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Website Assessment Audits


Site Evaluation

□ Target audience?

□ Accessibility to all users?

□ Users in the United States or abroad?

□ Process transactions?

□ Products or services sold?

□ Forms?

□ Enter data or access database?

Domain Names

□ Proper registration

□ Proper entity listed as owner

□ Trademark due diligence

□ Search for “cybersquatters”

□ Using domain brokers

Use of Third-party Trademarks

□ Written permission prior to use

□ Written permission for quotations

□ Meta tags

□ White text on white background

□ Microscopic type


□ Trademark or logo symbols

□ Interstitial notice in terms and conditions

□ Written linking agreement

□ No implicit endorsements

□ No representations about linked sites

□ No framing without permission

□ Written permission for deep linking


□ Development agreement

□ Agreements with independent contractors

□ Employment agreements

□ Other agreements regarding the site

□ Website has right to use content

□ Third-party content providers

□ Photographs

Visitor Uploads

□ Submission agreement

□ Visitor accepts liability associated with upload

□ Chat/discussion room disclaimers

□ DMCA requirements

  • - Permit operator to terminate service
  • - Do not interfere with protection of IP
  • - Agent to notify if infringement

□ File agent name at Copyright Office

Internet Laws

□ Spamming

□ Sales

□ Advertising


Terms and Conditions

□ Accessible from home page

□ Accessible by link

□ Methods to determine visitor assent

  • - Required online registration
  • - Required acceptance
  • - Prominent notice
  • - Basic notice

□ Changes to legal notices

□ Applicable law and venue

□ Arbitration clause

Data Security and Privacy

□ Privacy policy?

□ Accessible from home page

□ Links to terms and conditions

□ Employees follow policy

□ Third-party online privacy certification

□ Agreement with hosting provider

□ Firewall


□ Intellectual property infringement

□ Invasion of privacy

□ Defamation

□ Personally identifiable information

□ Protected health information

□ Personal financial information

□ Misuse of information by site

□ Misuse of information by employee

Additional Concerns

□ Record of modifications to T&C

□ Copyright notice on site


Launching and maintaining a website require substantial background knowledge on the associated risks and limitations. Issues range from evaluating the integrity of prospective domain names and ensuring the integrity of the company’s domain name; using third-party trademarks and linking to their protected sites; and navigating through the vast network of federal and state regulations governing the practice of website development. This chapter discusses some of the main issues to consider in launching and maintaining a website.

While it may seem that many website are relatively straightforward, the reality is that most websites are highly complex combinations of programming and content from dozens of third-party sources. In addition, the website is usually being hosted by yet another third-party vendor. There may also be agreements with a further range of vendors to provide various services in support of the website. Those agreements can range from payment processing contracts to order fulfillment to protection from denial of service attacks.

Key Issues and Guiding Principles

Evaluate Your Website

■ Who is the website’s targeted audience? This audience could be vendors, dealers, resellers, strategic partners, consumers, children, regulators, or search engines.

■ Is the entire website accessible to all users, or is access to certain portions limited to classes of users with varying user rights? Additionally, are the website’s users generally located inside or outside the United States? If outside, can the locations be identified where users outside of the United States (generally) access the site? If so, what percentage of all site users are nonU.S. users?

■ Does the website process any transactions? These may include credit applications, sale of goods, and user registrations.

■ Are any products or services sold or made available on the website? If so, they should be identified. Products or services may include tangible products, insurance, securities, information, and financial services.

■ Does the website use any forms? If so, how does it use forms? Uses of forms could include product ordering, collection of personal information, etc.

■ Does the website enter data into or access a database? If so, does the website owner have the proper licenses to use such database, including tables, table definitions, entry forms, report engines, etc.? Know the location of the database and compile a list of who has access to the database if it is shared.

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