On the web, perception is reality.
Wired was the first site to jump all over Spotify's terms — calling them "eerie." But as The Verge explains, Spotify's terms aren't all that nefarious in context. Founder Michael Ek took to Twitter to explain that the terms coincide with an app update that will allow users to update profiles with pictures, and other things similar to that.
But, for Spotify, the cat was already out of the bag. Many customers have already seen headlines of nefarious terms, and are threatening to leave the service.
Spotify now has an unnecessary PR crisis on their hands — one that could have been mitigated with a little more clarity. It begs the question, "If I have to update my terms in a way that might be viewed negatively by consumers, how should I break the news to them?" Here's three tips:
1. Be first, honest, and forthright.
Think of your terms update as "breaking news." Put it in the face of users everywhere. Make sure they get an e-mail. The lack of clarity and transparency from Spotify up front allowed Wired to create the first widely seen and consumed interpretation of the update — which already put Spotify well behind the 8-ball.
2. Provide an update summary via email — and make it easy to digest.
Legalese sucks for the average consumer — they won't read it. Write a quick "summary of updates" in an email blast that goes to all users, and write it in a conversational, easy-to-understand tone. Use bullet points. Don't go too in-depth. Provide the necessary information, make it easy to digest, quickly and efficiently.
3. Provide context.