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Ask HN: Any “Git diff”-like service but for when terms of conditions changes?
168 points by panchicore3 on Nov 18, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 28 comments
One gets the terms of conditions updates via email, like linked-in, or just as start-up popup when you init the app, like xcode, anything that helps to understand exactly what changed especially for well-known apps?

I'm a co-founder of https://termscout.com and our TermAlerts service does exactly what you are looking for.

We have attorneys on staff and looked into other tools, but understand that about half of the contracts that live on the web are not webpages, but versioned PDFs and could not find anyone that can catch when that occurs, so we built it ourselves.

When a change occurs we email a redline (diff) and in the process of working on a dashboard that you can see not only the version of the contract when you submitted it and the new one, but overtime be able to scroll through all previous versions of that contract too...very much inspired by Google Maps Street View timeline tool. :)

You know what would be a great marketing tool?

If you summarized and posted the terms and the latest changes for some of the big vendors for free.

So maybe you would summarize iTunes, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Dropbox etc for people and they can be made aware of what they agreed to or not.

I don't think this would impinge on your business product too much since companies are presumably not sending this kind of thing your way. (Although, maybe they are in which case I don't know if it makes sense.)

That is a great idea and actually have something very similar to that we will be releasing in the coming months.

Stay tuned. :)

I made and sold a company that did just this


It appears that you are primarily focused on biz2biz is that correct? If so, I couldn't find much on the site related to what guarantees your company provides. For example, what happens if you give me a "certified breakdown" of an AWS terms sheet and it turns out to be wrong or missing information that costs my company a lot of money?

We help both people and businesses understand contracts. What matters to us is that you're buying something that is governed by a contract - whether you’re buying as an individual or a business is less important.

We will give you your money back if you find a material error in any of our reports. If we fail to alert you of a material issue, we will give you twice what you paid us.

With that said, you should not use us as a replacement for an attorney. If you need help assessing something that is mission critical to you or your business, or that involves high potential liability, you should hire an attorney to review our report with you.

Hope that answers your questions and cheers!

I think it does, thanks and good luck!

It sounds like a really valuable service.

Here is some un-solicited (hopefully) constructive feedback, which you are free to ignore:

Your website makes it very hard to sign up! The landing page only seems to offer a newsletter subscription, and it's not immediately clear which of the business services does what. Once I land on TermsAlert, AT FIRST it seems like there's no automated onboarding -- but after further inspection, it becomes that there is? I feel like this should stand out much more.

Thank you for that feedback and I agree, we could do a lot better with CTAs and user journey. Feedback is always greatly appreciated and will relay that to our web team. :)

Here is a promocode for you all whoever is interested.

Code: SAVE40

Happy Monday!

There is https://tosback.org/ or https://www.docracy.com/tos/changes for most popular services


You can build your own https://github.com/pde/tosback2-data

https://monitoro.xyz does exactly this (assuming you use it with IFTTT to send updates to your favorite endpoint).

Disclaimer: I'm the author, and I'm happy to answer questions.

Follow That Page has a good diff by email service for pages that change.


I use Follow That Page to monitor about a dozen websites for things like news and events, changes to a change log.txt, and so on. It would work well for TOS and TOC web pages.

There are some interesting suggestions here.

Another (free) is https://tosdr.org , which reviews many agreements but I don't know of a diff feature in it.

I have read & then saved agreements to a common directory (with memorable names & dates) when agreeing to them, and wrote a little script (assumes *nix) that basically converts the html to text using w3m or such, shortens lines (or every long line looks different), then runs diff. Maybe I could post it at my simple site if there is interest (or see lukecall.net for an email address in the footer, and ask).

(Of course, that doesn't work for the ones that don't let you save the agreement content, short of doing a screen capture.)

(I posted my thoughts or rants about this problem at http://lukecall.net/e-9223372036854587150.html , and will add a link to this discussion as a resource.... Hm. My page links to a related discussion on slashdot.org where a minority of comments are somewhat interesting, like the one with "IAAL" in its text.)

Is there some movement to standardize ToS and such agreements, so you can just recognize "oh yeah, it's just agreement #7 again" and not have to bother further (similarly to CC or known FLOSS licenses?)

This is what https://tosback.org/ does, I believe.

Unfortunately there is too much noise for some TOS.

I made a simple script, as I prefer plain text emails. https://torvald.no/web-change-detection.html

Thanks for sharing! I like the idea of getting the diff in my email notification.

I was about to suggest http://www.changedetection.com and I hadn't detected they had a name change! lol

Not directly what you ask, but "Terms of Service didn't read" is great


You can also use https://www.guardscript.com that does this for free and send you a diff in your email.

I am the founder of https://pagecrawl.io and this is exactly what can you do with the service.

I have been considering releasing a product only for tracking ToS only but haven't managed to release it yet.

https://scrapinghub.com/autoextract may help you with this, it will provide the article in a structured form which you can then diff.

Wayback machine and text diff.

You could try Diffbot.


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