Browsewraps and clickwraps are two of the most common user agreement methods companies employ for their websites. These are the quickest ways to enable users to agree to certain terms on a web page with minimal effort.
To know more about the differences and pros and cons of clickwrap vs browsewrap, this can serve as your guide. Here, we’ll give you a primer on these online contracts and whether or not they’re valid and enforceable.
What Are Clickwrap Agreements?
Clickwrap is a form of digital contract companies use to make users agree to their terms of service online. To demonstrate consent, users must voluntarily click on a button that says “I agree/accept”. Hence, users are not required to upload a signature to indicate their approval. Clickwraps are also called click-to-sign, clickthrough, or click-accept.
Clickwraps, to sum, require interaction with a customer to establish intent and awareness to be bound by the agreement. This is done by actively clicking on a button or box to show unequivocal consent.
Advantages of Clickwrap Agreements
Companies widely use clickwraps to establish authority and build customer trust. The following are the advantages of clickwrap agreements on every company website.
Speed and Convenience
Clickwrap contracts simplify the signing process for both customers and online companies. It only requires a user to click on an “I agree” or “I accept” button and nothing more. Clickwrap agreements also benefit companies that deal with tons of customers online.
High Enforceability Rate
Since clickwraps virtually mandate users to click on a button to show their consent, this makes them adequately enforceable. With the user’s consent demonstrated it will hold up in court, provided other legal requirements are met. Besides a user’s unambiguous assent, it must be made clear that the latter is aware of the digital contract’s existence.
For companies receiving a large volume of website traffic, clickwrap agreements are an immense boon to contract management. With clickwrap contracts, online companies can efficiently distribute and manage agreements with less trouble and hassle.
In the event of a legal dispute, an audit trail of the agreement can serve as admissible evidence in court. An audit trail clearly records the user’s voluntary agreement and acceptance of the company’s policy. Hence, a clickwrap contract can be legally binding with its record-keeping feature, a key requirement for its enforceability.
Disadvantages of Clickwrap Agreements
Despite being a highly reliable method to enforce online agreements, clickwraps still have a few drawbacks that businesses must consider. Such as:
Unfair Terms of Service
Clickwraps are often a “take it or leave it” agreement that can be deemed unfair for users. They cannot question, let alone negotiate, certain terms that they are not particularly keen to accept. In consequence, users reluctantly agree to the company policies or end up clicking away.
Most, if not all, clickwraps have lengthy and legalese-filled terms, which can make them unreadable and confusing for users. As a result, they tend to thoughtlessly agree to terms and conditions that they don’t have a full understanding of. In a lawsuit, this can be tremendously stressful, with a complainant claiming he didn’t agree to the terms at all.
Difficulty Proving Acceptance
Sure, clickwrap agreements have a clear audit trail displaying a user’s unambiguous acceptance of the company’s terms of service. But issues will always arise involving users claiming to not have accepted these policies. They can also claim that the terms weren’t sufficiently presented to them. This is enough ground to start a legal investigation.
What Are Browsewrap Agreements?
Browsewrap is much like its clickwrap counterpart, only it’s a lot more straightforward. Browsewrap agreements are likewise a form of digital contract for users visiting a website. But browsewrap agreements don’t require users to sign, let alone demonstrate assent to be bound by the terms of service.
A common example of browsewraps includes a company’s terms and conditions when accessing its website. An ideal browsewrap agreement may go along the lines of:
Essentially, browsewraps are simply displayed and bannered in a company website without requiring users to interact with it. But it does encourage users to click on a hyperlink where they could access the complete terms of service.
Advantages of Browsewrap Agreements
To know more about browsewrap contracts, below are its top advantages.
Simple and Straightforward
Browsewrap doesn’t require users to take any action before they could use the website and avail of its services. This makes it very simple and straightforward for users. It’s the opposite of clickwraps where a pop-up window would require users to make several clicks before gaining site access.
Ease of Website Navigation
When accessing a website, ease of navigation is a major plus for online users. This is what browsewraps on company web pages provide its consumers. They allow web visitors to navigate through a site without needing to answer questions or make a few clicks more. By simply using the site, it already translates to their consent to the browsewrap terms.
