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  1. Collapse Details
    Is providing free services through a website a business?
    Hi,
    I dont have a business today and am not planning to get into one for at least couple of years. (Yes for sure after that)
    However as of now, I want to host a website to provide services to people free of charge (e.g. craigslist when it started). There is no source of income whatsoever from the website and am just doing it beacuse I want to contribute as of now and hopefully make the website popular.

    Will doing this be considered getting into business? Am concerned that I require something to be done by law in doing this

    Would be xtremely grateful if someone gave me some info/links to help me here.

    Thanks
    A


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    It probably depends on what services you intend to supply, and then of course, the definition of 'business', which is not precise.

    For most of the common online services though, there is certainly no specific legal pre-requisite to register (at least in most territories), if that's what you are concerned about. However, always be aware that any trading relationship can go askew, and so certain steps are advisable for your own protection.


    "gave me some info/links"

    Please note that we do not allow links to be posted on the forum. In fact we delete dozens of spam links every day.


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    Thanks for replying.
    So here is a scenario. Lets say I work on a website similar to craigslist where other people can meet for trade. Somewhat similar to this forum website here. So I am not earning anything in doing this.
    I do not have any trade partners. Am just providing a common ground for people to meet.
    So what things should i consider before getting into this venture?
    Thanks


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    You don't need any sort of business permit to run a web portal... at least not in countries like the US, UK, etc.

    Things to consider? It depends on what sort of website. If you mean a forum based site like this, a few things off the bat:

    - Find the right niche for you... one in which you can offer something that people will be interested in and that you can contribute to

    - You need traffic. That can be hard, but if you are an authority in a niche it makes it easier

    - Make sure you get a stable host, that you take backups regularly, and that if it is serious business that you have a backup host (or co-location).

    - You will need time to deal with spammers and link droppers. This forum for example has to delete dozens of messages per day, from people who just drop their links and add no value to anyone.

    - You can set up a site for next to nothing. I'd be inclined to just dabble and try it out, rather than develop grandiose plans up front. Consider it a learning phase.

    I hope this helps.


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    Thanks its certainly helpful to know anything on this. Will work on something and once have something ready will be glad to make it publicly available to you and maybe more people for feedback.
    Cheers!


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    Offering services free of charge is certainly a business model.

    However you will need some sort of funding, so I suggest using Google adsense or if you're in the US Yahoo Publisher Network to generate revenue from your website.


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