Maybe we only hear about the worst offenders, but it sure seems as if tech companies are having trouble putting out a Terms of Service that isn’t universally hated by users. The most recent stink has come from a change by Instagram who some users feel will have the ability to sell your photos. Instagram denies it, but many users are deleting their Instagram accounts anyways.
Josh Constine wrote an interesting piece at TechCrunch entitled Tech Companies, You’re Killing Yourself With Fear-Inducing Legalese. Put Policy Changes In Layman’s Terms. He makes a lot of good points as these companies seem to try and sneak the changes by users and write them in such obscure terms that many users are thoroughly confused.
Near the end of his post, he provides four steps on how to properly release said terms. I want to compare those four steps to the change Corel made when they released the CorelDRAW X6.1 update. I have been very critical of this change as you can read in Do You Agree With Corel’s New Terms of Service?
First he says to explain the changes in laymen’s terms so that everyone can understand. I don’t feel Corel did that.
Second he says to explain every change line by line in comprehensible terms. Corel certainly didn’t do this.
Third he says to provide a red-lined version highlighting the changes. Corel didn’t do this either.
Fourth he says to talk to the press in advance of the changes. I can tell you Corel didn’t talk to me at all in advance and haven’t since the change other than some very negative comments referencing my blog post in an e-mail. If they talked to any other members of the press, I’m not aware of it.
I sure hope tech companies start to listen as these changes will only continue to drive away customers if they aren’t handled in a much better manner.