252 – Let someone else take care of your website policies

Interview with Hans Skillrud and Nathan Wrigley

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So… you build WordPress websites and you love it. You know what you don’t love? Policies. Admit it, you don’t do you? The last thing that you want to be spending your time on is ensuring that you’ve got all your websites, and those of your clients, up-to-date with the latest policies.

The reason for this is pretty obvious. You’re the website building expert, but you’re not a legal expert… well, you’re not likely to be.

Step up Termageddon to make all this go away!

We start the conversation talking about how Termageddon got started; it’s a partnership between Hans and his wife, Donata. She’s the legal brains behind it all!

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We then get into what are the policies that you really ought to have on your websites, and your client’s websites for that matter, and there’s a lot more to this than meets the eye, like who is responsible and are you liable as the website builder if things go out of date. In other words, if you own an agency, are you legally responsible for making sure that your clients have got the correct policies or are you best just pointing them in the right direction?

We also get into the subject of how Termageddon actually creates the policies. There’s a wizard that you have to talk through. Sometimes you’ll fail that wizard and their service won’t be applicable to you because they don’t deal with a whole swathe of different legal areas. Sometimes it will be applicable, and you’ll be able to embed with Javascript a policy on your webpage. Termageddon will make sure that this is a set-it-and-forget-it affair; they will keep the policies up to date and you don’t have to think about it too much from then on! Nice, right?

We also talk about the fact that they are able to be used in different parts of the world. The USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Europe, and now in Australia too. What’s good to now is that they update their policies with experts in the appropriate countries.

Here’s some more of the questions which are covered:

  • What is the difference between a Privacy Policy and Terms of Service?
  • When does a website actually need a Privacy Policy and/or a Terms of Service?
  • Are web designers responsible for ensuring their clients get website policies?
  • What can web designers do to protect their business when buildings websites for clients that require website policies?
  • Attorneys vs generators vs free templates online – can we do this on the cheap?

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome. So the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your hosts, David Waumsley and Nathan Wrigley.

Hello there once again to this the WP belt podcast, we're onto episode number 252. Can you believe it? And this episode is entitled. Let someone else take care of your website policies. It was published on Thursday, the 27th of October, 2021. My name's Nathan Wrigley. And in a little while, I'll be joined by my guest and skill road as we talk about term again.

But before that I've got a few things to say, The first one is to say, if any of you attended the page builder summit last week, I am really appreciative, very appreciative of all of the participation, everybody getting involved, the speakers, the sponsors, and of course the attendees. We really appreciate it.

That is now tied off. And so we're moving on. And what is the next thing coming on the horizon? Of course it's Halloween black, Friday, cyber Monday and all that good stuff. And if you're interested in getting a product or a service I've got a page that you might like to check. It's an easy to remember URL.

It's WP Builds.com forward slash. That's WP Builds.com forward slash black. And over there, you're going to find a growing list of product services and all of that stuff. That's on offer during black Friday. Now it may be that when you go to that page, you're thinking to yourself there's not as much on there as there was last year.

Probably true because I'm adding things as, and when I hear about them now, if you're feeling generous and you say to yourself actually, Nathan you've missed a deal. Then please tell me about it. You can email me [email protected] or you could fill out the form, add your deal. If you are one of the people who in fact owns a product or service, that's on the page.

WP Builds.com forward slash black click the blue, add your deal button. If you'd like to receive updates all about these things as, and when I hear about them, there's a received deal updates button on that page as well. The page itself is searchable and filterable. And if you want to reach out and tell me anything about that page, please feel free to do that.

But it also does help. There are some affiliate links on that. And so if you click on those during the black Friday sale, it does help to keep the lights on. Okay, next stop is to say that we have some advertising slots available. If you have a product or service and you would like to get yourself in front of a WordPress specific audience, please reach out, go to WP Builds.com forward slash advertise.

And I'm sure that we can work something. Okay, let's get stuck into today's episode. Joey, as I said, episode number 252 today, I'm chatting with Hans skill road from term again. Now term again is a service which enables you to forget about. Terms and conditions to forget about website policies, because they will do all of that for you.

Hans is here to describe how the platform will manage that for you, how it might work for you and your clients, what they cover, which jurisdictions do they cover. And so on. It's a really great service. And very kindly Hans has reached out to me and said We would love to offer your listeners a coupon code.

And so if you'd like to do that, there is an order code. WP Builds, click on the links in the show notes, and you will get 10% off your first term again, order. So that, again, the code, although a case WP Builds is going to get yourself 10% off. So have a listened to the podcast today, see what you make of it.

And if you're thinking to yourself, Fed up. We're doing this for clients. I'd rather somebody else did this for me. Term again, they certainly can. And you'll get yourself 10% off using that code. I hope you enjoy the podcast. I am joined today on the podcast by hands skill road from term again, how you doing hands?

