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Our 8 Point Guide to Your Website T's & C's

Our 8 Point Guide to Your Website T's & C's

Our 8 Point Guide to Your Website T's & C's

When it comes to producing your website Terms and Conditions the best (and some would say only) approach is to seek professional legal assistance.

However, providing your lawyer with a draft for proofing should be more economical than having them prepare the contents from scratch. But then we are dealing with Lawyers.

HCD Tactic: When dealing with any service provider - Lawyers included - always get a clear indication of time / cost estimates before approving any engagement.
Lawlive.com.au is an Australian website that sells personalised templates of legal contracts and documents, including many relating to website terms and conditions for around $100.00 per document.

If your website is published in Australia you need to comply with current Australian Consumer Laws, and there may also be other industry specific requirements that could cause serious problems if overlooked.

If you're selling products or services online and accepting credit card payments, your merchant facility provider may also have specific requirements relating to the legal information you publish.

So if you're ready to tackle composition of your T's & C's, here's our 8 Point Guide outlining some of the key areas you need to cover...remembering of course that we're not lawyers, and the following is not in any way intended to be legal advice.

  1. Copyright - Australian Law automatically applies copyright to your website and content, but adding a copyright notice confirms this. Apply the statement to everything from the website design, your products, your images and your text content.
  2. Use of Information - Include a disclaimer that protects you against the use (or misuse) of the information or advice that you provide on your website. What you say may not work for everyone, and you can't predict how people may use it.
  3. Customer Returns - If you sell products or services on-line, it is essential that your Terms and Conditions comply with the latest consumer laws. You must include the following:
    • A statement that you comply with the latest Australian Consumer Law
    • The terms under which you will provide a refund, repair or replacement on faulty items or undelivered service.
    • Details of your guarantees.
    • Details of your warranties (if you provide any).
  4. Shipping Policy - If you sell products, and send them to customers by courier or mail, provide a clear outline of the terms of sending goods. Include expected costs and delivery times, your policy for late or undelivered goods, and any responsibilities of the customer.
  5. Industry/Product Specialist Risks - If you are in certain industries, or sell products that have a higher set of risks (like health advise or products for example), you should seek professional legal advice in relation to inclusion of special terms and conditions, such as for example disclaimers that limit claims for possible injuries or losses that may be caused by using any of your products or services.
  6. Amount of Liability - Most importantly, include a clause that limits the amount of your liability from any claims made against you or your business, including a maximum claim amount for damages (the amount paid for the product or service for example).
  7. Terms for International Customers - If you sell your products or services to customers overseas, include separate terms that cover international customers and their consumer laws.
  8. Privacy - Australian Privacy Laws changed in March 2014. Australian Private Sector Organisations are required to have a "clearly expressed and up-to-date privacy policy describing how they manage personal information". While not every Australian website is legally obligated to publish a privacy policy, if you are engaging your audience via interactive functions such as newsletter subscriptions, online shopping systems or even just simple online forms such as a contact form, you'll need to disclose how you manage the personal information you're collecting.

Publishing current, clear, business specific Terms and Conditions that have been approved by professional legal counsel provides peace of mind for your customers while serving to mitigate the risk of legal action and costly penalties and fines for non compliance with your obligations.

For the latest consumer law information, visit the Australian Consumer Law website and for more information about the new Australian Privacy Laws visit the Privacy section of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, or select the link below to download the plain English factsheet.


5 Alternatives to the CAPTCHA test

5 Alternatives to the CAPTCHA test

5 Alternatives to the CAPTCHA test

CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) tests in on-line forms are a frustration, but seemingly necessary to prevent spam and malicious activities. Often it is difficult to read the characters that are displayed, and sometimes require a number of attempts.

Is there a better way to determine if a form is being submitted by a human?

We've put together a short list of some alternative methods to determine if the user is a Bot or a real person:

  1. Hidden form fields - Hidden from the human user using CSS or JavaScript, a Bot will "see" this field and fill it in. One downside is it can create a problem for screen readers.
  2. Confirmation Check-boxes - Like the hidden field, a human can distinguish between "Is a human" and "Is a robot", only selecting one option. Bots aren't able to tell between the two questions and fill both check-boxes, allowing you to reject the submission.
  3. Timestamps on forms - A human takes time to read the form, and fill in their information. A Bot will fill in all the fields much faster. If a form is submitted in under a certain amount of time, you can almost determine that it is from a bot.
  4. Verified Sign In - Require your users to sign into your website beforehand. This allows you to remove the need for any testing as the human user has already been verified.
  5. The logic test - Create a simple logic test like match the colour displayed, or complete a simple puzzle or game that a human could easily solve but a Bot can't determine. This one could also create problems for screen-readers however.

