Category Archives: eCommerce

Can You Get Your Customers to Agree Not to Provide Negative Reviews of Your Business?

shhh stock-footage-shhh-girl-puts-fingers-to-lips-shallow-depth-of-fieldSetting aside for a moment whether you should ask your customers to agree not to provide negative reviews of your business as a business practice (that is a discussion all its own), the question before us is whether such an agreement is likely to be enforceable as a legal matter.

Our last post discussed the issue of online defamation by non-customers and what can be done about it. Now we are going to address your ability, as a business owner, to prevent customers from providing negative reviews of your business by getting them to agree not to do so.

Non-disparagement Clauses

This type of clause is called a “non-disparagement clause” and it is fairly common in settlement agreements in connection with litigation and  in agreements relating to the purchase of a business (asset purchase/stock purchase agreements). It goes something like this:

Party A agrees not to make any disparaging statement, either orally or in writing, regarding Party B, the business, products, or services of Party B, or any of Party B’s shareholders, directors, officers, employees or agents, especially its lawyers, who all Parties agree are most excellent.

Okay, so I made that last clause up, but the rest of it is fairly typical of such agreements. Again, these clauses Continue reading Can You Get Your Customers to Agree Not to Provide Negative Reviews of Your Business?

Who Doesn’t Love a Contest?  Step Right Up! Don’t be Shy!

Cards by Steve A Johnson via Flickr Some Rights Reserved
Cards by Steve A Johnson via Flickr Some Rights Reserved

Are you considering running a promotional contest for your business through a social media platform? Excellent! What fun! Who doesn’t love a contest? You’ll just want to be sure the contest doesn’t cause your business more trouble than it’s worth. And, really, it shouldn’t – as long as you play by the rules. Continue reading Who Doesn’t Love a Contest?  Step Right Up! Don’t be Shy!

Online Privacy, Do Not Track, and the “Post-Cookie” World: New Guidance from the IAB

115562673_03b7fceea6_nEven as website owners and operators struggle with how to comply with recent changes to the law governing Online Privacy Policies, changes to the underlying technology are in the works, bringing about the so-called “Post-Cookie World” and begging the question of how to adapt your online privacy policy to meet this new technology. I won’t pretend to understand the intricacies of cookie or post-cookie technology; my concern is drafting online privacy policies for my clients that adequately address whatever technology is currently in vogue and understanding just enough of it to do so.

In an effort to understand the underlying technology just enough to be dangerous (and glean some drafting principles that may follow from it), I recently came across guiding principles for developing cookie replacement technology published by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (“IAB”) entitled “Privacy and Tracking in a Post-Cookie World.” In developing its guiding principles, the IAB begins by “Imagining a world where HTTP cookies were never invented” and suggests that, in developing alternatives to the cookie for tracking consumers, it is important to bear in mind what the consumer wants.  In my experience dealing with regulators who have no concept of something being outside their regulatory authority (particularly with consumers complaining to them), the IAB is correct that a proactive approach could keep the regulatory wolves at bay: Continue reading Online Privacy, Do Not Track, and the “Post-Cookie” World: New Guidance from the IAB

Matching Farm Product Supply and Demand is Easier Than You May Think

The specialized farm-to-consumer marketplace is growing in popularity, but both farmers and consumers still sometimes have difficulty finding each other. Direct marketing through farmers markets and local word-of-mouth is one way to for producers and customers to match up.  FarmMatch.com is another way.

FarmMatch.com is a map-based online matching service that helps buyers and sellers of farm products in the U.S. easily locate one another, providing free advertising for those selling farm products (including farms, buying clubs, farmers markets, and restaurants) and allowing consumers to locate and communicate with multiple providers regarding the products they want to purchase. Because it is map-based, it is easy for consumers to find local producers. Continue reading Matching Farm Product Supply and Demand is Easier Than You May Think

Quick! Your Online Privacy Policy May be Out of Date

privacypolicyIf you have a commercial website and have not done so already,  NOW is the time to update your company’s online privacy policy. WHY? Because January 1 was the effective date of amendments to California’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“OPPA”); these amendments require additional information in the online privacy policies of covered websites.

But, but, but, I’m not IN California!

Good for you! But that is not how we determine whether OPPA applies. It does not matter where YOU are located – what matters is whether  you collect personal information about California residents who stumble across your commercial website.

How do I know if the law applies to my website?

If you operate a commercial website and collect “personally identifiable information” (PII) about consumers through your website, OPPA applies to your site unless you ensure that PII is not collected from California residents. Good luck with that.  Continue reading Quick! Your Online Privacy Policy May be Out of Date