Terms of service

Terms of service (often abbreviated as "ToS") are s by which one must agree to abide by in order to use a service. Usually, such terms are legally binding.

Certain websites are noted for having carefully designed terms of service, particularly eBay and PayPal which need to maintain a high level of community trust because of transactions involving money. However, to attract new members and maintain current members, the terms must be perceived as fair and must not be needlessly bureaucratic. For the sake of good public relations and effective community building, the organization should strive to form a social contract that balances the organization's interests with a set of rights granted to the membership.

Internet service providers

Most Internet service providers have terms of service—notably AOL LLC—which many perceive to be very strict.Cite web|url=http://news.com.com/AOL+dumps+new+member+policy/2100-1023_3-201927.html|title=AOL dumps new member policy|accessdate=2006-12-24|year=1997-7-29|author=Janet Kornblum] Most users do not read the terms of service.Fact|date=March 2008

Video Games

As video games move online, many of them are also adopting a terms of service, separate from the End User License Agreement required to utilize the client software. These Terms of Service generally specify behaviors that are disallowed within the video game's virtual world, generally to prevent a player from disrupting another player's game experience. For example, many online games disallow the use of racist speech through communication channels provided by the game. Many MMORPGs also disallow the trading of in-game items for "real world" money.


A ToS violation can result in myriad consequences towards those who are guilty depending on the service and the severity of the violation. Most organizations reserve the right to restrict a user's access to the service if they violate the terms in the agreement, an action referred to as ToSsing the user.


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