[00:04:08] Hans Skillrud: I'm good, Nathan, how are

[00:04:09] Nathan Wrigley: you? Yeah, really good. Where are you at the.

[00:04:12] Hans Skillrud: I am in chicago. All you, are you in one of those famous tall towers that we're all seeing when we watch movies and so on, or do you live in the suburbs?

I'm in the distance suburbs. I have an acre with like chickens and bees, and I'm trying to live as much of a nature life as I can on the Chicago suburbs.

[00:04:30] Nathan Wrigley: Nice. Very nice hands is on the podcast. Stay because of a service that you may well have used in the past, but if you haven't put your ears up because a lot of this sort of stuff is going to be incredibly useful to you. Revolves around the law or at least privacy policies, terms of service and what have you.

But I think Hans, you were keen right at the outset to say that you yourself are not a lawyer. So there is that sort of slight caveat. Okay.

With term again, being a technology company, I think about 20 times a day, I say, please note, this is not legal advice term got, and we're not a legal service providers.

So although my wife is a licensed privacy attorney, who's provided guidance to us, legislators on how to write privacy laws. We still have to waive the we're not a law firm type of,

That's fine because that isn't the service you're offering is that you're offering something quite different. It's called term again, it is.

Probably as you would expect the spelling of it to be it's T E R M a G E D O n.com. You might want to pause the podcast and go and check out the website before we start talking, but just in a few minutes, what's what's the term again? All about.

[00:05:39] Hans Skillrud: Yeah. Term again, creates website policies for companies.

Might not have 15 grand a year laying around for a privacy attorney to do it for them. So simply put things like names and emails, which most modern websites collect these days. Things like names and emails are regulated pieces of data under multiple state and country privacy laws.

And if you collect that data from people from certain countries or states. You may need to comply with their privacy laws and provide a privacy policy with disclosures that are required to under those respective privacy laws. And then, terming out and also offers a terms of service a terms of service, otherwise known as a terms and conditions or terms of use a terms of service is a statement that helps limit your liability is the business owner by basically stating simple rules to using your website.

And they could be as simple as. Hey, we offered links to third-party websites. We're not responsible when you click those links. So. A terms of service helps you limit your liability as a business owner, a privacy policy helps you comply with privacy laws. Okay. Thank

[00:06:54] Nathan Wrigley: you. Now it's a curious niche to be in.

So I'm going to rewind the clock on your life a little bit and ask, how did you get to the point where you were running or, sharing the running of a business, all to do with the law terms of services, privacy policies, and so on. What just basically rewind. Tell us how you got to where you are in the WordPress space and how this all came about.

[00:07:16] Hans Skillrud: Yeah, absolutely. So in 2012, I started a web design agency. I grew it to about 12 people over the course of seven years. During that time I copy and pasted quite a few privacy policies for my clients thinking it was no big deal. And then I started to date a privacy attorney who is now my wife and co runs term again with me My wife has a privacy attorney.

She was on the opposite spectrum rather than copying and pasting privacy policy templates. She was creating privacy policies that were actually compliant with privacy laws for her clients charging, 5k or. And term again was a meeting of the minds between her and I. She felt like there was a lot of monotony in her day-to-day operations of generating of, of handwriting privacy policies for clients.

And I told her, I don't think I'm the only web designer out there that's copying and pasting privacy policies. And, she couldn't believe that. And I couldn't believe that she couldn't believe it. You know, one thing led to another and we launched termin garden as a alternative to a privacy attorney.

So that website policies can be accessible to all business types, not just huge corporations. And yeah, that, that was the grounds for how he created it. I wanted to create a tool to help web designers educate their clients on the importance of website policies and give their clients a solution far that far exceeded, what a template can do.

And my wife wanted to engineer a system where we even now have attorneys leveraging our platform for their own clients to generate their own privacy policies for their.

[00:08:57] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. Great. Got it. Thank you. It seems from the outside and I could be completely wrong about this. It seems from the outside as if in the United States the, the lawyers get called more often than they appear to do in the UK where I live.

And I'm imagining that there are other countries that would say the same thing is, was this born out of a real need. In other words, do people get the lawyers out relatively frequently in the United States? In other words, Without these documents on your site or pages on your site written correctly, is there a genuine, is there a genuine moment where you could fall foul of the law and get yourself an actual, real true?

[00:09:40] Hans Skillrud: Yeah. You know, our Americans and attorneys Sue happy, of course, I think that's, we see that in many industries, we've seen that with accessibility, especially in our industry accessibility lawsuits, but in general I would say no, actually, probably to your surprise. No, it's it really has not been a big deal.

You know, privacy laws are a new thing. Well actually I shouldn't even say that privacy laws have existed for 20 plus years, but they were never really enforced. But with the onset of the general data protection regulation, which protected EU residents which protected the personal information of EU residents and now regulated that data.

