Free Terms of Use / Terms of Service for your Website

If you don't have a posted Terms of Service for your website, you should. Even if you are operating a site for fun, it is best to protect yourself. You always take the chance that someone will take something you post, misuse it and expect you to pay the damages.

Don't think it can happen? Yes, it can.

Last year, I found myself in a serious lawsuit that would have cost me six figures if I lost. The good news is I had a great attourney that was sure he could win the case. The bad news is I was being sued in a jurisdiction on the other side of the country. The cost for me to fight and win this was estimated to be $30k - $40K.

Wow! Gives a new perspective to being a winner.

Luckily, I was able to settle the suit for much less and used the experience to take a look at my business and start protecting myself. Over the next few months, I transformed my business into an LLC and added a user agreement to all of my product sites. Was that enough?

In addition to sites that sell physical products, I also have affiliate sites that sell information and are monetized with adsense revenue. I didn't take the time to add a user agreement to these sites. I didn't really think I needed it. I'm not really selling anything.

After reconsidering this question, I changed my mind, even informational sites should have a user agreement. What happens if someone uses your information and doesn't get the results they expect? You are opening yourself up for a lawsuit. What if a visitor to your site clicks on an affiliate link and wants to hold you responsible for some action from the site you made the referral to?

I spent a couple of hours today searching for a good user agreement. The user agreement I had written for my physical product sites wasn't really applicable to an informational site. I found one very good resource for a free terms of service located at this link.

This free terms of use may be okay for most people, but for $15 I was able to purchase a more detailed User Agreement from FindLegalForms.com. I decided to purchase this agreement because it included a Governing Jurisdiction of the Courts provision. Bascially this provision requires anyone filing a lawsuit to be bound by the laws in my state of Tennessee. It also keeps someone from filing a lawsuit on the other side of the country and requiring me to show up and fight it.

If you want to sue me, come to Tennessee and do it! Better bring a guitar and cowboy hat or everyone will recognize you as an outsider :)

 

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12 Responses to “Free Terms of Use / Terms of Service for your Website”


  1. Aiden Michaels Says:

    Thanks Brent! Also, since I am in TN, it’s not too long of a trip.


  2. Brian J Says:

    Very informative! Thanks for writing this Brent.


  3. Don S: Says:

    Thank you very much for this information. Will find it very useful


  4. BRYAN Says:

    Dear Brent, thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom on the subject. Your time spent on this subject was helpful to me and I appreciated that you took the time to make it available to other users like myself. All the best, Bryan


  5. Bill Says:

    Brent:

    Are you sure your terms of service actually protects your site?

    I am looking for it and can’t find it posted anywhere. I thought you needed to have it posted someplace where users could actually find it for it to be a valid terms of use agreement.


  6. Brent Crouch Says:

    Bill, I should probably add on to this site, but haven’t. I was actually referring to an ecommerce site I own that has over 100,000 unique visitors a month. That is where I added the TOS.


  7. Randy Says:

    Dear Brent, Thank you very much for this information. what if i purchase at FindLegalForms.com and they will customize it for my site?


  8. Brent Crouch Says:

    Double check, but if I remember correctly you’ll get the document in an editable format like a Word file. That way you can add your company name and any other clauses you want.


  9. Shawn Says:

    Thank you Brent! I know this was written a couple years ago but has helped me.


  10. glen Says:

    Hey i am in Dickson TN, I drive a gas tanker all over the state so contact me .i would love to pick your brain.


  11. MS Says:

    tnx Bret, It’s very useful to me :)


  12. MS Says:

    Brent* (sorry for typo)

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