Any promotional information you are sharing should be accurate.  Do not over-promise on your products/services, make misleading statements, or “bait and switch” with offers that have a catch.  Review the Federal Trade Commission’s “Advertising FAQ’s: A Guide for Small Business” to make sure ads and claims on your blog and website comply with the rules.

b. Provide attribution for any content that is not yours.  If you are quoting someone else’s writing, use quotation marks and provide the source.  If you are relaying stats or other information obtained elsewhere, provide the source (preferably with a link) to avoid copyright infringement issues.

c. Make sure you have proper rights to any images you place on your blog.  See my previous post: Copyrights and the Images on Your Small Business Website on this point.

d. Do not bad-mouth your competition (or anyone for that matter).  Making disparaging comments about other individual or businesses on your blog can leave you open to a potential libel suit.  Avoid this, even if the statements are true.

e. In 2009, the FTC issued new guidelines applicable to blogs .  If you are blogging about and endorsing a product that is not your own, you must disclose any connections you have to the seller of the product.  For example, if Beauty Blogger received free facial moisturizer from Company X and writes a post raving about Company X’s facial moisturizer, Beauty Blogger is obligated to disclose that she received free facial moisturizer from Company X.  In her blog post, she would say something to the effect of:

“In the interest of full disclosure, I received free products including facial moisturizer from Company X.”

f. Maintain confidentiality of your relationships with clients and partners.  Even the fact that a relationship exists should not appear in your blog without their express written permission (via email or otherwise).


Happy blogging!

3 comments

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  1. momochii says:

    Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

    1. smlbizlaw says:

      Appreciate the support! We have been trying hard to get noticed by the search engines. If our readers link to the Smlbizlaw articles they like on other sites online, it will surely help our rankings.

  2. buy oem design software says:

    good read. required a lot more photos though.

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