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Due Diligence - Step 1 - Examine The Site
By Steve Shubitz & Detective Thomas Shilling

The Internet is a dangerous place full of hucksters and scam artists. If you fail to perform your due diligence before you engage in commerce, you will (not if) be a victim. Want to join and or start an affiliate program? Purchase goods or service? Subscribe to an email list? All commerce on the net requires a close examination of the site before you jump in.

This is the first step, which is often overlooked. Not a drive by quickie, but a detailed look. A close examination of a site will often yield areas of concerns, which I like to call red flags. To many red flags and it's time to leave. A small number of red flags don't always mean trouble.

Taking a close look - Exactly what to look at if you plan to:

1. Join and or start an affiliate program.
2. Purchase a site.
3. Purchase goods and or services.
4. Subscribe to an email list.
5. Purchase virtual or dedicated hosting.
6. Create a business that generates a profit in a moral and ethical manner.
7. Seeking advice from others. Paid or free.
8. Hire an employee.
9. Hire an independent contractor.

Key: Yes is good. A no answer is a red flag.

1. Does the site look professional?

2. Does the site work properly? Do all the pages and graphics load properly?

3. Does the site have a Privacy Policy, About Us, and a Terms and Conditions page? Are these pages full of useful information? Pay careful attention to the About Us page. Do you see a street addresses and or phone numbers? The more information the better.

4. Read the Terms and Conditions page twice. Does it contain any unusual terms? Do you understand it? When in doubt, don't join the program and or launch your own, untill you have a crystal clear understanding. Visit our geek/talk Forums for help.

5. Right click on the home page and view the code. Do you see other company names in the code that are different from the site? Do you see key words that have nothing to do with the site?

6. If the site has an Opt-in email list, do you see a link to opt-out?

7. If the site is US based (use Better-Whois to see), do you see a COOPA statement?

8. Does the site load in a reasonable time?

There are about 14 potential red flags in this procedure. If you have the opportunity to talk with the site owner, you might wish to raise these red flag issues in a civil and respectful manner. Sometimes, issues slip through the cracks. Other times, you will hear less than candid answer or perhaps no answer. We hope you enjoyed this article.

Read Due Diligence - Step 2 - The Whois Records

This article is ©2002 by Perfection. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form is prohibited.
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