Brazil Internet E-Commerce FAQ

What are the most popular search engines in Brazil? How does a U.S. manufacturer submit sites to those search engines?

According to a September 2009 study published by comScore, a digital market research firm, Google web sites are the most popular sites in Brazil, with 26.6 million visitors, having grown 12 percent during the past year. Microsoft sites ranked second with 25.2 million visitors, followed by Brazilian UOL (20.6 million visitors), Yahoo! sites (17.4 million visitors) and Terra – Telefonica (16.8 million visitors). Six of the top 15 ranked sites were Brazilian, the fastest growing of which was media company Grupo Abril, which grew 79 percent during the previous year to more than eight million visitors in September 2009. Information on how to advertise on Google.com.br is provided on the site’s main page.

Is it necessary to have the site in the local language for the website to be indexed?

No. Any language can be indexed.

Is it necessary for the site to have the domain of the country? If so, is it possible for a U.S.-based site to obtain the local domain?

Not necessary. But if the foreign company wants to have a local domain “.com.br” the company will need to have a local legal representative. The domain must be registered at http://registro.br

Are there any popular online marketplaces or auctions, like amazon.com or ebay.com in the US?

Yes. Some popular on-line market places are

Do Brazilians participate in online social networks? If so, which social networks are most popular?

Yes. According to comScore, Google Orkut has a dominant position in social networking (96.0 percent of time spent), as does Google Maps in the maps category (70.9 percent of time spent) and Google-owned YouTube in the multimedia category (91.6 percent). Facebook also increased its participation significantly during the past year.

Can the exporter advertise its Internet site/product/service in pop up ads on the local ISP’s networks? Are there any regulations on Spam or privacy? Other e-commerce laws?

There are no restrictions on pop ups.

Are there restrictions on advertising (Are comparative ads allowed? Are there restrictions on ads targeting children? Is it permissible to use lotteries, competitions, contests, games or bets as part of a promotional offer?)

No – Brazil tends to follow the same rules that are applied in the U.S. Lotteries. Games are also allowed.

To what extent can a buyer in this market pay for an order over the Internet by use of a credit card or other Internet-based financing vehicle, such as Pay Pal?

A buyer is free to purchase things over the Internet. The Brazilian Central Bank is trying to track Internet transactions in order to control the remittance of money to other countries but these new rules are still not in place.

Are Internet transactions recognized as legal sales contracts? Is there a digital signatures law that recognizes digital signatures?

Internet transactions as well as digital signatures are recognized as legal operations but it is strongly suggested that U.S. companies consult with a local law firm to avoid legal problems in the future.

Would there be any undue Customs or related delays incurred on Internet-transacted sales?

U.S. exporters may sell directly to Brazilian consumers or distributors. However different Brazilian customs rules apply to these types of transactions. As far as shipments to distributors or Brazilian Trading companies, U.S. exporters can only sell to Brazilian companies that are registered with the Secretetariat of Foreign Trade (SECEX) of the Ministry of Development, Industry and Commerce (MDIC). SECEX plays a central role in the implementation of directives on trade issues in general. With respect to sales to end users or consumers, U.S. exporters may ship the goods directly to them.

Is there a national webseal or trustmark program in this market that increases consumer confidence? E.g., BBBOnline in the U.S.

No. There is no such seal in Brazil.

If disputes arise between seller and buyer, is there a timely and low cost dispute resolution mechanism available?

It is always suggested to use a competent local attorney. The price will depend on the complexity of the dispute.

Can U.S. manufacturers participate in local government procurements via Internet based tenders? If so, how are these tenders publically advertised?

No. If a U.S. company wants to participate in the local government procurements via Internet, the U.S. company will need to have a local representative. Joint ventures/Licensing agreements are the best way to compete in the segments of the government procurement market or in other markets subject to government regulation such as telecommunications and energy. Usually joint ventures are established through two main legal formats: “sociedades anonimas” or “limitadas,” which are legally similar to corporations and limited partnership in the U.S.

Is there any additional advice you would give to U.S. exporters targeting this market through the Internet?

Licensing agreements are common forms of accessing the Brazilian market. Use of a competent local attorney in structuring such an arrangement is advised. All licensing and technical assistance agreements, including trademark licenses, must be registered with the Brazilian Industrial Property Institute (INPI) at http://www.inpi.gov.br.

U.S. exporters selling via the Internet should pay close attention to the delivery dates established during the transaction. The state of Sao Paulo has just passed a law that imposes fines for companies that do not comply with the delivery dates. Usually the other states of the country tend to follow what is established by the State of Sao Paulo.

U.S. companies interested in additional information about Internet-E-Commerce in Brazil should contact the U.S. Commercial Service in Brazil, Ms. Ebe Raso, Business Development Specialist, at Ebe.raso@mail.doc.gov.

U.S. companies also can check at the following websites for additional information about the Internet in Brazil: