Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

by 87 replies
Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

I know that tons of people use pen names when writing articles and there are plenty of people that use pen names on their sales pages when selling products on Clickbank etc.

Does anyone know if it is legal to use and sign your sales page with a pen name?
#main internet marketing discussion forum #fake #legal #pen #products #sell
  • Profile picture of the author BloggingPro
    Well since people are allowed to sell printed books using a pen name I don't think its illegal to sell a product under a pen name. I know if you want to accept payments via PayPal online you better use your real name, because if anything goes wrong its going to be hell.

    When I promote affiliate products I always use a pen name, but my check is made to my real name. When I sell an IM product I use my real name.
    • Profile picture of the author Big Money
      Originally Posted by BloggingPro View Post

      Well since people are allowed to sell printed books using a pen name I don't think its illegal to sell a product under a pen name. I know if you want to accept payments via PayPal online you better use your real name, because if anything goes wrong its going to be hell.

      When I promote affiliate products I always use a pen name, but my check is made to my real name. When I sell an IM product I use my real name.
      I sell all of my products through Clickbank so Paypal isn't an issue.

      I know that very famous people do sell actual books in stores using pen names.

      I just didn't know if there was any way that it could be misrepresentation or fraud.
  • Profile picture of the author Rich Struck
    No you will go to jail.
    • Profile picture of the author Big Money
      Originally Posted by Rich Struck View Post

      No you will go to jail.
      I'm not sure if you're being serious or if you're joking, but I know that big-time marketers like Frank Kern and Eben Pagan do it. I'm not saying it's legal, I'm just saying they do it.
    • Profile picture of the author alcymart
      Originally Posted by Rich Struck View Post

      No you will go to jail.
      Yep, you don't pass Go, and straight to Jail! LOL

      Bernard
  • Profile picture of the author johnny_h
    Pen names can be an acceptable thing given one consideration: are you using the pen name to defraud or deceive the party you're selling to? If the answer is no (and in almost every case it would be) then there's no problem. If you are, however, then that would be fraud.

    A good example would be if you were publishing a book or article about politics under the name Bill O'Reilly, it could be construed that you were cashing in on the real Bill O'Reilly's fame by tricking buyers to think the book was written by the actual celebrity. You'd also get a lot of heat from O'Reilly's lawyers because I'm sure he's filed a copyright on his name...

    But, for everyone on here, for the most part, there should be absolutely no trouble using a pen name.
  • Profile picture of the author lawsonms
    This is a little off the subject but it is against federal law to register a domain name using a fake name.
  • Profile picture of the author Headfirst
    You have to register a DBA (Doing Business As) with your county. Then you can receive payments under your nom de plume.
  • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
    If it were a crime, then 'Betty Crocker' would be on the FBI's 10 most wanted list.
  • Profile picture of the author Mark Jordan
    Any financial transaction like selling, trading, buying must be made using your real name otherwise you can be prosecuted for fraud if anything goes wrong with the transaction.

    I think you can go to your county courthouse and file a DBA (DBA means "doing business as," and allows a person to legally do business under a different name/Assumed Name. It normally costs $4-20 to file one depending on the location.
    • Profile picture of the author Big Money
      Originally Posted by Mark Jordan View Post

      Any financial transaction like selling, trading, buying must be made using your real name otherwise you can be prosecuted for fraud if anything goes wrong with the transaction.

      I think you can go to your county courthouse and file a DBA (DBA means "doing business as," and allows a person to legally do business under a different name/Assumed Name. It normally costs $4-20 to file one depending on the location.
      You may not know the answer to this but if I file a dba and sell under the dba do I then have to have the money going into the bank account under my dba name or can I use my real name bank account.

      I would hate to file a different dba for every niche and then have to also open a different bank account for each one.
  • Profile picture of the author webapex
    Here's one relevant thread:


    I had just heard from a dark marketer who starts fresh adwords accounts and sets up hosting with gift cards registered to a false name and address, he likes to point out the distinction between the laws of the land and google rules, and is big enough to have a lawyer to help him avoid making dumb moves.

    EzineArticles seems to endorse the use of multiple pen names.

    Certainly any financial transactions have to be done under a name that can be tracked down, should any legal issues come up.
    Tried to find other references to this on the web, all states seem to require a DBA filing, although the term for it varies, some also require a public announcement in a local newspaper.

    Ran across a couple of interesting threads regarding anonymous defamation.

    Troubling decision in matter involving anonymous bloggers | Internet Cases - Evan Brown, Chicago attorney internet and intellectual property
    Should "Venting Online" lead to people being sued? | LinkedIn Answers | LinkedIn
  • Profile picture of the author JuniorMarketing
    Banned
    [DELETED]
  • Profile picture of the author Trieu
    Its not illegal, just might lose some credibility if they find out who you really are.
  • Profile picture of the author Bank
    I think if you disclose your pen and real name in your disclaimer you should be fine, that way you're not hiding anything.
  • Profile picture of the author JustinDupre
    Lots of people have used pen names before. It's not against the law to do it.
  • Profile picture of the author bizlinkx
    I think its called ghost writing in the real world. I'm not sure how you would accept payment unless someone knows your real name. There are however ways you can use an assumed name. Movie stars do it all the time. Google serach it . I wouldnt do it ppersonally but I'm sure you have your reasons.
  • Profile picture of the author celente
    Right now I am thinking about evan pagan.

    His DYD site and his pen name : david deangelo

    Who cares about you name, as long as you are giving high quality stuff and helping people reach their goal....a name is useless. Just a title really.
    • Profile picture of the author lgibbon
      Banned
      Originally Posted by celente View Post

      Who cares about you name, as long as you are giving high quality stuff and helping people reach their goal....a name is useless. Just a title really.
      It doesn't exactly build a lot of trust.
      But I guess we can expect that kind of comment
      from someone using a fake name themself.
  • Profile picture of the author imback
    I would just use your own name... I mean it is personal branding right

    CHAD
  • Profile picture of the author J Bold
    It's illegal, as all these people found out:

    11 Things: Famous pen names - SFGate

    Oh and Mrs. Butterworth and the Geico lizard are real people.
  • Profile picture of the author snowcloud
    I truly think writing would be completely boring for me if I couldn't pick a few pen names.
  • Profile picture of the author zamzung
    I don't think it's illegal, just you should somewhere have your real business address and contact... in my opinion, the most important thing is that customer can reach you or your business if something is wrong... if you have that allowed, I don't think there will be any problems... but if you are hiding behind the fake name / pen name to screw your customers, than that's a problem...
  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Wilson
    Hi!

    Pen names are regularly used by internet marketers. But bear in mind that you're not branding your own name by using a pen name. In other words: if you choose a pen name, stick to it!

    Daniel
  • Profile picture of the author scraig
    Excellent article here by Michel Fortin you may want to check out. Hope it helps. When And How To Use An Alias In Business | Michel Fortin on Copywriting, Marketing, Business, and Life

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