Fuck Yeah Clear and Simple ToS Agreements

Have you used VSCO yet? VSCO makes most of their money off of premium Photoshop and Lightroom presets (which work essentially like filters on Instagram). Now they’ve created a mobile app, to work exactly like Instagram.

Have you read their Terms of Service? They’re GREAT.

Who says that? Who has ever, in the history of the world, said that Terms of Service were GREAT?

But this one is great. The language itself is not TOO bad, but they include these handy little “Translation” boxes, that boil down each section, subsection, lemma, and lawspeak-ridden paragraph into understandable, skimmable terms.

Add into the fact that included in this contract is that you retain ownership of your images, and you have a document that screams “On the behalf of the consumer”. I believe in VSCO. On top of it being an excellent product, I now believe that it’s an excellent company.

I think that this speaks to a deeper point that tech companies—actually, all companies—need to be aware of moving forward: marketing is no longer just Marketing.

Customer Service is Marketing. Supply Chain and Logistics is Marketing. Strategy is Marketing. HR is Marketing.

Look at Zappos. Free shipping and returns is a cost that they have to eat. They mitigate that by investing in Supply Chain and Logistics, by stocking only what their models predict that they’ll need, by forecasting which regions will order which models to avoid extraneous and costly shipments. The upside of this is that they got free marketing by ecstatic customers.

Look at Amazon. You might argue that what draws talent to the company is lucrative and comprehensive compensations. Or you might argue that smart and deliberate—albeit torturously slow—hiring creates a workplace culture that speaks for itself and that helps to spread the gospel of Amazon’s consumer-centric mantra, even at the highest level.

In this day and age, when even the smallest disgruntled sentiments are offered megaphones, managing a brand becomes a gargantuan task. As services like Secret begin to proliferate, more and more leaks out about your company. And if your company is known for taking advantage of employees, consumers will be less likely to engage with you. If your company is known for ignoring or even downplaying user concerns, you’re done.

So thank you, VSCO. Your Terms of Use were refreshing, clarifying, and humanizing. Your product isn’t half bad either.


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