By Melissa J Luther
Most businesses should have at least basic terms posted to protect themselves and their users. Spell out each term clearly, including how you will respond to any violations. State also what recourse users have if they feel they have been wronged.
Your specific details will depend on your business, but at a minimum, you will want to consider the following:
- Customer/Visitor Rights and Responsibilities: This is often broken into sections such as Acceptance of Terms, Use of Content, Payment and others as needed. Indicate what action establishes acceptance of your terms. Describe permissible use of content, differentiating between freely available and restricted content, as well as free and paid access. Detail users’ responsibility regarding their accounts and in what instances you can cancel an account. If you allow user-generated content, indicate what is and is not an acceptable post.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
To get started, you can review similar business’ terms, but do not copy or even modify them, as that violates copyright laws. The exception is if they include a Creative Commons license, in which case you are free to take and modify them for your use. Keep in mind that other business’ terms may not fully describe your situation. Tell your lawyer if you have used Creative Commons licensed terms as a guideline.
About the Author
Melissa J Luther, owner and founder of LookSee Information Solutions, LLC, helps small businesses create and maintain a strong Internet presence. She takes a multi-channel approach, with a well-optimized Web site as the center of an Internet presence that includes content creation, PPC advertising, linking and social media as appropriate.