There’s no rule as to which part of a web page should a browsewrap be placed. Though ideally, it must be conspicuous enough for users to notice it and urge them to read. Browsewrap agreement terms can also be easily revised and/or updated real-time and as needed.
Disadvantages of Browsewrap Agreements
Browsewraps can be useful for businesses looking for a simple method to show company website terms. Still, browsewraps may be less ideal for the following reasons.
A top disadvantage for browsewraps would be its enforceability (or lack of it). For an online agreement to be binding, a user must indicate consent to be bound by the contract. This is something that browsewraps do not require users, making it virtually unenforceable in court.
Lack of Clarity
What company policy are users agreeing to exactly? This is not immediately made known to users accessing a website with a browsewrap simply displayed. Merely assuming that users agree to be bound by the terms just by browning through the page can be misleading. For this lack of clarity, the possibility of it holding up in court is very slim.
Browsewraps can be found anywhere on a website’s page. Browsewraps may still encourage users to interact by clicking on a hyperlink. Still, it does not require users to take action and read the terms on a separate page. This leads to users making do with web access without understanding the conditions under which they may be bound by.
Difference Between Clickwrap and Browsewrap
Both browsewraps and clickwraps are online agreement methods for every company with web presence. Below, we listed three key characteristics to make sound comparisons.
- In terms of enforceability – Clickwraps have higher enforceability rate compared to browsewraps. Since it requires a user to act to indicate approval, it is easier to defend its validity in court.Browsewraps, meanwhile, only assumes users have automatically agreed to terms and services without taking any action.
- In terms of ease of use – Browsewraps are doubtless easier and more user-friendly in lieu of clickwraps. The latter tends to “welcome” users with a pop-up window upon entering the website. This can be unpleasant for users who just want to get information and don’t intend to stay online for long.Moreover, clickwraps often do not allow users to proceed to where they intend to go without taking any affirmative step. Here’s where a browsewrap contract fosters an edge, providing no restrictive measures for users utilizing a website.
- In terms of record-keeping – An audit trail is an indispensable requirement for digital contracts to be enforceable. Clickwrap agreements have this as a key feature to make them legally binding.Browsewraps don’t have this audit-trail protocol as there is no actual user agreement to be recorded in the first place. In a legal case, the enforceability of browsewrap contracts are almost impossible to prove. This makes clickwraps a highly preferable agreement method in terms of enforceability and record-keeping.
Choosing the Right Online Agreement for Your Business
While it may be crystal-clear that clickwraps are presented as a better digital agreement method, this is not wholly so. Choosing browsewrap vs clickwrap would still depend on your goals and needs as a company.
To decide whether one or the other is the perfect agreement method for your business, here’s a final, quick summary:
Clickwrap agreements. This online contract type is best for your business if you are dealing with a considerable number of customer traffic. What is more, this is the ideal solution if enforceability is a top priority for your organization. This way, you can avoid future legal disputes involving the validity of a user agreement made electronically.
Browsewrap agreements. Meanwhile, browsewraps are still a good alternative to provide an easy online agreement solution for your web clients. It does not oblige the consumer to take any action before being granted access to a website or proceed further. The mere use of the website equates to users agreeing to the company’s terms of service.
Fill: A Trusted Contract Management Solution for Your Business
When handling high-level digital contracts, it is extremely important to have a trusted contract management software in place. For this reason, Fill is the integrated paperless solution to streamline your document management workflow.
Fill fulfills what online agreements mandate for enforceability. This includes audit trails for record-keeping and an interactive process to demonstrate user intent to be bound by a contract. Furthermore, Fill is armed with military-grade information-protection measures to ensure document security and maintain data integrity.
Most importantly, Fill produces binding electronic signatures to guarantee a digital contract’s enforceability. Our software also complies with all industry regulations on electronic signature use alongside its legal requirements. This makes using Fill a surefire method to produce binding contracts that can hold up in court for future disputes.
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