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  1. #1
    Member geoffmarcy's Avatar
    Join Date
    July 6th, 2005
    Toronto, ON
    Working with Younger Affiliates...
    Does anyone know if there are any legal issues working with potential affiliates in the United States who are between the ages of 13-17? I'm asking as an aff manager for a Merchant, and for a CPA Network. Does anyone out there have any experience working with teens? In this case (which is my first), they have provided their Tax ID along with the application.

    I think there will be more and more younger publishers on the web as time goes on and I think there are some opportunities to work with them. We just want to make sure its okay to do so from all angles.

    Last edited by geoffmarcy; March 13th, 2007 at 10:44 AM.
    [B]geofferson marcy[/B]
    [I]affiliate manager[/I]

  2. #2
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    May 31st, 2006
    Houston TX
    I think the stand rule applies.

    They are minor. They cannot be held liable if $hit hits the fan. In most states, any contracts between you and the minor will NOT hold up in the court of law. Which mean, you are liable.
    So if they are doing PPC and they are out by $5k, their parents can come after you.

    IMHO, I would play it safe and not push the envelope.
    But if you have time to reasearch the state and federal laws, you might find a loop for some states.

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
    Join Date
    August 18th, 2006
    Washington, DC
    Or get the parents to cosign any contracts. The minor can't enter into legal agreements but the parents can.
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager

  4. #4
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    There are several issues that come up when working with minors and young adults.

    (1) As noted, a minor cannot be held to the terms of a contract. In most cases, this isn't a huge issue since merchants rarely seek to "enforce" a contract against an affiliate. However, this could be a huge issue if you seek to enforce an "indemnity" or "attorney's fees" clause when you are sued by a third party based on the minor affiliate's conduct.

    (2) There is some risk that a minor (or his family, or a government agency) might take action if a company is perceived as "taking advantage of" the minor, by obtaining labor without proper compensation. This probably isn't a huge issue with most affiliate programs, but it's more likely to be an issue if your program makes "get-rich-quick" or "easy money" claims, or if you're actively encouraging your affiliates to spend money on advertising to promote your company's products.

    (3) Personally, I think the biggest issue is the risk to YOUR company of the damage that can be done by reckless affiliates. Minors, and many young adults, often don't clearly understand or obey rules and restrictions. (Asa teacher, I said, "that's a teenager's job -- to test limits and learn from the results.")

    A perfect example of this is "affiliate recruitment." Over the years, I've worked with many clients who all had the same "great idea" -- hire college students to recruit prospective affiliates, and pay them some amount per new affiliate enrolled or activated. However, despite very specific training and instructions against spamming, some of these "kids" always get lazy and break the rules and start spamming, and the company gets the punishment. For ten years, I've always told my clients not to do this, and quite often, they've later told me, "I wish I'd followed your advice."

    Merchants engaged in some kinds of affiliate programs should take special care when working with younger affiliates (or offshore affiliates, or others who may not feel bound by rules or regulations).

    This is certainly true of "nutriceutical" merchants whose affiliates may assert medical claims for products that are not permitted for the merchant or the merchant's agents (and trust me, the FDA and FTC and product-liability lawyer are all going to insist that the affiliate is your "agent").

    The same may be true for other "regulated" or "adult-only" businesses (most obviously gambling, tobacco, and alcohol, but also mortgage-lending, credit-reporting, credit-repair, and college-loans), who must take extra steps to avoid "unethical" affiliates who might (for example) provide tips on how to break the law.

    Please don't get me wrong -- teens and young adults can be a great asset as members of your "sales team." Just be careful.

    I earned very good money as a teen salesperson (door-to-door sales of Christmas cards, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, and later selling costume jewelry at flea markets). I also lost money but learned some very valuable lessons running my own CB radio business during high school. (I suppose this "dates" me, both because I mentioned CB radio and because we'd never let our teens do the same work unsupervised today.)
    Last edited by markwelch; March 13th, 2007 at 01:32 PM.

  5. #5
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Does anyone know if there are any legal issues working with potential affiliates in the United States who are between the ages of 13-17?
    And how about the moral issues?

    I can't even imagine how any ethical merchant will be thinking about getting involved with minors, when most 13-17 years old kids don't even really understand shit about life yet.

    But if I read it right, your question is from a merchant of a CPA Network?

    No wonder there is a lot of heat lately on the forums talking about CPA Networks.

    What benefits can a CPA Network have by working with potential 13-17 years old kids?

    I might be wrong but, according to all the negative the things I have read about CPA Networks, the first thing that comes to mind, is that they might just want to use those kids to spam the hell out of everyone they can, and when the shit hit the fan, then blame it on those kids for doing the spamming and whatever else will came up later.

    Let kid's be kid's!

  6. #6
    Classic Rocker Mack's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 27th, 2007
    Lower Left Coast
    Quote Originally Posted by geoffmarcy
    Does anyone know if there are any legal issues working with potential affiliates in the United States who are between the ages of 13-17?
    You would have multiple sets of laws to deal with. Federal, State, and local. The only way you could be safe would be to hire a lawyer from each jurisdiction. Is it worth it?

    I could list 100 reasons why to not deal with minors. I can't think of any good reason why I would want to.

  7. #7
    Yup, Sure ... now let me check ... Cagles Mill's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    The Midwest
    I know that you can't sign up with CJ unless you are at least 18. I don't know about the other networks. My daughter started trying her hand at this a few years ago and we ended up having to open up a CJ account for her in my wife's name.
    Rick M.
    I would rather have a bottle in front of me, than have a frontal lobotomy!
    Does your bubblegum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight?

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