Law firm Hammonds in Birmingham is warning business not to rush into setting up a blog to use as an additional advertising stream without checking out the legal pitfalls first.

Blogs are rapidly becoming the latest internet craze with Google completing its takeover of one of the most popular blog sites, YouTube for $1.65 billion.

Meanwhile, a whole host of businesses and individuals are clamouring to cash in on the blog sites, which currently provide their users with free access to promote themselves and their chosen interests.

To date the phenomena has produced a plethora of success stories and provided its worth by helping to launch a number of new pop acts such as Lily Allen and the Arctic Monkeys and more recently Sandi Thom who used to play gigs live from her bedroom every night before becoming a UK chart topper.

With bloggers and blogospheres springing up across the web and David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party, giving blogs a seal of approval by setting up his own blog, does it mean they are good for business?

"The internet is still an untamed wilderness," warns Ann Benzimra, an advertising and marketing specialist at Hammonds in Birmingham. "With the rapid boom in blogs it is all too easy to forget that the web is still an environment where reputations are made and ruined and fortunes won and lost."

She added: "With blogs there are a myriad of problems and employers have already felt the untamed influence of the blogging community.

"Just ask Waterstones, Google or Delta Airlines, how a straightforward employee disciplinary issue turned into a wave of bad publicity, threats and general invective against the corporate being.

"They won't be the last employers to struggle with the repercussions of this revolution in personal publishing."

According to Hammonds, some adventurous brands see the blogging communities as an opportunity to directly connect with consumers; to receive live feedback and to learn what their consumers want - and don't want.

"The risks are self-evident" says Benzimra. "In fact, without even entering the online Wild West, many well-known brands such as Mcdonalds, Nike and Volkswagen have already felt the heat of the midday sun. How can the latter day sheriff - read commercial lawyer - protect those in danger of being surrounded and ruined by the 'blogmob'?

"In the future it seems that lawyers will need to be imaginative in seeking to protect the interests of brands and clients in the blogosphere.

"The legal issues are not new, but the options available to seek redress are limited and uncertain in their effectiveness. However, there are a number of dos and don'ts which can help minimise the risks.

"Lawyers and their clients must act carefully and skilfully when contemplating legal action against blogsites and their contributors. And they must be aware of their own obligations and weaknesses.

"Opportunities undoubtedly await those brands bold enough to drive their wagons into the wilderness of the blogging communities, but it might be wise to consider the legal issues involved and how these will apply to this emerging medium, and then let the local sheriff know where you are going."