by Lesa Seibert, President, Xstreme Media

Is your website a breeding ground for a lawsuit?  I am sure that your home and landing pages undergo much heavier scrutiny that your Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.  But even though you don't may much attention to this, website visitors, privacy advocates and government agencies do pay attention.

Last week we looked at the need for an FTC Guides Disclosure Policy in relation to blogging, reviewing, etc. for pay by a company.  This week we are going to recap what we have talked about in the last three articles and what is at stake without the proper policies.

With the need for so many different types of documents, it is very tempting, but also risky, to borrow legal policies from other websites.  While it could be copyright infringement, it more importantly is the fact that it is very unlikely that another company's policies will match yours.  Also, since none of these legal documents stands alone, copying can miss important legal clauses designed to protect you from civil suits and even criminal prosecution by plaintiffs and government regulators.

While there is no law requiring a Legal Notice or Terms of Use, these documents protect you and your company.  Likewise, the FTC Guides are not a regulation, but indicate how existing law will be interpreted, so you should consider your disclosures as "insurance."  The Privacy Policy is the one document that is legally required, and also the most likely to trip you up, and cost serious money, especially if you sell products online.  Most merchant services now require a posted privacy policy before they will approve you to take credit cards online.

To learn more about these documents and use a free, interactive tool that will assess your needs based on your marketing practices, visit

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