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Legal Considerations of Reviews

By Erin | January 26, 2009

The other day on Twitter, @RobertHill tweeted a link to the following story on AOL Small Business regarding a lawsuit brought against a blogger.

It reminded me that I had a similar article queued up in my blog drafts. This one may be even scarier for affiliate marketers when it comes to potential liability.

I see also Alan Bechtold has blogged about the pervasiveness and persistence of our online communications. A hastily crafted tweet written in frustration or misunderstanding can have you regretting it over and over as its replayed in cyberspace with each new search hit.

Having recently read the excellent Launch Your Own Affiliate Review Site Monopoly by fellow software developer and recognized expert on the topic, Stephen Carter, I was curious to hear what he had to say about the issue. I wrote him and he kindly provided the following commentary.

I think the average blogger, or online reviewer, is more likely to get struck by a car than get sued for anything they say online. But if you stick your neck out and say that some business is a scam, instead of saying that you feel like you got scammed by that business (big difference) then you make yourself liable for your comments.

Libel laws protect businesses and people from having damaging non factual information about them spread around. So to cover yourself, just don't assert anything you cannot prove. You can always get your message across if you have had a bad experience. You just have to frame it as an opinion. I don't think you can be sued for having an opinion, though you can still reap a lot of bad juju for announcing ideas that others find offensive.

Of course, that's the layman's approach to this issue. Lawyers always have the last word.

Like I said, I really respect Stephen, and encourage you to check out his thorough and cogent book, which also includes his review site software.

[[T_F]]Data Leak Prevention - Data Security Solutions - Information Theft Protection, Detection and Prevention Software Productstracefusion_signature=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[[T_F]]

Topics: affiliates, books, reviews, software | 0

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