Businesses of all sizes started getting fined for noncompliance. And you can actually go to GDPR enforcement, tracker.com to see this data. But you'll see basically an ever increasing number of fines being issued. There's, you one person companies being fined 60,000 euros for changing their subscribers email address without their consent.

You know, I think a lot of people think it's, it only happens to big businesses like getting fired. Getting fine for privacy non-compliance but in reality, what I always say is no, that's what the media covers because that's, that's exciting information, Facebook gets fined $4 billion, that's going to certainly make the headlines a lot more easily than just a one person company getting fined 60,000 euros or something like that.

Fines are now being. Especially in the European union however America has taken notice of these rights that have been given to EU residents. And in, of course the UK deployed the UK data protection act, which is more or less a mirror copy of GDPR at the moment. They have some revisions that will most likely require updates in the future.

But speaking to the U S point of view we don't actually have a federal privacy. Requires like privacy policy disclosures for all businesses. Rather we have individual states creating their own regulations for their own residents, personal information. You know, if you collect information from people throughout the us, you may need to comply with multiple privacy laws in the U S because as I'm sure, privacy laws don't care about where your business is located, they only are there to protect their citizen.

Yeah, a huge component to term again is just the education part. I, as a web agency owner, building websites for my clients had no idea, that New York has multiple privacy bills that will enable their citizens to Sue any website owner for collecting as little as an email address and a contact form without proper privacy policy disclosures.

There's a lot of education that needs to be provided in this industry. And that is certainly something we are focused on. And we try not to be like fear-mongering it's sometimes hard because we're when we're in, we're talking to a group of privacy attorneys and we're all having a beer and we're like, what the heck is going on here?

This is insane. Like how complex this is becoming. And then we go to, people who aren't experts in privacy and they have absolutely no idea about this stuff. And so we're just constantly balancing out, how do we educate people without overstepping our bounds? Really?


[00:13:03] Nathan Wrigley: I guess the, the two things that you mentioned right at the top were privacy policies and terms of service. Is it fair to say that's mostly what you deal with or is there like more feathers to your.

[00:13:17] Hans Skillrud: Yeah. Privacy policies in terms of service, I think are great things to have for virtually any website.

A Sherman gun license also includes a disclaimer. A disclaimer is an additional policy that helps further your limit your liability if you need to disclaim certain things. So a good example is if you're a law firm and you have a law firm website, you may want to include a disclaimer that says, nothing on our website should be considered legal advice.

Or maybe you are in. The cold world or health world. You may want to say nothing on this website should be considered health advice or maybe offer affiliate links or there's a couple other examples, but those are really the main reasons why one might want a disclaimer to further limit their liability as a business owner.

And then we also provide an end user license agreement, which is hardly ever used because most of our clients are website owners. However, if you do offer like software that people can license and use elsewhere or. You might want an end user license agreement to state those rules and what that relationship looks like as well.

Okay. Okay.

[00:14:21] Nathan Wrigley: Thank you. I'm going to ask you to be yourself. In other words be a resident of Chicago and obviously caveat. Emptor the things that you're about to say may completely differ if you live in the UK or in another part of the world. But nevertheless, if I was running a web agency, living in Chicago, as you do.

What would be the kind of things that I would be definitely telling my clients they needed kind this would be a nice idea. This is an absolute, basic minimum that needs to go on your website that I've just built. Is it kind of industry specific? Does it matter what kind of industry they're in or is there just some basic blanket defaults that could be applied?

[00:15:04] Hans Skillrud: So for the ease of example, I would say there is a very clear, basic default that I am trying to educate all agency owners on. And that is when you build a website for a client and you build like a contact form or install Google analytics. You need to say the statement, something along the lines of, Hey, I built a website for you.

That's collecting personal information. That data is regulated by multiple states and countries. I think you should look into getting a privacy policy added to your website. And that is something I'm trying to message, not just to Chicago agencies, but to virtually any agency, because let's be real.

A website can be accessed by anyone anywhere. So I really think it is extremely important for agency owners to just tell their client, Hey. Help build something for you that collects regulated data. You need to look into the legal ramifications of what you need to do to comply with laws because of that.

And that is a key component that I think agency, many agencies are taking a huge misstep. I get it. I lost a lot of hair running an agency for seven years, and I know what it feels like to like, not want to add one more thing to the list, but yeah. You got to get some sort of documentation, perhaps written out where your client has acknowledged that you told them, at least then they need website policies because this protects your agency.

And I'm a advocate of saying if you're a web agency, Like you should not be making decisions for your business or for your clients, like business decisions for your clients. And like complying with privacy laws is certainly not a place where you want to overstep your bounds. And if you are a professional web designer and you're building stuff that collects regulated data, you just have to disclose it and you don't have to be salesy.

