Study Reveals the Industries with the Longest T&Cs 1
  • 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

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.

WebsiteReading Age
(Years)
Grade levelTotal wordsMinutesDuration
Grindr18-191314,462111.21 hr 51 minutes
Bumble19-20148,24263.41 hr 3 minutes
OkCupid19-20147,75959.71 hr
Her18-19136,73351.852 minutes
eHarmony16-17116,69351.552 minutes
Match18-19136,3684949 minutes
Tinder18-19135,47342.142 minutes
Badoo18-19134,81837.137 minutes
Average18-19137,56958.258 minutes

 

Fashion

WebsiteReading Age
(Years)
Grade levelTotal wordsMinutesTime to read
Zara17-18128,22363.31 hr 3 minutes
Forever2119-20146,97953.754 minutes
Depop15-16106,19747.748 minutes
Boohoo16-17116,02946.446 minutes
ASOS14-1593,87529.830 minutes
Pretty Little Thing19-20143,70028.529 minutes
H&M15-16102,89022.222 minutes
Fashion Nova22-23172,39718.418 minutes
Average17-18125,03638.839 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

WebsiteReading Age
(Years)
Grade levelTotal wordsMinutesTime to read
TikTok20-21157,60558.559 minutes
Twitch21-22166,6315151 minutes
Twitter18-19135,47042.142 minutes
Snapchat16-17114,43434.134 minutes
LinkedIn17-18124,09431.532 minutes
Facebook18-19133,48526.827 minutes
Instagram18-19133,34025.726 minutes
Pinterest17-18122,97422.923 minutes
Average18-19134,75436.637 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.

WebsiteReading Age
(Years)
Grade levelTotal wordsMinutesTime to read
The School Run18-19135,01238.639 minutes
BBC Bitesize (government endorsed)13-1483,96430.531 minutes
Blockly Games20-21153,9033030 minutes
National Geographic Kids19-20142,87722.122 minutes
TED-Ed17-18122,76421.321 minutes
Oxford Owl eBook Library19-20141,04288 minutes
Tate Kids (government endorsed)14-15952444 minutes
Topmarks17-18123772.93 minutes
Average17-18122,5582020 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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