What Are ‘High Risk’ Sectors On the Web, And Why Are They Considered Risky?

If you are considering becoming an online entrepreneur, then you may have come across the term ‘high risk’ when looking into things like payment platforms you could be working with. While it sounds, as a phrase, like it means the venture in question could be a risky undertaking for the owner, in reality ‘high risk’ web enterprises are usually those that could be risky for other people to get involved with. Many of the biggest earning sites on the web fall under the high risk category, in fact, and they can be areas that can be highly profitable. However, they also tend to be the areas where the most scams and illegal activities take place, which is why they are deemed to be risky.

Here, we look at some of the fields of web business that are considered high risk for other companies like payment gateways to work with, and what you can do if your business idea falls into one of these areas:


Gambling is not only ‘high risk’ as an activity, but also as a web business. While to own your own web gambling business you need to go through some serious vetting and registration processes, and have a lot of capital, the fact that many online casinos and bookmakers have affiliate schemes means that there is the opportunity there to create a site that doesn’t actually offer gambling itself, but offers advice and tips and recommends the deals of sites that the site owner is partnering with.

Because the laws about online gambling vary all over the world, and in the US are especially strict, companies tend not to want to be involved with sites that may tell Americans, for example, ways to ‘beat the system’ and register with gambling sites that, while legal in other places like Europe, are not legal for them. If your business idea works with the gambling sector or is based on affiliate marketing for gambling sites, you may find yourself considered high risk and if you need a payment platform, need to opt for one that allows high risk sites. Similar actions are necessary when promoting a car title loan. Although risk is seen as smaller, attention is necessary.

Adult Sites

Before the Web 2.0 age when the internet became a mainstream source of news and entertainment, the biggest search terms were always pornography related. However you feel about it, porn is still a big part of the internet, and a profitable one for some people. Of course, because of the stigmas attached to working in the adult industry and the fact that subscribers to adult sites tend to want to give away as little personal info as possible, plus the fact that there are totally different laws about pornography all over the world, adult sites tend to also be viewed as high risk.

However, because, like gambling, it is a very large sector, you can find payment platforms, advertisers and other key business contacts that will work with you, you just have to bear in mind that you won’t necessarily have the same range of options as someone doing a wholesome home crafting business!

Diet Products

Dieting in and of itself may not have any laws against it or social disapproval, unlike gambling and porn, but it is still a sector that is considered high risk. This is mainly because of the volume of scams and fad products, and the fact that the target audience can be considered vulnerable to products that promise more than they deliver in their quest for results.

As with gambling and porn, the laws around what can be sold differ around the world, too, so ingredients considered legal and safe for a diet aid in America may not be sold freely for that purpose in Europe, and vice versa. This means that even if you market or sell perfectly legal, well tested diet aids and supplements, potential partners may consider your business high risk and you may need to look for payment platforms and similar third party support that work with high risk web businesses.

High risk web enterprises are not by necessity and more risky than others for the owners, however companies you may need to use for third party services like hosting and payment may be more limited if you are planning to operate in one of these markets, or other high risk areas which include electronic cigarettes and e-books. You can do well out of sites in high risk sectors, you just need to be aware that you may not have the same options as other sites.

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