About a year ago I spent a significant amount of time creating two pages related to Terms-of-Service.

The first page retrieved the latest TOS from the database, and dynamically generated a form that a new member needed to sign before getting access to member areas of the website.

The second form was intended to retrieve the signed form from the database and display it. (I placed this in the footer as a TOS link.

Having tabled this for over a year, now when I look at things I am wondering if I went about this the wrong way…

One problem is that I built things for members to sign, yet I have the TOS link in the footer that everyone will see. And if they click on it it just plugs in today’s date as when it was signed and the current user’s IP.

I need to change my code so a signed in member would see the date they signed the TOS and their IP.

But what do I do for Visitors who haven’t signed anything?

1.) Is it wrong to just have a TOS for members - as opposed to all website Visitors?

2.) Would it be okay to have a link in the footer which displays a generic (unsigned) TOS, and then have some way that members can see the one they signed?

3.) My version actually has about 8 fields where a member has to type “I AGREE”. The idea was that I take the TOS seriously, and I want people to treat it like a real contract.

By doing this, would I chase away everyone on he Internet?!

I think I wasted a lot of time on something that doesn’t do what I need… :frowning:

Suggestions on how to salvage this?

I’m not sure of the value of displaying the terms of service in the footer of the page, if a user hasn’t signed it. If he decides to buy something, then throw the TOS in front of him to sign, but not before. Even at that, a TOS is something hardly anyone reads, so maybe your link belongs in a “my account” type of page rather than the footer of each page, if you have such a page?

Regarding scaring everyone off, yes I think you will. It’s hard for me to imagine what asking a user to type “I agree” eight times would be good for. I would use the standard radio button on “Agree” or “Disagree” and be done with it. By the way I have a racing club and have a release that talks about dying, lawsuits, etc, and have one button for “agree”.



It is intended to make sure they have read each section and physically show that they “agree”.

Having a checkbox at the end of your standard 10 page TOS ensures NOTHING was read or truly agreed to! :smile:

See above.

BTW, one thing I am trying to figure out is if I need a TOS for visitors as well. Originally the database-driven TOS I created was just for members as it turns out I called it a “Member TOS”.

But should I have a “Visitor TOS” too, that basically says “I won’t cause havoc on your site”? (Of course if you don’t register and create an account, the only thing you can do is read content.)

Quite possibly right, but you have to step back and wonder why you see exactly that all over the internet. The reason is that you have a legal document, signed by the customer, that says he will do “x”. It is not your method to enforce “x”, because we all know he didn’t read it, but it is your legal basis for your response to what you’re going to do if the customer doesn’t abide by the TOS. And there’s no reason (IMO) to repeat this over and over.

Now if you’re assuming the TOS was read, or assuming your enforcement was simply the TOS, then that’s a mistake. People will violate the TOS, that’s how life works.

And a TOS for every visitor? Might as well have a “by using my web site you promise you won’t steal anything, and that you are not a spammer - sign here”. A waste of time IMO.

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Thanks for your thoughts.

To recap, it sounds like you think my making people sign for each section is a little too overbearing. (I have to think about that.)

You are also saying having a “Visitor TOS” would be way too much, and I don’t disagree there, but wanted a second opinion.

Does anyone else have opinions or experience with this.

My main premise is that I don’t want to necessarily be like everyone else. At the same time, I don’t want to chase people off.

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