Mergers & Acquisitions/Domain Names


Hi David,

I've got a personal training business with a few trainers and a studio. I've got personal training leads by having a website which has the suburb and personal training as the domain name. It works quite well. I'm also working with a physio and acupuncturist who are my current clients. I am also working with them as joint ventures and referral partners. I want to generate them more leads and in turn have them refer more clients to us. Is it wrong or illegal to create a website with suburb physiotherapy or suburb acupuncturist and then call the leads and organise for them to go to my joint venture partners. My thoughts are to create a business name "south west total fitness" or something and have a more holistic approach and not just personal training. But I'm not a physio nor an acupuncturist. Is it false advertising to get websites advertising for my referral partners. You see, they are good at their craft, but I'm good online.


Generally speaking, it is not illegal to have a website that generates leads for a licensed profession even though the person behind the website is not licensed.  A person is required to be licensed to perform the work, but not to basically run a publishing business (which is essentially what you are doing).

However, while I say "generally speaking, it is not illegal," there are many specific areas where there are some limitations.  For example, in the legal profession, a few states regulate "lawyer referral agencies," so a website running ads for lawyers might run afoul of those regulations if they are not careful.  In the medical profession, there are restrictions on receiving financial benefits from referrals. Those regulations can be tricky to interpret.

In some situations, there is a distinction between a "lead" and a "referral".  For example, selling a mortgage lead is legal, while selling a mortgage referral is illegal.

In other words, it is complicated.

I suggest that you look into your own state law with respect to the two professions to make sure that there are not laws or regulations specific to those professions. Also make sure that your website accurately states what you are doing, not only in the terms of use section but also when someone simply visits your sites.


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David K. Staub


I am a business and tax attorney and have spent more than 30 years assisting people in buying, selling, merging and spinning off businesses. I can answer questions on the mergers and acquisitions process and the related legal issues, in general. Topics can include structuring the transaction, negotiating the deal, conducting due diligence, and more. I can also guide people to find sources for answers to specific legal questions which cannot be answered in a forum of this nature.


I have been an Illinois business attorney for almost 30 years. I have an extensive practice in the mergers and acquisitions area and have been involved in the tax and legal issues on hundreds of business transactions.

Staub Anderson LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Mergers & Acquisitions

Illinois business attorneys

Practice Areas
Business Organizations


-Joint ventures
Mergers & Acquisitions
-Buying/selling business
Securities Law
Tax Law
Technology Law
-Software licenses
-Development agreements


Responses are intended to be informational only. No response is intended to constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Online advice is not a substitute for consultation with an attorney.

Illinois State Bar Association; Chicago Bar Association (former Chairman of the Corporation & Business Law Committee and former Chairman of the Mergers and Acquisitions Subcommittee; former Executive Committee member, Federal Tax Committee and Chairman of subcommittee on general tax issues); Glenkirk Foundation (Trustee; Vice-Chairman/Strategic Planning); Association for Corporate Growth, Chicago Chapter; Midwest Entrepreneur Forum; Midwest Association of Alpha Delta Phi - President

Commerce Magazine; YLS Journal; ISBA Section of Taxation Newsletter; Internet Law Forums

Harvard Law School, J.D., 1977; University of Illinois, B.S. in Accounting, with highest honors, 1974

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