Making money selling online
Commentary on how website terms conditions help to make money online
The different ideas for websites through which there is some sort of buying and selling taking place is only limited by the imagination. The terms and conditions for each website idea will be different.
A decade ago If you had claimed it was possible for the average person to start a business and within a few years that same business be turning over millions of pounds you would have been laughed at. The Internet changed all that. There are countless entrepreneurial Internet millionaires who have become multi-millionaires in a relatively short period of time through e-commerce. The majority of e-commerce entrepreneurs in the European market that we have knowledge of are from China. But US, British and other European entrepreneurs are also turning huge profits from trading online.
Here are just a few of the creative business models that entrepreneurs are using to make money online.
Creative ways to make money selling on-line
– Web aggregator
This is where a website combines niche content from lots of other websites on a particular product or service. So you could content aggregate deep sea diving holidays at extreme locations. You then charge the consumer to use your service to tailor their deep sea diving holiday. Alternatively charge a subscription fee for the user. Alternatively, you could charge the niche deep-sea diving holiday companies a commission fee every time you send them a client. You also have advertising revenue, sponsorship revenue in-fact there are several other types of revenue models available to the web aggregator. Price comparison website are good examples of web aggregators.
– Web portals
This is where a website brings lots of information from different sources in an organised way. Search engines were the earliest examples of web portals. Later marketplaces for particular products or services like portals for builders, architects, schools, gaming, virtual reality spaces, social media networks (which are really just evolved web portals) to name a few emerged. Again the revenue models for web portals are numerous.
Websites that sell products to consumers are ecommerce websites.
Websites that sell products or provide services to consumers or other businesses are classified as e-businesses. B2C for consumers and B2B for businesses. An online marketing and lead generation business that sells information, white and green papers to other businesses is an example of an e-business.
These are Online Service Providers. They are also referred to as internet service providers or trusted service providers. They are within the e-business classification. However, they deserve their own unique classification because they are facilitators. By that it is meant that they host, cache, store, index, transmit and otherwise facilitate electronic business but are not actually involved in any of the content creation for the websites. Obviously they provide products and services to consumers and businesses. They sell and in some cases resell technical services related to enabling internet activity – like web-hosting, domain hosting, wholesale broadband, proxy servers, domain names etc. They do not get involved in monitoring content.
– Online auction
An online auction website is a service in which goods or services are sold to the highest bidder via the Internet. Online auctions enable buyers and sellers to virtually trade goods and services in different locations or geographical areas around the world.
How website terms help to make profit selling online?
Returning to website terms. There are several different ways to deal with these depending on style. The crucial thing is that they are expressed clearly and that they are incorporated into a binding agreement with whoever you want to do business with – whether the consumer or another business.
– Simple model
For consumers some of the most important issues are cancellation rights in different jurisdictions. For simple e-commerce models some types of good and services are automatically exempt from certain requirements. The rest must comply with the “cooling-off period” that provides cancellation rights for consumers within a specified period. In the UK it was seven days and it’s now fourteen. It is crucial to know if your model has to comply or if it’s exempt.
– Resellers and international traders
If the business model means that you are being supplied with products from International suppliers with strict accounting periods, then it is crucial that you get specialist advice. This problem could be worse if you are in turn supplying consumers and businesses worldwide.
– Other complex models
Unfortunately, it is impossible to give a clear answer on cancellation rights without analysing the business model. Generally, If the sale was directly between the consumer seller and the consumer buyer then there is no requirement to provide a cancellation period. Also if your involvement was purely to pass the money between the buyer and seller then you would not have to provide a statutory cancellation. However, there are certain circumstances that would mean you were subject to cancellation rights. You will need to get specialist advice.
Guaranties, Warranties, Claims procedures
Another important issue are warranties on your products. If you are going to issue warranties and guarantees’ then they must be legally compliant. You will require specialist advice on this particularly if you have worldwide suppliers and world-wide customers that have different consumer laws.
If you are buying and selling online to either consumers or other businesses using any above website business models or any other models specialist legal advice is crucial. If there is one issue that you should consider above all else it is that the consumer or business you are dealing with must be bound by your terms and conditions. The challenge is that you must demonstrate that the consumer must have been aware of the terms and conditions. Bear that in mind in your processes and you will be on the right path.
To book a face to face consultation for commercial legal advice relating to selling online you should contact a specialist website terms lawyer (charge rates may apply and may vary).