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  1. #1
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    Is it legal to have a job and have websites of your own?
    In the USA is it legal to run affiliate marketing websites and also be working for someone (full time) at the same time even if you never talk about your aff sites or never do any aff related work during work hours?

    What if the employee is also an affiliate - say company xyz hired me but prior to them hiring me, I was (and still am) an affiliate of xyz?

    What about other cases?

    Can people get fired if someone discovers they have an affiliate site and didn't disclose it?

  2. #2
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    No.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    I dont' see where legalities would have anything to do with this.
    Sure, it's conceivable that you could get fired for working as an affiliate of the company you're employed by. That would be totally dependent on your employer.



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  4. #4
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    Your employer may have a provision in the employment agreement with you that prohibits you from doing work outside of the company.

    IF you work in the affiliate marketing department of xyz and also act as an affiliate of xyz there is obviously a conflict that could result in termination.
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  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 25trees
    In the USA is it legal to run affiliate marketing websites and also be working for someone (full time) at the same time even if you never talk about your aff sites or never do any aff related work during work hours?

    What if the employee is also an affiliate - say company xyz hired me but prior to them hiring me, I was (and still am) an affiliate of xyz?

    What about other cases?

    Can people get fired if someone discovers they have an affiliate site and didn't disclose it?
    Not knowing the specifics of your situation, in general a firing for doing something else on your own time (as long as you are not using employer resources or competing with your employer) would likely not hold up in court. Then too, it would be dependent upon whether you have an employment contract and what the stipulations of the agreement are. For instance, if I worked for Microsoft as a Windows developer, they might require that I could not operate an internet business on the side that competed with MSFT or their programs.

    If you have any doubt you can always contact your local labor board.
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  6. #6
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    Thank you for your replies.

    I've signed up with almost all affiliate networks, and merchants and have a few sites and they're doing ok so far, earning about um $5 to $10/month for about 3 months because they're all new and there's so much more to learn about affiliate marketing.

    Sooner or later, I'll have to make a decision of whether to continue with affiliate marketing or go back to work for someone.

    I guess before I sign an offer letter I would have to close all my affiliate network accounts and websites and only restart them after employment because almost all employers don't allow outside businesses and it would also increase the number of employers I could apply to.

  7. #7
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 25trees
    because almost all employers don't allow outside businesses
    I don't think that's true at all. Especially in today's economy, large numbers of employees have second, and even third, jobs, and employees operating businesses on the side has always been a common practice in some industries. Even in the medical profession, it has always been a a reality that doctors moonlight in emergency rooms nights and weekends, and in law enfocement, police work private security, some with their own companies, on their off time.

    It talks more about second jobs then about employee businesses, but this article discusses today's realities, and mentions that in 2007 4.17 million American employees had a second job to pay expenses. On the other hand, To make your startup a success, keep your day job directly discusses operating a side business while employed.

    I'n my old "office" days, I knew a secretary who ran a jewelry business, a lawyer who ran a real estate business, another lawyer who was a general contractor, a paralegal who was a real estate developer, yet another lawyer who owned and operated a motion picture production company, and a human resources dept head who ran a door-to-door sales company, all on the side, plus untold numbers of secretaries, paralegals, clerks, receptionists, etc., etc., who were, at the same time, actors/singers/screenwriters, all of whom if not performing, were auditioning and/or writing, while employed.
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  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Agreed Hound. If an employer has such a requirement it would most likely appear in an employment agreement and / or employee manual.
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  9. #9
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    What AffiliateHound says makes a lot of sense, thanks for the links.

    Working for an employer I'm an affiliate of is something I wouldn't feel comfortable with, I'd just have to take the time to check I'm not. I guess I would have to stay away from companies in the affiliate industry and publishing companies also otherwise it might be a conflict of interest or competition of some sort.

    There are a lot of companies that don't participate in affiliate marketing that I could apply for.

    I would hate to throw away all the work I've put in to the sites.

