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Day 10/90 – Tweaking my Terms of Service for Good

Day 10 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I updated my sites’ terms of service! (I swear it’s not as boring as it sounds.)

Walter Ball!!

Walter Ball!

I write a monthly column for a site called Attorney at Work that helps lawyers run their firms and market themselves more effectively. I love this gig.

Previously, I wrote a post about how I feel when others copy my content. I’ve never said “no” when anyone has asked to use one of my posts for an event or to distribute it to their organization; however, it peeves me when people use my work without asking permission and without adding any original thoughts to the conversation. Unfortunately, too many people think this is permissible as long as they provide in attribution and a link to the original post. Whenever someone does this with one of my posts for Attorney at Work, I get a notification.

I’ll admit, I was pretty annoyed when I saw that someone stole one of my posts today. I grabbed my Walter Ball and played with it furiously while ranting to a coworker. I notified my editors of the situation and asked if they wanted me to call him out. Luckily for him (and me), they are much more tactful than I am. They addressed the situation appropriately and mentioned that they should revise the provision on their site about requesting a license to use or reprint posts. I suggested they add a provision that says failure to request permission in advance is an expression of the person’s willingness to donate $100 to the charity of my editors’ choosing when they discover what the person did. They liked that idea.

I like that idea.

I’ve had terms of service on this site and my law firm’s site for years. Here is what part of it used to say:

I am Not Interested in Unsolicited Emails that Pitch Content or Services
Do not contact me to pitch your SEO, other marketing, or lead generation services.
I’m not interested in a new website design.
I’m not interested in letting you pay me to embed a link on an existing post.
I’m not interested in your infographic.
No, you cannot write guest posts for my site.

Contacting me for any of the above reasons is an expression of your willingness to pay me $100 for annoying me.

Any time anyone sends me in unsolicited email hocking their marketing services or asking to write a guest post, I have a canned response I send that informs them of my terms of service and provides my mailing address for sending payment.

After today’s experience, I decided to change it:

I am Not Interested in Unsolicited Emails that Pitch Content or Services
Do not contact me to pitch your SEO, other marketing, or lead generation services.
I’m not interested in a new website design.
I’m not interested in letting you pay me to embed a link on an existing post.
I’m not interested in your infographic.
No, you cannot write guest posts for my site.

Contacting me for any of the above reasons is an expression of your willingness to pay $10 to the charity of my choosing.

I’ve been telling people to send me $100 for annoying me for years, and so far no one’s paid it. I figured it would be better to ask for less. Hopefully some people will actually do it. It’ll be for a good cause.

In case you missed it: Day 9 of the 90 Days of Awesome – WordTasting Tour!

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