In fact, I always write. Having your client have the option to decline having policies have an option for your client to contact a privacy attorney and have the option for a client to sign up for an in-between like a website policies, generator like term gun, but I cannot stress enough, to a large degree.

I think we're in what I call the proactive era. Before some of these bills get passed where consumers can Sue any website owner for collecting the personal information. And it's just, I hate to say it, but I'm a small business owner and let's just say, I ran a small business. That's not related to privacy.

And I had someone build me a website, and then I find out I'm getting sued because I didn't have a privacy policy in my site. And I find out my professional web designer never even told me I needed one. I don't know. I ha I hate to say it, but I'd be pretty upset with them, and, and maybe that's just a personal thing.

Maybe that's a, maybe that's an American or a Chicago thing. I don't know, but I'd be pretty upset if I paid someone a lot of money for a website, and then I found out I was doing something non-compliance that

[00:17:53] Nathan Wrigley: was never told I was. Gray area. They're not entirely sure what the line you may have crossed when the responsibility falls on your shoulders, but certainly there can be no harm in informing all of your clients that this would be a good idea.

And here's a good way of doing it. If you, if you at least tell them, look, you've got a contact form, there are some basic things that need to go along with that contact form. They can decline, but at least you've done the job. And if you put the form in front of them and they tick the box saying, I understand, but I'm not going to bother.

Then you've backed yourself out of that.

[00:18:31] Hans Skillrud: Exactly. You now have the documentation you've done. Exactly what I think any good business owners should do is put the liability into the hands of the person that's responsible for it. And it's not you the wet, unless you've entered into a contract where you said I'm going to build a website for you compliant with all applicable laws, which I would never recommend to any web design owner, unless you're charging like 300 K or more per website.

You know, it's best just to add. Get the documentation, protect your own business and then move on to your next website. And that way, if they like they're a business owner, they have risks to deal with every single day and privacy law compliance might be something they're like, you know what? I don't want to stress about it.

I do want to get a website policy at it, or maybe they're like, you know what? I don't want to put that type of money into that type of stuff right now. I want to put my money elsewhere and I'm just going to roll the dice or whatever the case may be. It's their job. It's their responsibility to figure this stuff out, not yours, but.

I, that would say that you have an ethical need, you have an ethical reason. And I would say a financial reason incentive to to disclose this maybe financial, liability incentive, I guess might be the better way to word it. Like you just, it's just, you're helping out your clients like with education and.

Protecting our own business while doing it. Okay.

[00:19:48] Nathan Wrigley: So we've sort drawn those lines and we figured out that we need to be doing some of this work and it clearly, it's an area where most people who are building WordPress websites, we were not married to lawyers. And and we are just, hoping for the best.

So I guess that's where term again comes in. You've got this service, which enables us to take some of the burden of that and generate some of the things which needs to be generated. And these questions, which will follow on after your description. But I'm wondering if you could describe what the process is, not of signing up and so on, but what the process is inside of term, again, once you've filled out your email and got your account all set up, what's the process of setting things up.

How does the service actually work? And one of the things that I'm curious to know is how does it keep itself updated in the backup. Yeah,

[00:20:37] Hans Skillrud: absolutely. So first and foremost, our tool helps identify what privacy laws actually apply to a business. I, you know, if you if you're listening to this and you decide, you know what, I'm going to hire an attorney.

Good for you. That's awesome. But if your attorney doesn't first start off with let's figure out what privacy laws you need to comply with. A mistake has been made and you should shop for another attorney because you must find what you need to comply with before you can provide the disclosures.

Required under those respective laws. So our tool helps identify what privacy laws apply to you. And then we asked the subsequent questions needed to, to generate, your policy. So you F you, you answer a questionnaire, you find out what laws apply to you, and then you continue answering the questionnaire to provide the disclosures required under those privacy laws.

And at the end of it, you click submit and you not only get a privacy policy for the sake of this example you also get an embed code. An embed code is what you copy and paste into the body of your privacy policy page of your website. So when people visit your website and visit your privacy policy page, the code fires and boom, there's your privacy policy.

But what's great about that method of embedding Terman guns embed the code onto your privacy policy page is the fact that we control what that copy says. You know, after you set up a term again and get your policies embedded onto your site, it becomes our job to monitor privacy. Notify you when those laws change and we can even push updates to those policy pages with new disclosures as they become required.

So that's a key component of terming gun is the fact that, I feel, I feel like so many people like, alright let's just get a template and get it added to the website outside of the fact that I've never seen a template compliant with all applicable privacy laws in my life, I've never seen one outside of that fact.

There's still not an answer to how do I. The privacy policy when the laws change and that's the component that we're trying to fix for people. You know, there's 20 privacy bills in America right now. Canada has proposed a bill that will enable their citizens to Sue any website on collecting their data without proper disclosures.