  10. #10
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    For me the key would be if you're working in the affiliate industry and the channel you're working with is similar to a merchant's product that you're marketing. So if you're marketing software on your site and you're working for a company in the affiliate industry that also deals with software merchants/products I would stop marketing that channel on my site.
    You'd gain information about marketing in that channel that would give you an unfair advantage.
    Other then that, nothing is stopping you for having a night job aside from your regular job.
    I do believe that many affiliate networks, merchants, etc. do place restrictions on an employees affiliate paractices if they conflict with their employer's business relationships.

  11. #11
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 25trees
    In the USA is it legal to run affiliate marketing websites and also be working for someone (full time) at the same time even if you never talk about your aff sites or never do any aff related work during work hours?
    The way I see it, once you really get deep involved on affiliate marketing, you can be on a paradise island without any means of communications to the main land, and be actually doing affiliate marketing at the same time.

    So as long as you're not using any of your boss computers and or, your boss time, to check your stats, or even look at your sites, I don't see anything illegal on that.
    Quote Originally Posted by 25trees
    What if the employee is also an affiliate - say company xyz hired me but prior to them hiring me, I was (and still am) an affiliate of xyz?
    Just tell your boss about your sites during normal conversations, and that way you can be getting what we call "the world of mouth" way, to get new visitors to your sites

    Quote Originally Posted by 25trees
    What about other cases?

    Can people get fired if someone discovers they have an affiliate site and didn't disclose it?
    If you do the things the right way, I don't think that any boss you have can fire you!

    But... and this is a BIG BUTT...

    It's 2:00 am right now here on my computer, so I can only mention two examples that comes to mind at this time, on where you might get in on hot water, if you're working for anyone else while you are doing some extra curricular job on the net, at the same time.

    Case in :

    1 - A couple of weeks ago, a judge on the USA got in trouble when someone discovered that he had a website about (you can search for that info yourself, I am not going to tell you.) something that was bias about a case that came before him.

    2 - If your sites are not "Made In China" or, a similar country, then you should not worry that much.


    Disclaimer: I don't work for anyone but myself , so what I have just posted may or may not apply to you.




    So just think abou it!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bibby
    For me the key would be if you're working in the affiliate industry and the channel you're working with is similar to a merchant's product that you're marketing. So if you're marketing software on your site and you're working for a company in the affiliate industry that also deals with software merchants/products I would stop marketing that channel on my site.
    You'd gain information about marketing in that channel that would give you an unfair advantage.
    Other then that, nothing is stopping you for having a night job aside from your regular job.
    I do believe that many affiliate networks, merchants, etc. do place restrictions on an employees affiliate paractices if they conflict with their employer's business relationships.
    Good point. I haven't created a niche site yet, the sites are generic, there are many generic merchants too.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Sal
    Just tell your boss about your sites during normal conversations, and that way you can be getting what we call "the world of mouth" way, to get new visitors to your sites
    Nice advice, the above is a bit dangerous though, depends on the type of boss. If the boss is the owner of the company then s/he will be furious. It's just better to keep personal matters to ourselves at work - I got that tip from a book -corporate confidential.

  14. #14
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 25trees
    Nice advice, the above is a bit dangerous though, depends on the type of boss. If the boss is the owner of the company then s/he will be furious. It's just better to keep personal matters to ourselves at work - I got that tip from a book -corporate confidential.
    25trees, the best advice I can give you at this time by the way I see you're posting is this:

    Just follow your gut's and do what you think is best for you, who knows...

    Maybe one day you can tell your boss the same thing I toll my last: Take This Job And Shove It !

    But just make sure that you have enough saved before you do it, because this internet thing it's not that easy anymore, unless you know what you're doing.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Sal
    25trees, the best advice I can give you at this time by the way I see you're posting is this:

    Just follow your gut's and do what you think is best for you, who knows...

    Maybe one day you can tell your boss the same thing I toll my last: Take This Job And Shove It !

    But just make sure that you have enough saved before you do it, because this internet thing it's not that easy anymore, unless you know what you're doing.
    Thanks for the encouragement.

    I don't mind working for a bad or a good boss.
    I just feel that it is fair to run a side business especially when employers can terminate anyone's job at any time for no reason. There's no job security. But it's all not one sided, employees could terminated their employment too which is not fair for the employers.

