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Link Development Forum

link building & professional negligence?

 1:59 am on Oct 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm doing link building for the site of an acquaintance. the first campaign went well, and now i want to action a second idea...however, I'm not 100% sure if there might be possible law issues attached to creating this content and putting it on his website.

Please, keep in mind I'm probably more paranoid about the law than 99,9999999% of the people out there ;-). I told him about it, and what I think may be a problem (law-wise) with this idea multiple times..and he says go ahead action it (he's fine with it).

But what if I do this, and in 5 years someone has trouble because of that content on his site, he gets sued, and wants to sue me? I'm not even getting money for this, but I assume I did hold myself out to have more than average skill at this, thus professional negligence might apply to myself, too.

How do you link builders deal with it when creating content? I assume none of you likes the idea of being held liable for linkable content you put on a client's site...?

PS: If there's a better forum for this, I wouldnt mind if this thread is moved...couldnt find a better one. thanks!



 2:14 am on Oct 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Are you talking about link bait?


 2:26 am on Oct 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

sorry if I didnt make myself clear..I do mean a linkbait I want to create and put on his website.

Personally, because of being extremely risk averse I probably wouldnt put it on my own site, but the site owner told me multiple times the idea is fine with him.

Now, Im wondering what to do...


 3:26 am on Oct 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

There are many different kinds of link bait, it doesn't have to be false or based on rumors. I was on a link building panel last week at SMX New York with Chris Bennett of 97th Floor. Chris had a great presentation of a kind of link baiting called Infographics. Here is a web page off his site that shows examples of infographics [97thfloor.com].


 10:45 am on Oct 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think this is a misunderstanding martinibuster - this linkbait idea is *not* false or based on rumours :-).

Here is a (very generic) analogy:

Imagine creating a resource page about "food poisoning" and how to prevent it. Not sneaky, but potentially a law risk, in case someone blames you they still poisoned someone's food because your advice didnt work :-)


 4:59 pm on Oct 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sorry, didn't mean to imply you were peddling rumors. But that doesn't change my post. The rest of my post still applies to you. The point is, there are alternatives, one of which I posted a link to.


 5:46 pm on Oct 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

lol Martinibuster, Im so confused right now. My question was really not about linkbait or how to create it, but about the possible *law risk* attached to it....if I create a linkbait campaign for somebody else's site.

In 5 years somebody might come across that person's website, and reads the content of my "how to prevent food poisoning" linkbait campaign from 5 years ago. that person uses the advice, but messes up and ends up in hospital b/c of food poisoning. He sues the site owner who has content about "food poisoning" on his website.

And now im wondering - can the site owner sue me because I created that linkbait campaign (the topic of which is "how to prevent food poisoning in (industry x)"), 5 years later?

Im really so confused right now :D it seems like we're not even talking about the same topic...? maybe that has to do with the fact that I posted a *LAW* question on a link building forum, where you wouldn't expect a law question?:D

Sorry about the misunderstanding, I guess..


 6:00 pm on Oct 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

IANAL, but pretty much anyone can sue anyone else for almost any reason.

So in answer to your question, YES, you could be sued. Just as you could be sued because someone bumped into you then fell down and broke his ankle. The person suing could theoretically sue the site owner, the site's ISP, you, etc.

Even if you are asking if the lawsuit has any merit is rather irrelevant, considering the number of frivolous lawsuits filed every day...

We are not lawyers here, and as you know this is not the place for legal advice (in Link Development or elsewhere). So you are not going to get a definitive answer. And even if you do get any answers here, take them with a grain of salt.

If you are worried about the site owner suing you, then you could try to write some legalese into your contract with him indemnifying you of any liability for your content. For the specifics of that, you'd need to seek a real lawyer.


 8:18 pm on Oct 12, 2010 (gmt 0)



 9:31 pm on Oct 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Makaveli2007, I get what you are saying. Besides the contract LifeinAsia mentioned, I think what you want is business insurance with errors and omissions coverage. And for good measure, if you live in the U.S., have your business structure set up as an LLC or corporation.

Being poor works really well, too. Or you can have all of your wealth in judgement proof assets, like ERISA protected pension plans and a home in Florida like OJ Simpson -



 3:52 am on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

lol@being poor working well ;-)

Im in Germany (not the US)..gonna have to look into this (Im also still a college-student...but obviously better I learn about this now than too late!)

thanks for the input everyone


 3:59 pm on Nov 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

What you need is something along the lines of a "hold harmless" clause in which he agrees to shield (indemnify) you against any claims for your actions. It only works for civil matters (not criminal) but, in the US at least, the barriers against criminal proceedings take a little more than finger pointing to be set into action. I suspect German law has some sort of equivalent legalese.


 9:18 pm on Nov 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

My wife has had a toxic foods for dogs page on her personal website for years. Not a peep has been heard, the domain details and contact info is NOT hidden. Granted not all people hold their 'fur children' in the same regard as their own blood relations.


 9:01 am on Nov 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm not a legal expert, so don't rely on this, but I would have thought myself that a disclaimer would be enough to protect you. Something along the lines of 'use this information at your own risk, if in doubt seek medical advice first' etc - that sort of thing.

Sort of cheapens your content, but I see this on quite a few advice sites in the UK these days.

Perhaps also avoid wording the article definitively - i.e. use phrases like 'many people do this' and 'some prefer that' instead of 'we recommend you do this'.

I would have thought that giving information out with the angle that you are looking to help others make their own informed decision, rather than laying down the law and saying what they SHOULD do, would be enough to protect you.

This is what I'd do if adding this sort of content to my site, and I personally would consider that protection enough, but that's just based on my own concept of responsibility, and the (case) law might be different.


 6:31 pm on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Absolutely aggree with what @FranticFish said.

In short, Disclaimer on the linkbait content coupled with professional indemnity clause in your contract.

( Btw, if your have health related linkbait content adhering to HonCode principles should have you covered to a great extent.)

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