Aug 17, 2018

Terms of Service for Your App or Online Business: How do you get yours? | Senator Ihenyen

Bayo Folarin (tech-startup owner, FolaTech): "Hello Senator, a quick one please. I need you to prepare a Terms of Service for my app. We need it in 2 days. Please send us a pocket-friendly invoice—we have a very tight budget. Can you start working on the Terms today? We need it in 2 days. You can deliver by Friday, right?"

Me: "Hi Bayo, thanks for contacting me to work on your Terms of Service. The delivery schedule is pretty tight. But IF you can deliver to us by 2pm today the details we need to complete the Terms of Service, we will do our best to deliver by 2pm Friday."

Bayo Folarin: "Great then, That's no problem. Here are the details: The name of the app is Lander and the company is FolaTech Ltd. I will email the company address and company-registration number to you in a few minutes."

Me: "Bayo, thanks for the quick response but we will require more details than that. Can you please email to me details of your app business, including information about your target users, affiliates, third-party arrangements, intellectual property you control, in-app advertising model, privacy, app-community restrictions (if any), security & safety measures for users, and any other information you think would be useful to us. Hello, Tecky. Are you there?"

Bayo Folarin: "Ah! All that and you want them this week! Ermmm, .... you see the problem is that we don't have those things ready yet. We just need the Terms of Service by Friday. I can send you the Terms we already copied from a similar app in South Africa. Please use it."

Me: (Dazed)

If you are one of those app-based or online-based businesses that "copy and paste" terms of services from "similar" apps or sites, PLEASE STOP. 

Terms of Service can make or mar your entire business. It's in fact your whole business. It's not just "one of those things". Many startups often get it wrong, right from the start. Don't.

Along with a Privacy Policy, Terms of Service is everything. I wrote about "How to Protect Your e-Commerce Site with Terms and Conditions" some 2 years ago on Nigerian Law Today. You can read it up here. I will be sharing more insights on how to get your Terms of Service right on Infusion Lawyers' blog soon. You will find the subscription form here.

So NEVER start or run any startup or other business without getting your terms of service right—right from the beginning, not in the middle of your business and certainly not at the end, otherwise it might just be the beginning of the end of your app, online, or offline business.

How do you get terms of service for your business?

*Bayo Folarin and FolaTech Ltd are both fictitious names used to illustrate a common line of conversations I have had with some tech-startup owners who need terms of services.

Senator Ihenyen is the Lead Partner of Infusion Lawyers, an IP & IT law firm.

Source: LinkedIn