The UK has a, an amendment to their privacy law. This is an ever-changing thing. And, I dunno, I, I think small business owners need to. Small business owners need to find a way to be present online. They need to be found online in today's day and age. And I don't want privacy regulations, which are an amazing thing to help people get rights to their privacy.

I don't want them to see that be a hindrance to small businesses in the future.

[00:23:13] Nathan Wrigley: Yes. I'm pretty curious, because if you were to, if you were to ask a website owner about the design of their site, they're not going to be happy with the design from eight years. They want it to be up to date and modern and look the part.

And I guess, although it's a bit of a stretch, perhaps is the right word, the same would be true for the legal side of things. You really, I guess don't want to be caught with a policy, which actually the law on that changed three or four years ago. What you're saying now really doesn't protect you from the laws that we've now got enforced.

And so having something automated like this, just in. A bit of a no-brainer can I just rewind 30, 40 seconds when it, whenever it was that you were saying about the onboarding process in terms of asking the questions, I'm curious to know what are the kinds of questions that you're asking?

Because I can imagine you're going to ask me where is my business located, but beyond that I don't know what kind of questions you're going to be wanting to ask me.

[00:24:10] Hans Skillrud: So privacy law. It's very important to understand that they are out to protect the personal information of the residents of that certain state country or continent privacy laws do not care about where your business is located.

So you may be based in Chicago, but if you do business and California, or even collect the personal information of California residents, there could be one or multiple. California privacy laws that comply to you. And that's a key component to understand. And that's why our tool. Yes, we do ask where you're located, but more importantly when you go through the privacy policy questionnaire, we're here to figure out what privacy laws apply to you.

So the first question we asked is what states in the United States do you do business in? And you can select all or select specific states, but let's just say you select California. That is one qualifier for the California consumer privacy act. So the California consumer privacy act specifically says.

To be required to comply with this law. You must first do business in California. And if you say yes to this, that you have to say yes to one of the following three options. Do you have annual gross revenues and more than $25 million? Do you annually by receive, sell or share the personal information of 50,000 or more California consumers, households or devices or number three D derive 50% or more of your annual revenue from selling the personal information of California consumers?

So you may do business in California, but if you said no to all those three options, then you actually don't need to comply with the California consumer privacy act. And there's a minor Astrick to that, but for the sake of this conversation, that would be the case. We have some follow-up questions later, but but that is a really good example of how we figure out, if you need to comply with a certain privacy law, it's actually pretty simple.

We just look at what the privacy loss states on what is required. How can this privacy law apply to you? And we bring that into a question into a questionnaire and just ask those questions. So that is what helps us figure out what privacy laws.

[00:26:17] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. And so after you figured out the, you've been asked this bank of questions, do you, then you mentioned that there's like an I-frame.

Do you get like a do you get to read and inspect and type over anything that you think may not be the case? Let's say for example, that you've got an external lawyer who takes this as a baseline for something and then decides to rewrite it, or is it just his here's the eye frame? Just stick it on your website and be done.

[00:26:44] Hans Skillrud: Yeah, the, so it's not an I-frame, it is a JavaScript embed code, but for this, yeah, it's the same concept. You can embed it right then and there, after you generate your policies and you can actually share your term again, license with your attorney or with a colleague or whoever you wish and you, or that your attorney can go in and customize the policy, however you wish.

So our tool will generate the policy. Which we could have all the disclosures required under the required respect of privacy laws. However, maybe an attorney wants to customize it for whatever reason they may have. They may have yes, they can customize it right through the term again, dashboard and upon saving that update gets pushed right to the website policy.


[00:27:26] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, got it. Now, one of the things which became pretty clear in the last bit that you were saying about, for example, California, and what have you, it's just this sort of jurisdictional nature of the whole thing, and the fact that it is complicated by the fact that it depends where the person is.

That's looking at your website, not where the business is located. On that are there certain areas of the world where you guys have got it covered and your happy with that? And you're encouraging people from the United States, let's say Canada and so on. And are there other areas where you have yet to dip your feet in the water?

And you'd say just for now, our service is not ready.

[00:28:06] Hans Skillrud: That's right. Yeah. You con comprehensiveness is our number one goal. So as much as we'd love to say we're available worldwide, we're not going to do that until we feel like we've done a an excellent job at providing the disclosures required under those applicable laws.

So currently turning on overseas, Canada. Canada's privacy law pipette. The UK is privacy law, UK D DPA. The EU privacy law, GDPR, and all applicable privacy laws within the United States. Nevada revised statutes, chapter 603 a the Delaware online privacy protection act. Both of California's privacy laws, even though technically they've just approved their third.

And then we're actively monitoring all changes throughout those countries. Shortly we will also be launching Australia. That is from time of recording. It is 10 days away. And that will be taking into account the Australian privacy act of 1988, which we believe will most likely see changes over the coming years, given all the changes we've seen throughout the rest of the world.

