Don’t Be Naive! Check Out Potential Joint Venture Partners!

    May 8, 2000

If you have very little internet experience, it’s important to find someone you trust that *does* have experience online to help you with your idea development. Doing business online is very different than offline. If your idea is something that could easily be adopted and developed, obviously you need to protect the idea from an unscrupulous potential partner.

One important thing to do is to always find out as much as you can about those you are dealing with online. Anyone can take on a persona of the “good guy” through e-mail. Take a look at their existing web site if they have one and look for five things.

1) A posted privacy policy that states clearly how they will treat any information gathered from the public. This won’t address *your* potential relationship with them, but strict privacy policies indicate that a site owner takes privacy seriously.

2) Check to make sure they post complete contact information on their site, including phone numbers, snail mail address and names (not just titles).

3) Go to network solutions at and type the domain name into the search box there. This returns contact information on the registrant of the domain. Be sure to use this exact URL by cutting & pasting in your browser “address” or “location” box.

4) Look for “seal” program logos on their site such as the BBB Online program The Better Business Bureau, or any other type of quality monitoring program implemented on their site. There are many to chose from as a site owner.

A few others are:

the Trust-e privacy seal Health on the Net Foundation Excellence Honesty Ethics are the credo of this organization International Webmasters Association “Pro Ethics Pledge” Association of Ethical Internet Professionals

There are many more professional organizations that monitor privacy and professionalism online. Just check into the actual membership of the organization to be sure the site is listed as a member and don’t take the seal itself to have any meaning.

5) Be certain to find references and speak with them. Find out how the person is perceived within a community of professionals. If you have a million dollar idea and don’t follow through on checking out your potential partner, it could cost you a lot of frustration and possibly a lot of money!

If you do a bit of research on your partner prospects, it could be more valuable to you than any amount of money and success with your ideas. Joint venture deals often lead to additional projects and inevitably generate more great ideas.

Mike Banks Valentine operates SEOptimism, Offering SEO training of
in-house content managers
as well as the Small Business Ecommerce Tutorial at and blogs about SEO at
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