Just wondering why you'd post terms of service, privacy policy, etc. on a website.

  • @John_Conde: Thanks for editing the tags, still haven't found a good way to find the most relevant exist tags... :-)
    – blunders
    Commented Oct 19, 2010 at 19:35
  • Mostly you just have to start typing and see what autocomplete suggests. Otherwise, you can look at the tags used in the similar questions that SE displays when you type the question title. The last place to look would be the "related tags" section of each tag page. Commented Feb 26, 2012 at 11:48

5 Answers 5


If you are applying for a merchant account this is a common requirement of the merchant account provider as this helps them to understand your business model and determine the risk they will be exposed to (e.g. chargebacks). Basically, the more customer friendly they are the less risk they are exposed to.

Privacy policies are good to have as some users, can't quantify how many unfortunately, will at the very least check to see if you have one and some do actually read it. If they don't know what your policies are they may not use your site at all. Additionally, if your website becomes popular ad famous you may catch some flak for not stating your policy at all.

Terms of service are a legal aid to you in case someone abuses your website in some way. It may give you legal recourse should it be necessary but that will vary by country (and state in the US) so you should always consult a lawyer to make sure yours is enforceable.


Depending on the country/state you're sire is available in or services you are providing these may be required by law there. California requires a specific privacy policy term that most websites break off as it's own additional policy for CA residents. If you're gathering any data on your users without informing them you are there is the potential for them to take legal action against you if it's used in a way they don't agree with and feel they were misinformed you were collecting it.


In some cases, like for example Affiliate Marketing, it is required by law in the USA to disclose such information on your website.

As this article on the Washington Post explains.

  • Yep, that is a good example -- appears those guidelines are meaningless though, in the sense that no one has been fined for not following them. Here's a link to the updated guidelines: ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/adv/bus71.shtm
    – blunders
    Commented Oct 31, 2010 at 19:20
  • @blunders, this your link currently gives "The Bureau of Consumer Protection’s Business Center website, run by the Federal Trade Commission, was hacked on February 17, 2012. The FTC takes this malicious act seriously. The site has been taken down and will be brought back up when we’re satisfied that any vulnerability has been addressed" Commented Feb 25, 2012 at 14:22
  • Can you post the title to search for its webcache if not the text of that article? Commented Feb 25, 2012 at 14:24
  • 1
    Here's a link to an archived cache of the page titled: "The FTC’s Revised Endorsement Guides" - If you have any issues accessing it, let me know. Cheers!
    – blunders
    Commented Feb 25, 2012 at 14:30

ToS (Terms of Service, Terms of Used), Privacy Policy of web sites and on-line services are nothing more than unilateral declarations, i.e. help that does not have any juridical force.

To be legally enforceable, they should have been formalized as 2-sided contracts.

Even in this case, of contract formalization between sides, any contract is made null by omnipresent in ToSes illegal claims infringing any laws like reservations (and common use of) of the right of unilateral retroactive (and without any notice!) of an agreement.

Read, for example:

  • Privacy policies may not be legally binding, but they are sometimes legally required, especially if you do intend on collecting and distributing personal data. Commented Feb 26, 2012 at 11:50

In addition to these all good answers, I would say Privacy Policy, Terms of Use etc. make your business more serious and your future clients more confident. Many customers don't trust businesses without legal information.

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