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Old 03-04-2003, 04:11 PM   #1
cat777
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Default Need Advice

I have several websites - all reflect my personal interests. All are merely web portals with news feeds. All have affiliate ads on them. All are linked to a common message board.

One site is about cancer.
http://www.thecancerzone.com

Apparently someone suggested this site to another site. I got a very stern e-mail from the site owner accusing me of mis-representation and trying to lure people to my other sites via the common message board - implying the sole purpose of my sites is to make money thru affiliate advertising. The guy said I should be ashamed of myself and if I don't cease, he will take legal action.

My site is a .com site, not a .org. No where do I claim to be non-profit or anything of the sort. Does this guy have any grounds to stand on in regard to his threat???

Please advise. Thanks
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Old 03-04-2003, 04:47 PM   #2
Jan

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Hi Catherine and welcome to the "village"

I am curious as to what sort of legal action this guy intends taking? From what I have read here, I don't think he has a leg to stand on.
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Old 03-04-2003, 05:02 PM   #3
cat777
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He didn't specify what type of legal action. This is what he said:

"As a founder of a very legitimate cancer support group where I work with and watch people die of cancer I am appalled by your actions and will not sit idly by and let you do this.

I have notified the owner of 4webs.biz as I fully intend to stay on top of this and am fully prepared and without question willing to turn this into a legal issue if you continue this practice of mis-representation.

I believe everyone has the right to try and make an income and do not prejudice you for trying, I do however think you have crossed the line in this case. Short URL's and a script pulling search results from DMOZ.org do not justify a legitimate organization. I would love to review your 501 (c) 3 status, can you politely point me to government agency that afforded you this classification?"

Of course, I do not have a 501 and never claimed to :-)
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Old 03-04-2003, 11:27 PM   #4
Jan

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I have just looked up 501 (c) 3 status as I had no idea what it was (being Australian)

http://www.joshuaventure.org/resources/501c3.html

I don't think you have a lot to worry about with this guy, but I will leave it to the smarter geeks to add their 2 cents worth

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Old 03-05-2003, 12:50 AM   #5
Ted S
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While someone could question the morality of your website (I suppose), there doesn't seem to be any legal issues that I see. Clearly you are claiming to provide links and resources related to cancer but not information from a doctor, not a cure and nothing of a medical nature yourself. Additional disclaimers may be good but since most of the links are external, who knows.

The entire idea of being a non-profit (501-c 3) is almost irrelevant here -- you could be an incorporated company with a stated goal of profiting from a web portal related to cancer and still be fine. There is no law saying you can't make money off providing information nor is it illegal to profit from something another person feels is not to be profited from. And of course, a non-profit has nothing to do with making money... it simply deals with the company's profits and corporate budgeting... CEO's of major non-profits make millions so if you were a non-profit, making money would still be legal provided you followed the IRS non-profit rules.

As far as I can see this guy is either mad that you're making money off cancer as it upsets him (this is understandable although from what I saw of your site, it doesn't look like you're trying to trick cancer patients or provide some false sense of being more than the portal you are) or he has a competitive site or interest and wants your user audience/ profits himself.

Of course there is always the risk he has some other legal issue he's bringing up so checking with a lawyer never hurts. Personally I wouldn't worry about it much... if he wants to sue you for mis-representation then he has to claim you represented yourself as something you are not. From what I saw you only claim to be "Outstanding Resource For Cancer Information
100's Of Cancer Related Websites Links
Live Feed Daily Updated Cancer News"

Since you provide links to hundreds of cancer sites and a new feed nothing seems false or misleading and thus it just seems like a moral objection.
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Old 03-05-2003, 08:24 PM   #6
cat777
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Thanks for your replies. I didn't really feel I was doing anything wrong, but wanted second opinions :-) I wrote this guy an e-mail back and told him "I'm not the evil person you perceive me to be...." I explained that the affilaite ads are a joke as I've made a total of $13.95 generated by the astrology site.

I also looked at his site and he has a lengthy paragraph about needing donations as it costs money to support a site (hardware, computers, hosting etc etc) - so I asked him why he thought I was any different than him in regard to that. His site may be supported by donations - mine is from my own pocket really.

I haven't heard back from him. :-)
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Old 03-06-2003, 06:11 AM   #7
Jan

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Let us know if there is any more hassles with this guy. Were there any problems with 4webs.biz, or was that just scare tactics on his behalf?
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Old 03-06-2003, 09:55 AM   #8
cat777
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No problems with 4webs.biz. I e-mailed him and showed him a copy of the e-mail I received. He was a little worried as he said he has run into these kind of people before and has had his site shut down by his provider because of them.

He gave me some options - move the site or pull the ads & disconnect the site from the message boards.

I had my "Advertise on this site" button removl and replaced one ad with a button linking to more cancer info. But that's all. I also had an argument with friends who said they could,'t believe I was giving in to this guy. But really - I prefer the cancer site to be either ad free or have ads related to the topic. I don't have this board to make money - but because I personally know too many people with with, or dead from cancer..

Anyone who knows me knows that - this guy does not know me :-)

Again, thanks for your help & interest. I'll keep you updated if anything else happens.
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