The Beginning of the End for Internet Explorer?

The Beginning of the End for Internet Explorer?

The Beginning of the End for Internet Explorer?

Microsoft developed its Internet Explorer (IE) web browser with the express intention of killing off the incumbent market leader (Netscape Navigator) and dominating the planet - and it did exactly that!

By 2002 of the more than 600 million global Internet Users, IE had around 90% of the market.

Today, according to NetMarketShare, IE still dominates the global desktop web-browser market with a 55% share.

That dominance however does not translate to the booming mobile space where IE's 2.31% share falls well short of Apple's Safari (53.91%) and Google's 2 x mobile browsers - Android Browser (23.44%) and Chrome (12.94%).

Even Opera Mini (3.51%) out performs IE in the mobile browser space.

But IE's future is now even more shaky after Microsoft admitted on Saturday that all versions from IE6 - IE11 have a serious security problem.

According to a Microsoft security advisory, "An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system...could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights."

What's even more troubling is that Microsoft can only resolve the issue for the latest versions of the Microsoft Operating System: Users operating Windows XP or earlier versions have no way to protect against this vulnerability - ever.

If you're running Windows XP or older - stop using IE immediately and permanently!

Microsoft has suggested a couple of steps to take for Users with more recent Windows versions to address the problem until they can resolve the issue, but our recommendation (and that of the Australian Government) is to simply download, install and start using an alternative browser. The two most popular are Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

To e-Mail or not to e-Mail?

To e-Mail or not to e-Mail?

To e-Mail or not to e-Mail?

There's no solid formula for how often to send e-mail marketing campaigns, but here's our guide for optimum message frequency:

  • e-Mail Daily

    Generally speaking a "marketing no no" unless of course your audience explicitly understands they are subscribing to "Daily Deals" or "Daily Tips" etc.

  • e-Mail Weekly

    Weekly e-mail is great for promoting "weekly specials" from high volume retailers and "what's on" from hospitality providers.
    But remember - this is more than 50 direct intrusions into your subscribers lives each year so be very sure you have something new and worthwhile to say each time.

  • e-Mail Monthly to Quarterly

    This is where most professional service providers, business to business providers and the majority of businesses should probably lie.
    Sending marketing messages with this lower frequency keeps your brand in your subscribers minds without over-stepping and should allow you enough time to generate content that sparks real interest from your audience.

  • e-Mail Infrequently

    If you haven't got anything interesting to say - say nothing.
    Send marketing messages only when you've got something of real interest to pass on - a new product launch, a change of key staff, your Christmas trading...sending messages for the sake of sending messages is probably the worst thing you can do.

  • Hub Communications Tactic

    You might consider allowing your Subscribers more control over the messages they receive by offering multiple "areas" or "topics of interest".
    Indicate how regularly messages relating to each area or topic are typically sent i.e. "weekly specials" or "monthly industry news" and let subscribers opt-in (and opt-out) as they wish.

In summary, every business is different, finding the right balance requires testing and measuring... but getting it right can be well worth the effort!


4 Essentials for Planning Videos

4 Essentials for Planning Videos

4 Essentials for Planning Videos

Last month we explained that half of all online customers had more confidence in products after watching a video, and a third bought the product after being influenced by the video. Pretty good reasons to incorporate video into your online shop!

Everyone with a Smartphone or Tablet has a video camera, but like all online content, if it isn't engaging it will just be ignored.

Here's our 4 essential tips to plan videos that will engage and inform your customers effectively...
  1. Know your purpose - Why are you making this video? Are you showcasing your products? Providing instructions to help customers? Maybe something more creative?
  2. Know your audience - Tailor your language and content to your audience. Will they understand technical terms? Do they expect/need to see a full product demonstration? Do they want to hear about the manufacturing process?
  3. Where will you publish? - Youtube is King, but there are other video platforms. Will you publish your videos exclusively on your website? Will you broadcast over many different websites?
  4. Measuring your Results - How will you measure success? The total number of views? How many times your video is shared? Sales generated by your video? What tools will you use?

Consider our 4 essentials when planning videos to enhance your online store...and who knows, you just might create the next viral video sensation!

(Image by NewsbiePix.)