  16. #16
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    Do you have a contract with this employer? Is there any language in the contract relating to a "non-compete clause?" If there is then you might have a problem. And if you do have a contract, and there is a non-compete clause, then you should have required a stipulation that pre-existing relationships are exempt from that clause.

    IANAL.

  17. #17
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    Thank you for your reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea
    Do you have a contract with this employer? Is there any language in the contract relating to a "non-compete clause?"
    I remember vaguely that the non-compete clause is almost always there in an agreement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea
    If there is then you might have a problem. And if you do have a contract, and there is a non-compete clause, then you should have required a stipulation that pre-existing relationships are exempt from that clause.

    IANAL.

  18. #18
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Also, for government-related work, there may be regulations concerning your use of your position for outside gain. This would not be a law, but a regulation that could result in your termination if violated.
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  19. #19
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    You do need to make sure that there is no conflict of interest between your web sites and your day job. Often that is pretty easy, but I have found occasionally that the two things clash.. for instance, you might come across information in your day job that would be useful for your affiliate sites, but you shouldn't use it because it is privileged information from your day job.

    To be honest, I think that most employers are more worried about the crap that employees might be putting up on Myspace or Facebook to worry about a professional website.

    Certainly there is nothing in principle that is unlawful about doing both, unless of course you have some restriction in your contact or terms of employment. Just remember to declare everything at tax time and you should be OK.
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  20. #20
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    I think that most employers are more worried about the crap that employees might be putting up on Myspace or Facebook to worry about a professional website.
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  21. #21
    Member niche's Avatar
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    Hang on a second guys
    He needs to see what his company says about employees being affiliates as well.
    There are so many laws covering so many things, you really need to check the fine print for yourself

    Quoting the comments on this site is no defence in court, remember that
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  22. #22
    Affiliate Manager PaulS's Avatar
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    The general consensus seems to be... it depends.

    1. It depends on if your employment contract has any retrictions about outside work / secondary income.

    2. It depends on if any of the affiliate work you are doing would be considered competitive to your employer or a conflict of interest (for example, If you are an affiliate of XYZ and are hired by XYZ, then I would highly recommend stopping any and all affiliate activity for company XYZ and competitors of company XYZ).

    3. It depends on if your affiliate work could have any negative impact on your ability to perform your job to the best of your ability.

    I, personally, don't think you need to stop performing your affiliate activities while you are looking for employment, but - if you're offered a position - then take a long hard look at the details of the position and make your judgements about changing / ending your affiliate activity then.

    I'm not sure if this is any more or less helpful than the above posts, but thought I would chime in anyway...

    Paul

  23. #23
    Affiliate Manager PaulS's Avatar
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    One other thing I should add, albeit a bit dark, is that if you do directly violate your employer's Non-Compete clause (e.g. by promoting a direct competitor on your website), than not only could this be cause for termination, but you might also be liable for what your employer might consider "lost revenue" based on you using information gleaned from your employment to promote a competitor.

    AKA - there is the potential that they could sue you.

    This is rare, but - again - depending on the circumstances, a possibility.

    Which is another reason I think we all agree that you should remove any direct links to your employers and their competitors from your affiliate program, if you decide to continue.

    Paul

  24. #24
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    The question is this "is it legal?" In almost all circumstances you can think of, the answer is "yes".

    But if the question if "does this violate the terms of my contract?" then the answer is "maybe".

    Perhaps the real question should be "would it be unlawful for my employer to penalize me for running my own website?".
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  25. #25
    Outsourced Program Manager Sarah Bundy's Avatar
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    Just a piece of advice for your piece of mind: If it is legal but you still feel like it's wrong, it's not worth torturing yourself over it. Depending on the type of site it is, you could just put it on hold for a bit or ask someone else to oversee it until you're not at that job anymore (on your own terms).

    Based on experience, when I feel like something is wrong with what I'm doing I stop doing it. If you don't feel like someone is going to 'catch you' and it is legal then go nuts

    Good luck.

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