Study Reveals the Industries with the Longest T&Cs

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  • Dating websites’ terms of service take the longest to read at an average of 58 minutes – if read daily that’s nearly 15 days per year!
  • In second place are fashion websites averaging 39 minutes (nearly ten days per year) to read TOS
  • Social networking (37 minutes – nine days per year) and job sites (34 minutes – eight days per year) rank third and fourth respectively
  • Both the USA’s and UK’s population have an average reading age of nine – a stark comparison to the average reading age of 12-14 years old on the websites analysed
  • Children’s education websites score an average reading age of 17-18 years old!

It is imperative we safeguard and educate ourselves on the online platforms we use daily. A website’s terms of use (TOU) agreement, also known as terms of service (TOS) and terms and conditions (T&C), is one way of protecting all parties and includes information on the site’s cookies, user accounts, and acceptance of terms. But how long would it take to read every website’s TOS?

Longest-read-terms-service-use-condititions-Reboot
Longest-read-terms-service-use-condititions-Reboot

Interested in analysing which popular websites’ terms and conditions take the longest to read, as well as investigating their reading ages, Reboot Digital PR Agency delved into different online sectors used on a daily basis. The results are as follows…

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Dating

Dating websites’ terms of service take the longest to read, with an average reading time of 58 minutes (7,569 words) – that’s 354 hours per year! Grindr app takes first place with the longest reading time of 1 hour and 51 minutes – nearly 3 times longer than Badoo with 37 minutes.

Regarding the terms of service’s reading age, 18-19 years (grade 13) was the average. Although most dating apps’ minimum joining age is equivalent to the terms of services reading age, given the population’s average reading age of below eleven, dating website’s reading levels are nearly twice more complex.

Website Reading Age

(Years)

Grade level Total words Minutes Duration
Grindr 18-19 13 14,462 111.2 1 hr 51 minutes
Bumble 19-20 14 8,242 63.4 1 hr 3 minutes
OkCupid 19-20 14 7,759 59.7 1 hr
Her 18-19 13 6,733 51.8 52 minutes
eHarmony 16-17 11 6,693 51.5 52 minutes
Match 18-19 13 6,368 49 49 minutes
Tinder 18-19 13 5,473 42.1 42 minutes
Badoo 18-19 13 4,818 37.1 37 minutes
Average 18-19 13 7,569 58.2 58 minutes

 

Fashion

Website Reading Age

(Years)

Grade level Total words Minutes Time to read
Zara 17-18 12 8,223 63.3 1 hr 3 minutes
Forever21 19-20 14 6,979 53.7 54 minutes
Depop 15-16 10 6,197 47.7 48 minutes
Boohoo 16-17 11 6,029 46.4 46 minutes
ASOS 14-15 9 3,875 29.8 30 minutes
Pretty Little Thing 19-20 14 3,700 28.5 29 minutes
H&M 15-16 10 2,890 22.2 22 minutes
Fashion Nova 22-23 17 2,397 18.4 18 minutes
Average 17-18 12 5,036 38.8 39 minutes

 

In second place is the fashion sector with an average reading time of 39 minutes – 5,036 words. With the online fashion industry expected to grow to $1003.5 billion by 2025, it is clear consumers spend an abundant amount of time shopping online. Therefore, should a person read a fashion website’s TOS every day, it would take up to 236 hours of their time (nearly ten days per year)!

Fashion is an interest for all ages given the vast technological accessibility, but with an average reading age of 17-18 years old, this is not reflected.

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Social Networking

Website Reading Age

(Years)

Grade level Total words Minutes Time to read
TikTok 20-21 15 7,605 58.5 59 minutes
Twitch 21-22 16 6,631 51 51 minutes
Twitter 18-19 13 5,470 42.1 42 minutes
Snapchat 16-17 11 4,434 34.1 34 minutes
LinkedIn 17-18 12 4,094 31.5 32 minutes
Facebook 18-19 13 3,485 26.8 27 minutes
Instagram 18-19 13 3,340 25.7 26 minutes
Pinterest 17-18 12 2,974 22.9 23 minutes
Average 18-19 13 4,754 36.6 37 minutes

 

Social media ranks third as it would take the average reader 37 minutes (4,754 words) to read the TOU – the equivalent of nine days per year. As the most downloaded app of 2020, TikTok has the longest terms and conditions, standing at 7,605 words (59 minutes).

Considering the app’s reading age of 20-21 and a plethora of users in the Gen Z category, TikTok and other social media platforms illustrate a real disconnection.

Children’s education

With remote learning on the increase since lockdown, children’s education websites enable further schooling. Children’s education places fifth with a reasonable reading time of 20 minutes (2,558).

However, the average reading age for the industry is 17-18 years. The two government-endorsed websites, BBC Bitesize (13-14 reading age) and Tate Kids (14-15 reading age) are the only sites promoting child-friendly reading.

Website Reading Age

(Years)

Grade level Total words Minutes Time to read
The School Run 18-19 13 5,012 38.6 39 minutes
BBC Bitesize (government endorsed) 13-14 8 3,964 30.5 31 minutes
Blockly Games 20-21 15 3,903 30 30 minutes
National Geographic Kids 19-20 14 2,877 22.1 22 minutes
TED-Ed 17-18 12 2,764 21.3 21 minutes
Oxford Owl eBook Library 19-20 14 1,042 8 8 minutes
Tate Kids (government endorsed) 14-15 9 524 4 4 minutes
Topmarks 17-18 12 377 2.9 3 minutes
Average 17-18 12 2,558 20 20 minutes

 

Methodology:

  1. Firstly, Rebootonline.com decided to investigate different industries we utilise in our daily lives and researched popular websites within them.
  2. They then looked at each website’s terms of service (including similar variations such as terms & conditions and terms of use) and copied the words into WordsToTime.com. This calculated how long it would take the average reader to study the terms of services.
  3. Averages (minutes) of each industry were inserted into UnitConverter.io to analyse and rank which sector’s terms of services take the longest to read.
  4. Subsequently, to determine the reading age group and grade level of each website’s terms of service, Reboot used WebFX.com’s readability test tool. Once the grade levels had been averaged, the reading age group of each industry was totalled.
  5. Reading ages and grade levels were measured by the Flesch Kincaid test.

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