What The Heck Is A Privacy Policy? Where Do I Get One?

by derek on May 16, 2008 · 24 comments

With all of the bloggers that are joining the blogosphere on a daily basis, many of them are experimenting with using their blog to make money.
One of the most well-known methods of monetizing a blog is to use Google AdSense.
If you are one of the bloggers that is using AdSense on a blog or website, please be sure that you have read their updated Terms & Conditions and agree to the changes that were made. This update took place a few months back and many people blindly accepted the new terms without thoroughly reading the document.
Can I see a show of hands from all the people that did that?
Wow…there are a lot of you!
In the event that you didn’t read through the new Terms & Conditions I wanted to alert all of you that there is something that you may need to do for any site using AdSense in order for you to remain in compliance and not risk losing your account.
With the latest changes, Google is requiring that all publishers have a posted privacy policy in place that notifies readers of the use of cookies and/or web beacons. Here is an excerpt from Google’s announcement:

We’ve also added some specific requirements that make it necessary for publishers to post and abide by a transparent privacy policy that users see. According to this policy, publishers must notify their users of the use of cookies and/or web beacons to collect data in the ad serving process. This change relates to advertisers’ use of innovative products and features like Gadget Ads and other offerings in the future.

If you’re one of the people that blindly accepted the new Terms and don’t have a Privacy Policy in place – or you’re like me and have been clicking the “Remind me later” option every time you check your account – you still have time to take action.
The deadline to accept the new Terms is May 25, 2008 – which is quickly approaching.
But what the heck is a Privacy Policy?
How do I write one?
What should it contain?
Argh! I am so confused!
If you find yourself muttering any of the above questions/statements, pay attention because I have some good news for you.
When it came time to create my own Privacy Policy, those were the questions that I was asking myself. Fortunately, fellow bloggers are always looking out for one another and I found a few resources that have templates that are available for you to use.
As you scramble to create your Privacy Policy, check out the following:

Feel free to take a look at my Privacy Policy if you would like a slightly modified version of the one from Automattic/WordPress.
Regardless of which Privacy Policy you choose to implement, just be sure to do it before the deadline to ensure you don’t put your AdSense account at risk.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Top Rated May 16, 2008 at 8:10 pm

I’m one of those guilty of just clicking on yes, and not reading all the details. I do have a privacy policy on most of my sites. But not all πŸ˜‰ Of the people that do have a privacy policy, I wonder how many actually know what’s in it. I bet at least half just did a cut and paste from one the looked good from another site.
Top Rated’s last blog post..My Six Word Memoir

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Tyler @ Building Camelot May 16, 2008 at 9:00 pm

I’m so glad you wrote about this. I’ve needed a privacy policy for a while and I’ll be checking out some of the links you have listed here.
Tyler @ Building Camelot’s last blog post..4 Ways I Want To Thank My Readers

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Michael Kwan May 16, 2008 at 9:23 pm

Wow, the Automattic one is much more exhaustive than mine. I guess that’s why I included the line about how my privacy policy is not exhaustive. πŸ™‚
Michael Kwan’s last blog post..Family Guy + The Matrix = Freakin’ Sweet

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Stephen May 16, 2008 at 9:38 pm

Mine took me 5 minutes. I found one somewhere, I can’t remember where now because it was like 3 AM, and just corrected all the spelling mistakes, and stuck my blog name in. Problem solved. Let’s see if Google thinks it is good enough.
Stephen’s last blog post..Vantec NexStar eSata/USB Hard Drive Dock Review

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derek May 16, 2008 at 9:54 pm

@TopRated :: Very true, much like people don’t read the Terms I am sure they don’t read the privacy policy.
@Tyler :: Glad to be of assistance. With relation to AdSense, it seems like the important thing is to mention the cookies and/or web beacons.
@Michael :: Lol, I was going to go with yours but then did a quick search and found the other two.
@Stephen :: Sounds like it worked out well, it will be interesting to see if Google cracks down on people that don’t display a privacy policy.

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Ling May 16, 2008 at 10:30 pm

A privacy policy to me means sticking a do not disturb sign outside my door. πŸ™‚ Seriously though, this is one of the things, along with registering your business, that a good blogger should do, to ensure a long term future.
Ling’s last blog post..Lexus Hybrid Living Suite at The Fairmont San Francisco

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Home Recording Studio May 17, 2008 at 8:52 am

Thank you for this information. I did not have a clue and I am glad to have read this post.

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Roberto May 17, 2008 at 7:58 pm

interesting — thanks for the heads up.

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Andrea May 17, 2008 at 10:22 pm

I have thought about setting up a google adsense acct, so now i know what i need to do. Thanks for the heads up! πŸ™‚

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Ed Hardy May 19, 2008 at 2:25 am

I dont use privacy policies on my websites – it seems like too much work to edit and adjust them for the various advertising campaigns you run on your sites…

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movies May 19, 2008 at 6:40 am

I did not have a clue and I am glad to have read this post.
movies’s last blog post..The Bank Job (2008)

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Steve Elliott May 19, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Derek, hi, not been around for a while (it seems), hope you are well.
I am in too minds about privacy policies. If you trust a site, then you wont read the policy and will just click through on the t & c’s. If you don’t trust the site, then a privacy policy is unlikely to be persuasive.
So, what value does it have?

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Airsoft Guns May 19, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Nobody reads updated Terms and Conditions! Because most of the time, the new T&C doesn’t really affect the user, but this surely does. Thanks for alerting me to this, I’ll put one on my website at some point in some time.

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Airsoft Guns May 19, 2008 at 6:49 pm

I just spent awhile writing a Privacy Policy for my website so I wouldn’t get affected by this. I’m not sure if I made a comment for this post before I wrote the privacy policy… I hope I didn’t double comment or I’d feel like an idiot.

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Asia'h Epperson May 19, 2008 at 8:15 pm

I have been delaying it and are not aware of the deadline. Look like I got to get it up by today.
Anyway, just curious why I never get any “Remind me later” prompt whenever I log in to my adsense account.
Asia’h Epperson’s last blog post..Make Money Online – The COWpetition

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Eva White May 20, 2008 at 9:09 am

Good to know, will check up the links
Eva White’s last blog post..Pangea Day

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Furniture Store May 20, 2008 at 10:42 am

Pertinent issue to address, because i am sure that this is one issue that people routinely overlook. And it is better to be safe than sorry, considering Google’s history of rapping miscreants’ knuckles.

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Furniture Store May 20, 2008 at 10:42 am

Pertinent issue to address, because i am sure that this is one issue that people routinely overlook. And it is better to be safe than sorry, considering Google’s history of rapping perceived miscreants’ knuckles.

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Nicole Price May 20, 2008 at 1:30 pm

I had no idea. I am one of the people who has never read any terms and conditions. I don’t use Adsense on m blog but I do use it on another site.

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Nick May 23, 2008 at 8:41 am

Thanks for the remider, or the notice actually because I do not recall hearing or seeing anything about this before. I don’t run adsense currently, but want to keep my options open. Guess I’ll have to get this done!
Nick’s last blog post..Handing Out Headlines

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Cesar May 28, 2008 at 1:04 am

Thank you for the warning. I am one the people who blindly accept the new terms. But I am a little bit too late, I how Google do not know yet. I am gonna write my Privacy Policy now.
Cesar’s last blog post..Radio Glitch delays work on Mars

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