So therefore we're prepping for that country as well. So we are compatible for businesses formed in the U S Canada, UK, Ireland, and. Australia. Okay,

[00:29:26] Nathan Wrigley: nice. That's a heck of a lot wild up. One of the things I was curious about is obviously if things change and you as a subscriber to term, again, I want to be out of the loop of that.

I want you guys to be taking care of that. And in a sense, I don't really wish to be. Too concerned about it. I'm hoping that you've taken the concern away from me. Nevertheless, there may be something that changes, which, because I'm not following the law, but it's pretty seismic and I ought to have been informed about it.

What is the relationship that you strike up with people? Who use your service, who you feel that something big has happened. Some big law has changed. You need to inform them. Do you have that kind of ongoing relationship? Do you get people to subscribe to your newsletters or do you proactively push content out and tell people that, look, this has changed, be mindful of this.

[00:30:20] Hans Skillrud: Yeah, absolutely. So I would say the F the first tier of communication is our customers and our tool, because we have all this data on on the questionnaires they've answered. We know that, if Colorado passes a privacy law, we need to notify all users have, who have said they do business in Colorado.

So the first tier is just communicating directly with them via email, and maybe even doing follow-ups depending on the. On the respect of privacy law that, Hey, a new law has passed or an existing law has been amended. Here's what you need to know. With regard to your website, privacy. And then typically we're able to push automatic updates, but every now and then we might have a new, extra question that we never saw coming.

A great example is when CCPA went into effect and requires certain businesses to provide a toll free telephone number to opt out of their online information being collected while I don't. Yeah. I don't think any privacy attorney could have predict that one. There's always zingers that governments like to throw out there, but for the most part, we're able to push automatic updates.

And yeah, that's the first tier of communication, the next tier is the fact that we, certainly blog about these changes. We, and then we, obviously posts on our social media accounts. But really the primary goal of communication for us is to actively communicate changes via email to our customers.

Not, and that's why I think we're very reluctant to send like marketing emails to our customers because we don't want our open rates. We want our open rates to be as high as possible. So we're very strict about how we message our customers. We want it to be very valuable information. They see.

Yeah. Thank

[00:32:06] Nathan Wrigley: you. The the next thing I was thinking about was. Obviously there's a real high barrier to the expertise required to read these policies. Honestly, Hans, I think if you put one of these not the policies that you create, but the stuff that you probably have to read in the background to create your policies.

I don't think I would be. Any sense out of it every time I've read any legal document, I can't manage more than a few seconds before I'm totally out to sea. So the reason I'm asking this is simply, that you are in the case of your wife. We know that she's an expert, but do you to cover the geographical locations, the UK and Ireland and coming Australia and so on.

Do you have trusted partners over on those parts of the world that, that make sure that they're feeding back the correct information to you? How does all that.

[00:32:58] Hans Skillrud: Yeah. So my wife is the president of terming Guidon. She's actually the expert when it comes to privacy laws, I'm more of the liaison to help translate her brain.

But but she truly is the expert. And where to start, what to nada well, for one, she was just elected chair of the American bar associations E privacy committee. Meaning that she's overseeing that committee now. She has brought on the person who wrote Canada's privacy law. Pipetter she's brought on the just last week, she brought on the head of privacy for the CDC, Pfizer and Uber.

You know, her full-time job is monitoring privacy laws and we use lots of software that does that. We participate in multiple privacy organizations with regard to that. And she's constantly in the know because she's running now. The department at the American bar that oversees this stuff, but just because it's the American bar certainly does not mean we don't talk other topics.

As I mentioned just now, or just earlier, she brought on Michael Powers, the person who wrote the electronic documents, portion of pipette to do a lecture circuit. You know, because of the broad reaching nature of privacy laws, every. Privacy attorney worth their salt is talking about this stuff.

Even if they're not necessarily located in that area. Basically what we do is we leverage a bunch of software to alert us of these changes. And we also are highly connected with the largest privacy organization in the world, the international association of privacy promos professionals, as well as the American bar association, actively communicating not only with internal privacy laws happening in the U S but external laws and how they apply across countries.

[00:34:43] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. This is a rather peculiar question because I'm going to ask you to highlight areas where maybe term again, doesn't, isn't the best fit. And I presume they're out there must be areas and maybe it's not easy for you to sum that up in a couple of sentences, but are there other things like red flags, if you like, are there certain things which you yourself would say, actually, do you know what you've got to?

You've got a web presence, which is really out of the constraints of what we're able to do for you. You got any

[00:35:11] Hans Skillrud: insight on that. Absolutely. So I'm a big fan of always advocating that if you can afford a privacy attorney and go that route, like nothing beats hiring a privacy attorney German gun is an alternative to a privacy attorney.

