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How to Formulate Privacy Policy and ToS Text Being an Indie Dev?


#1

I’m indie developer, not registered as LLC. What should I write instead of:

“We, at &&& Ltd., put great efforts in making sure that your personal information is safe and used properly.”

and

“Terms of Use will govern the relationship between you and &&& Ltd.”?

Following some pieces of advice from IH and HN I’m not going to register as a company at the beginning. But I think that terms of service are pretty important even when dealing with beta testers. What do you think?


#2

I think that terms of service are pretty important

Maybe, maybe not.

The question is: why do you think TOS is pretty important?

Do you think that it gives you a practical, legal recourse against those who violate your TOS? If yes, are you willing to pay thousands of dollars to lawyers because someone did something you said is not ok in TOS? What if that user is in China? What if you only have an e-mail address? What kind of TOS violation would allow you to sue someone for damages?

Do you think that TOS gives you practical, legal protection from people trying to sue you? If yes, are you worried about the possibility of being sued or are you worried about loosing the lawsuit and having to pay exorbitant damages? Give an example of
thing that you do in your business where you’re guilty of breaking the law if you don’t have a TOS and not guilty if you do have TOS?

Or maybe you think that TOS makes you look professional and users will absolutely not use your product, however good, if you don’t have that Terms Of Services page?

Personally I think TOS is utterly useless.

Users don’t care about it.

It wont magically make it easy for me to sue my users, especially given that they might be in China or basically anonymous (I can’t sue [email protected]) and the fact that lawsuits are expensive and unless I’m going for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, it wouldn’t pay off.

It won’t magically protect me from being sued. You can’t waive away most of the liabilities in TOS and lawsuit are expensive to defend so I would be toast either way.

But maybe I’m missing something which goes back to the beginning: why is it that you think TOS is important. What benefit, what protection do you think it provides?


#3

Users don’t care

Well, some users don’t and some do care. If there is one user who cares I should put it there.

Do you think that TOS gives you practical, legal protection from people trying to sue you?

It’s a bit of this, but more importantly for me from the humans perspective is to match expectations.

If I’m planning to change a pricing plan or shut down the service one day I want my customers to know that and expect that. This is an agreement between us. And no matter whether the user care on not. I want to put it public so he have an access to it.


#4

I wonder how many TOS have you read, carefully and with consideration.

How many times did you say “I wasn’t planning to use this product but reading TOS really pushed me over the line”.

Just for kicks I started reading https://slack.com/terms-of-service and I just don’t have that much life to waste. It’s 1-2 hr of careful reading.

For users, TOS is an annoyance and a burden. TOS exists as an ass covering tool for giant companies not because a single user asked to read a legalese for an hour.

You don’t need to tell people that you might shut down the service or change pricing. It’s covered by Common Sense amendment to constitution. It’s neither necessary nor customary to put things like that in TOS.

My thing is about being rational about the things we do in business.

It’s totally fine if you want to do things regardless of wether your potential users care about them or not.

It’s totally fine if you want to expand effort on doing low value things if you could be doing high value things instead.

It’s totally fine to act on what you imagine is true even if you have zero evidence to support that.

But if you want want a successful bootstrapped business, you might consider doing the opposite of those things.

Don’t waste time on low value things. Don’t cargo cult what big companies do. Don’t try to lead the users, follow them.


#5

First, the terms of service and privacy policy you offer must be based on your legal residence. So it makes no sense to just copy a TOS from a company in CA if you reside in NY (or even outside the US).

Secondly it is very common that you can use “doing business as”, i.e. as a single trader without an LLC or similar you can often (again, depends on jurisdiction) do it like this:
your one person company is John Smith doing business as “AppCompany” (and don’t put LLC or similar in your name). This is very common in the trades, where a plumber would be:
John Smith, doing business as “The Fast Plumber”.


#6

I heard an opinion that nowadays Google ranks sites with ToS and PP higher than those without them. Same logic as it ranks HTTPS sites higher than HTTP to enforce “good citizenship”. However, I did not verify that claim.


#7

Google also will also Disapprove the AdWords Ads for some websites that don’t have a Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.


#8

Me and you don’t read ToS and Privacy Policy, ok. But how can you tell with this confidence that nobody read it? I just don’t get it. Every time I hear someone operate with absolute terms like EVERYBODY, NOBODY, ALWAYS, NEVER - it makes me disregard his opinion, sorry man.

Don’t try to lead the users, follow them.

It’s a funny cliche, not related to the topic, but ok whatever.

Now let’s talk about Slack a bit. This product mostly used by companies. Some of them are small teams and some of them are big corporates. If we believe their landing page: Airbnb, Harvard, CapitalOne, Fiverr, Oracle are on the list. Don’t you think that layers in those company read every single word in this freaking boring time wasting document before the company hire the product??

I think this is the story of all B2B SaaS products. Even if only 1 out of 5 customers read it, you have to put it on your site.


#9

“Doing business as” Is what I need. Thanks!