Is Rank and Rent Legal? (Take Note)

Yes, rank and rent is a perfectly legitimate and legal business model. No worries there. However, as with any new business, I can tell you there are some factors you must consider before jumping in.

These just fall under the bucket of common sense, but it’s easy to get excited and overlook these, especially if you’re keen to get started and make your first website – or dollar! You’ll sleep better if you tick all these boxes though!

Liability for Customer Complaints or Accidents

This is the main one you need to factor in. If a customer is unhappy with a service provided by the business renting the website, or if an accident occurs at the business, it’s important to have clear messaging specifying that the business owner, not the website owner, is liable.

I do this by having both a disclaimer AND a terms and conditions / terms of service page on my rank and rent sites. It clearly states that in the event of any dispute or complaint, the customer must liaise with the business owner to resolve it, and that all contracts exist only between the business owner and customer.

Pro tip: add a check-box to your online inquiry submission forms! You can do this quickly and easily with Contact Form 7, which is what I use. It works perfectly because you are literally having the customer agree to the above terms (and more) when they submit an inquiry.

If you offer phone inquiries only, you can make it clear to them these terms exist when you speak with them.

Read more  Getting Started With Rank & Rent - Update 1

Simple! Oh, and I ran the gist of my terms and conditions past an actual lawyer/attorney too. He said they were fine ๐Ÿ™‚

Finally, if you have a contract with a business owner (I know not all of you will have something written down), you may want to reference these terms within the contract. But the main consideration is on the customer side.

Transparency and Disclosure

The website should clearly disclose that it is a lead generation site and that the business is renting the site. Hiding this fact could be considered deceptive. The site should also have a privacy policy and terms of service that are compliant with relevant laws.

Compliance with Search Engine Guidelines

While Google doesn’t have specific rules against rank and rent, the website must still comply with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines around things like cloaking, thin content, and link schemes. Violating these could result in the site being penalized or banned by Google. You know the story here – or at least you should!

Compliance with Local Business Regulations

The business renting the website must comply with all relevant local business regulations, licenses, and taxes. Goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway!

So yes, fear not – rank and rent is a legitimate business model, but website owners need to be diligent about protecting themselves legally. Having solid terms and conditions, maintaining transparency, and ensuring compliance with relevant laws and guidelines is key to mitigating legal risks.