Ensuring that you have strong foundations before you make a start.

It is imperative that you undertake some basic research before launching any new business or offering and that is no different for when you are launching (or updating) your online presence.  Before you press the “Go” button, there are a few very important factors that you should consider first:

  • Is your business name available?
  • Is your preferred domain name available?
  • Are your preferred social media handles available?
  • Are you offending someone’s trademark?

Basic research at the outset will help you to avoid potentially costly mistakes and great time and effort in unwinding your marketing and business efforts.

Website terms.

Nowadays, almost every business has a website – which means that each of those businesses need a set of website terms of use.

Website terms of use set out the rules for those who visit a website.  They include how users can use your website, including what conduct is prohibited and which will not be tolerated – this can prevent abusive users such as spammers, those posting defamatory content etc.

Most importantly for businesses, website terms of use generally include disclaimers and limitations of liability to protect the business should something go awry.

Each business needs its own bespoke website terms of use… “one size fits all” does not apply here!

  • The website terms of use should be drafted to reflect:
    • the type of business which is conducted on the website (for information only vs online shop vs public forum);
    • the pricing, payment, delivery and refund policy (where the business sells goods);
    • the disclaimer of particular statements or opinions proffered on the website;
    • the rights of people using the website; and
    • your rights in respect of the website content – protect your intellectual property!

Where the interaction between a business website and its users is complex, the website terms of use need to include detailed provisions around:

  • the website’s information and content;
  • representations and warranties and how users should use information included on the website;
  • appropriate limitations of liability – including for outages;
  • a limitation of liability with respect to third party links; and
  • the right to terminate a user’s account or access rights.
Privacy policy.

All businesses captured by the Privacy Act must manage personal information in an open and transparent way.  This includes having a clearly expressed and up-to-date Privacy Policy about how it collects, uses and manages personal information and making that policy available free of charge and in an appropriate form (usually on a business’s website).

While small businesses (with a turnover of less than $3m) are not required to include a Privacy Policy under the Privacy Act, it is good business practice for all businesses to include a Privacy Policy where personal information (such as names, addresses, dates of birth, credit card details etc) may be provided by website users.

Remember, privacy is not about secrecy… it is about being transparent about how you handle personal information and giving individuals confidence that it will be managed securely and appropriately.  Once you have a privacy policy in place, make sure you do what you said you would do.

Understanding the legal framework applicable to your business in an online environment is imperative to all business owners.

We at Cross the T can help you review your current practices and recommend improvements.

If you would like to discuss this topic, please click on the link to have a free no obligation meeting with Tania White.

Free consultation with Tania

Post by Cross The T
July 28, 2022