We're a technology company, Website, comprehensive website policies accessible to virtually any small business who can afford 99 bucks a year. We, so a great example is that we only offer a term again in English. So if your website offers multiple languages we're not. Ptarmigan is not going to be able to handle websites that knowingly target children because that would enact what's here in the U S called Copa the children's online privacy protection act Copa privacy, protect privacy is a big deal and something that a very skilled attorney would have to review.

Another good example is when websites collect, what's called protected health information. Otherwise known as Phi that will enact hip-hop HIPAA. It protects the medical information of Americans. And that makes us not a good fit for. And then if you are in financial services financial services meaning that like you can if you have a website that T you you're, pre-approving people for loans or you're logging in to access banking information that's all that type of stuff is.

Requires additional disclosures that go outside of the scope of what term against capabilities are last but not least. We do not offer our services to government organizations, although we probably could we just don't do that currently. We are exploring it because we've had a lot of government agencies reach out to us, asking to leverage our tool and we've declined, but that number is getting bigger and bigger.

We are thinking about launching. Oh,

[00:37:04] Nathan Wrigley: that's interesting. Yeah. Okay. That's, that's really honest of you and thank you. I'm curious, actually only in the onboarding process, would that come out? Be flagged as actually, do you know what there's a, there's a website here that, that touches on, I don't know.

Children's content or something like that. Just go no further. We're not going to be.

[00:37:24] Hans Skillrud: Yeah, we asked those questions and, you know, if you answer it the wrong way do you target children? And you say, yes, you get the big up, we're not a good fit. Call us for a refund. And we need to bring that more into our like marketing material, but we just have so many customers that don't read our blogs or our educational material, they just go and purchase.

So we make sure that through the questionnaire we have I don't know, honey holes. What'd he call it a honey? Yeah. Honeypots honeypot. But we catch, we just make sure we communicate that throughout the

[00:37:58] Nathan Wrigley: questionnaire. Again, somebody like me who doesn't really have much need for a lawyer.

I really, the only times I need a lawyer is when I'm thinking about moving house or something like that. And so I don't really have any relationship, there's no telephone number at the front of my brain if I needed legal advice. Do you do you have any sort of partnerships with law firms?

Let's say for example, that I do come across the barrier, you're your onboarding was, it says we're not a good fit. Do you offer to hook them up with other. Partners who could help

[00:38:30] Hans Skillrud: them. We do. Yeah. And our list is growing, but like a great example is Ryan, Kenny, R I a N K. K I N E Y Ryan is very involved in the WordPress community and we've become good friends with her and we send a lot of business referrals her way you know, and we have a couple other privacy attorneys that we like that we may send business to as well.

So yeah, as time goes on, we've just naturally collected a list of attorneys who like our product and send their smaller clients our way. And we'll. Send clients to them as referrals, if they're, if they end up needing a very complex privacy policy. Okay.

[00:39:10] Nathan Wrigley: Oh, that's good to know.

It's nice to know that you can help people out, even if your own service doesn't, it doesn't work best.

[00:39:16] Hans Skillrud: I'm a, I'm a huge fan of knowing boundaries. That's for sure. And I think that's really important when it comes to this type of industry that we're

[00:39:23] Nathan Wrigley: in. Yeah. You have the most sublimely straightforward.

Ever, which is just a delight, there's no kind of pricing table. There's just the price, which is which is just refreshing. I often think if I go into a restaurant, I really don't know. So confronted with all you can have the pizza at this price or this price or this one.

Are you going to go for the upgrade? So it's just give me the plate of food and I'll pay for it. And you have one price and it's dead easy to understand. It's $10 a month. But you can get it for 99 bucks a year. I might, am I reading that right? Or if I just totally sold something that doesn't exist, this

[00:40:02] Hans Skillrud: one price, that's exactly it.

And that's actually a key reason why a key value, I guess you could say we want it. One of our key values is just like trying to be as straightforward as possible without overstepping ourselves. And not actually saying what's truthful about privacy laws, I guess you could say. Cause we do have some competitors.

I think that's stretched the scope of things, but yeah. We have some competitors that charge on a per privacy law basis. So depending on how many privacy laws you need to comply with determines the fee you'll pay. I think that that could raise, that could result in some ethical concerns being like, okay, now I have an incentive to have this person comply with as many privacy laws as possible.

So we wanted to keep things simple and just say, here's our price. It includes a set of policies to protect one website. If it's a good fit for you. Awesome. Let's move forward. If it's not that's okay too. And go, you can go elsewhere, but by offering one clear price point, we're not incentivized to do anything other than provide the disclosures that are you're required to provide within your website policies.

Yeah. Yes.

[00:41:07] Nathan Wrigley: Now I am guessing that you don't do like a free trial because I'm not sure how that would even work. Do you, is there any sort of signup kind of 14 days? Policy for free it's I guess it's not going to work that way.

[00:41:20] Hans Skillrud: So we don't offer a free trial where our business model is that we're extreme.

