The Crisis of Online Contracts (as Told in 10 Memes)

17 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2021 Last revised: 11 Nov 2021

See all articles by Eric Goldman

Eric Goldman

Santa Clara University - School of Law

Date Written: Nov. 2021


This essay explains the “crisis” of online contracts, the legal fiction that consumers have assented to online contract terms when we have ample empirical evidence that they didn’t really mean to assent. The essay describes the crisis, and some possible solutions, using 10 Internet memes. The essay concludes that the crisis of online contracts may be the least-worst option among the alternatives.

Keywords: contract, tos, contract of adhesion, terms of service, online contracts, invisible hand

JEL Classification: k4, k12, d18, d41

Suggested Citation

Goldman, Eric, The Crisis of Online Contracts (as Told in 10 Memes) (Nov. 2021). Notre Dame Journal on Emerging Technologies, vol. 2 (2021); Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper , Available at SSRN: or

Eric Goldman (Contact Author)

Santa Clara University - School of Law ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States
408-554-4369 (Phone)


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics