Saas - Terms of use, privacy policy


We're getting closer to launching our e-commerce platform, that will be hosted on our dedicated servers, provided by a well known hosting company.

I suppose it's a good idea to have us covered with a Terms of use and a privacy policy, and some sort of Service Level Agreement (SLA).

The terms and SLA should take all 3rd party service providers into account, be dynamic so that we can easily add or remove 3rd party providers.

The question : I've read some about Wordpress' licensed TOS and privacy policy. Should I just go with those and modify them, or is it worth spending the money on a lawyer?

Legal Privacy Terms And Conditions SLA

asked Mar 16 '11 at 16:34
Martin Hn
234 points
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3 Answers


When it comes to your Legal agreements, my advice is to keep them as lop sided as possible to protect you . For our SAAS products, we have an uptime guarantee of .99%. You read right. We are highly visualized and downtime is not a real concern. But in our LEGAL agreements we dont compensate for it.

I have never had a complaint much more anyone actually read the agreements. The priority is to Cover your ass. Now before i get any downvotes, has anyone ever read the privacy policy of this site?

answered Mar 17 '11 at 00:45
2,079 points
  • I get your point. Covering my ass is what I want to do - I don't know your SaaS products you have, but there's a huge difference between a ToS of a site that's public for all and free to use - and a product that companies pay for every month. – Martin Hn 13 years ago
  • I have one product that is for consumers, the rest are B2B mostly for the Automotive industry. With a bullet proof TOS, you still could overcome objections from anyone who read them by selling against your TOS. Saying that TOS was written by your legal council or dept, and that the facts are that you have had 100% uptime (other than scheduled) for example. Again, its never been an issue and i have been doing this for a decent amount of time. – Frank 13 years ago


And that's a judgment call which only you, the entrepreneur, can make. Some of the common things to think about are:

  • How high inherent risk there is in your market. Some products have more legal risk (medicine, gambling etc), and others have less.
  • Your personal preference, i.e. what you need to do in order to sleep well at night.
  • How you see your launch go. If expect to grow slowly and have very few customers at the beginning, then it becomes more reasonable to wait a while before involving a lawyer.
Your call.
answered Mar 16 '11 at 17:13
Jesper Mortensen
15,292 points
  • Thanks, guess it is input like this I need. It takes a hell of a lot of uncertainty for me *not* to sleep well at night. And I don't see us having hundreds of customers at launch date, so it is reasonable to wait. – Martin Hn 13 years ago


You need to protect your clients, your investors, and you so yes, you do want a good basic clear Terms of Service in which you are explicit about what you will do and won't do.

For your privacy policy, you want to be clear about what Personally Identifiable Information (PII) you're gathering and why. and TRUSTe can be helpful and there are some generic privacy policy generators that can get you a basic approach for free. I know these have been mentioned in other questions and answers here. If you're going to have clients from the EU, make sure you pay particular attention to privacy. As Google was just reminded again this morning, countries in the EU take privacy way more seriously than does the US.

Yes, it's worth having an attorney review what you put together before you post it so that you're not saying anything that voids the terms, isn't enforceable, etc.

Keep both simple but definitely have them.

Good luck!

answered Mar 22 '11 at 05:31
Warren E. Hart
2,181 points

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