Our entire business model is focused on partnering up with web design firms. And that's just because, my background being a web design owner I. I really didn't feel like I was getting my handheld during the, like the, like with other solutions out there. So we built term again to work with web design agencies, so that in, and so where our money goes to is giving web agencies a free license forever.

So on the agency partners page of turnagain.com we S you know, ask people if you're interested, you can apply to be an agency partner. Basically you have to just have a working agency web. And and assuming it works and loads and looks good we'll approve you and we'll give you a free license for your own agency forever.

So I guess it's not really a free trial because it's free forever. But it's, we at least give a free one to agencies so they can try us out, test our products, see if they like it. And if they do, we give them the ability to use our reseller or affiliate program to recommend term and get into their clients.

[00:42:27] Nathan Wrigley: So it's like a. It's a solution, isn't it? Give people the ability to protect their own agency's website with your policies. And then obviously, that's working out well for us. Okay. We've built another six sites this last couple of months. We'll offer that as a solution over here. I get it.

Yeah, that, that's a really, that's quite an ingenious business model. I like

[00:42:49] Hans Skillrud: that. Thank you. Yeah, I really just thought about, me being the agency owner I just thought, what do I need to see? And I'll be like, I know privacy policies are not why I got into web design. They are a by-product of something I just have to deal with.

So it's going to take a lot for me to pay out-of-pocket, especially for the first license. So I just felt. The only way I'm going to turn heads is if I give them something free to start the conversation and that's been, it's been fruitful for us, it does get the conversation going. And it's great to know that agencies are taking advantage and getting policies that are added to their website.

That, a lot of law firms say that we have better product than they can produce. So it's really encouraging

[00:43:34] Nathan Wrigley: seals find out about. Scheme, if you like over at term again, dot com forward slash agency dash partners, it's one of the main menu items on the home page. And so you can find out all about that.

What a fabulously interesting conversation. It's not usual that we get into the law side of things, but today we have, I feel like I've answered or rather I've asked all the questions, but maybe there's something that you wanted to eat out of it and go for it. Tell me if there's anything.

[00:44:03] Hans Skillrud: You, you asked some questions that I have never heard before, and I've done podcasts interviews for several years now.

So no, I appreciate you taking the time to really dive in. Cause it sounds like the questions you asked were just genuine questions and you know, I would say rather than bringing anything new to the conversation, I would just reemphasize. You know, privacy, if you take away anything from this call, just remember privacy laws do not care about where your business is located.

Privacy laws protect the people of that state or country. And if you're collecting that personal information from those people, you may need to comply with those privacy laws. So privacy laws are broad reaching because they can apply to businesses outside of the jurisdiction, which makes it's going to make the next couple of years.

Certainly very interesting. Yeah.

[00:44:50] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. Where can we find you apart from the term again, dot com website, where you are there, an email address or a Twitter handle or some someplace where people can easily reach out to you. If they've got any thoughts on what we've been talking.

[00:45:03] Hans Skillrud: Yeah, absolutely.

So I'm on Twitter. I'm a Twitter person. So deep space hands feel free to follow me. I'll follow you back. Throw any questions you would like my way. You'll also see my bio on deep space hands a link to my wife's handle. If you're wanting a true expert to provide some insights, she'll preface it saying this is not legal advice, but she is a rockstar at privacy law And then in general, a term again, you can go to the footer of our website and see all of our social media links for ptarmigan.

[00:45:34] Nathan Wrigley: Got it. I can see them right now. Hands what a fabulous conversation. Thanks for joining us today on the WP Builds podcast.

[00:45:42] Hans Skillrud: Thanks so much, Nathan.

[00:45:44] Nathan Wrigley: I hope that you enjoyed that. Very nice to chat to Hans skill road about term. Again, this may very well be something that you're interested in availing yourself of because.

The majority of people listening to this podcast, they're web developers, they're creating websites and we're not legal experts. So it's a very good idea to hand all of this stuff over to people who know what they're doing. And as you've heard in the podcast hands really. Now remember that you can get 10% off your first term.

Again, an order if you use the code WP Builds at the checkout, once more WP Builds, all lowercase use that as the coupon code and 10% will be yours off your first order. Deal. Okay. We will be back next Thursday. It'll be an interview episode. My good friend, David Wamsley. We'll also be back on Monday for a slightly different take on this week in WordPress, because we've changed things around a little bit.

Now that Paul Lacey has stepped down as the co-host. That's not entirely true. He's going to be coming back probably once every six weeks or so, but it's going to be a little bit different. We're going to have a combination of different co-hosts and we will start on Monday. But I won't let you know too much about that.

Just to say, come to WP Builds.com forward slash live 2:00 PM. UK time to find out more. Okay. That's it. I've got some cheesy music coming in right now and I'm just going to say. Bye-bye for now.

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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