I need Legal/Business advice for a review site

I started a review site, not too long ago. It’s growing and we’re adding more features and expanding to other areas. The entire site is based on user submissions. ( Amazon does this very well too. ) I write articles about things, but they are opinion neutral, and it’s user who have either positive or negative comments.

Two questions.

  1. Should I .inc the business? I don’t want to get sued by a company with a negative user review. If so, then how do I go about doing this? I already registered a business name, for $60.

  2. Is there something that protects me from getting sued by companies with negative reviews? Reviews are submitted by users. Most reviews can’t be tracked. So if it’s submitted by Jon Doe, it gets posted as a review submitted by Jon doe.

Any advice?

well, seeing as how you’re located in dfgdfgdfg I don’t have any incorporation experience there so I won’t be of much help…

However, if you were located in the US I would probably suggest an S-Corp. Which is basically a corporation filed with a subchapter S election (to keep from being double taxed on the corp level). With an S-Corp you retain basically the same legal status as the corporation being an entity, an you personally are another separate entity, basically either a shareholder of the corp, or an employee, or both.

In normal corporations, the corporation is taxed similarly to how an individual is taxed. They are in essence taxed on their profit. An S-Corp is not taxed. The shareholders, and employees are taxed as normal income. The S-Corp just removes a layer of taxation that in most cases if structured properly can equate to about a 7.5% (legal) break on your taxes.

Filing S-Corp varies from state to state, but in Georgia you can do it for a little over $100 and about 6hrs time (mostly figuring out what needs to be submitted). Or you can pay a lawyer $1k to have his secretary fill out the forms for you and send them in on your behalf.

However being an employee of a corporation does not fully absolve you from legal action. Corporate employees are sued every day over stuff they did on behalf of the corporation.

In your case I would say that at worst you will get a cease and decist. If you want to fight it you will have to hire a lawyer but in most cases publishers just remove the content.

I’m in Canada. :slight_smile:

First, watch out for crappy legal advice on the internet.

The above poster suggests an s-Corp entity, but without knowing your jurisdiction, revenue, or anything that’s a wild suggestion. If you just want protection from liability an LLC might be good, too, but without understanding the specifics of your situation it’s hard to say.

The biggest protection you’ll get from liability is NOT to listen to random people on the Internet for legal advice. Get a qualified attorney in your area and get legitimate legal advice. Or, at least get advice from someone who is thoughtful and careful about giving such advice.

If you want to protect yourself, there is much more than simply forming an entity so that you can shield yourself from liability. Ideally you’d devise a set of clear, well-formed policies that will protect you from liability. Then, take reasonable steps to enforce those policies. Then add a layer of protections (i.e. business entity, insurance, etc.) to help protect you personally if you get into hot water.

Sorry I gave such ‘crappy legal advice’ Sagewing. I assumed that my fist sentence disclaimer would have been enough to let the OP know that the ‘suggestion’ that followed was just that… a ‘suggestion’ for them to look into.

well, seeing as how you’re located in dfgdfgdfg I don’t have any incorporation experience there so I won’t be of much help…

Also, as a side note. It’s just as easy to get crappy legal advice from a lawyer as it is on the Internet. Except lawyers charge $$.

I would STRONGLY suggest that anyone interested in going into business spend some time and educate yourself on the business entities in your area BEFORE you approach a lawyer. Telling someone to visit a lawyer PRIOR to educating themselves is VERY irresponsible.

Personally I don’t know jack squat about Canadian business or law, so you can basically throw out everything I said in my post above.