Privacy Policy for Google AdSense

In a nutshell, a privacy policy is a statement that divulges how you intend to use the information, otherwise known as cookies, gathered by your website from users who have visited it.  Having a privacy policy on your site is a must mainly because you ought to inform your audience how exactly their data are going to be utilized. Also, if you are planning to employ third party advertisers, such as Google AdSense, you will definitely be required to include a privacy policy statement on your website.

Writing a Privacy Policy for Google AdSense

If your website is simply just a medium for you to share random thoughts and experiences (like this one that you’re reading now), you do not really need to follow a certain structure for your privacy policy. However, if you are geared towards the monetization of your website, which is by utilizing advertisers such as Google AdSense, you really have to come up with it or you might lose your website due to lack of adherence.

Making up a privacy policy for your own website can be a little intimidating and time consuming. You might already have thought of just hiring somebody to create this legal document for you or using the online generators that can be found online, but read on while I dumb it down for you. There are three primary sections that you need to outline when creating a privacy policy.

Requirement # 1:

You have to state that cookies are used by Google and other third party vendors so that they can strategically place advertisements on the website that they are visiting (in this case, your website). Advertisers base their ads on users’ browsing activities when they visit your website or other websites.

Twitter has notably done a decent job in satisfying this prerequisite.

“We may tailor the Services for you based on your visits to third-party websites that integrate Twitter buttons or widgets. When these websites first load our buttons or widgets for display, we receive Log Data that includes the web page you visited and a cookie that identifies your browser (“Widget Data”). After a maximum of 10 days, we start the process of deleting, de-identifying, or aggregating Widget Data, which is usually instantaneous but in some cases may take up to a week. We may use Widget Data to tailor content for you, such as suggestions for people to follow…”

            Take note that on this excerpt, Twitter widgets that are strategically placed on other websites were mentioned, and it was further explained that the information that those widgets are able to gather valuable information are to be used to suggest people on Twitter that you might be interested in following.

Requirement # 2:

You should also disclose that the use of advertising cookies by Google allows it as well as its partners to serve ads to your web visitors. The advertisements are served to them based on their activities during their prior visit to your website as well as other sites.

Below is an excerpt of Amazon’s privacy policy that fulfills this requirement:

“Examples of the information we collect and analyze include the Internet protocol (IP) address used to connect your computer to the Internet; login; e-mail address; password; computer and connection information such as browser type, version, and time zone setting, browser plug-in types and versions, operating system, and platform; purchase history, which we sometimes aggregate with similar information from other customers to create features like Top Sellers ; the full Uniform Resource Locator (URL) clickstream to, through, and from our Web site, including date and time; cookie number; products you viewed or searched for; and the phone number you used… “

Amazon was able to disclose that they are collectively gathering information from cookies retrieved from the visitor’s browsing history to create the Top Sellers feature on their website.

Requirement # 3:

You need to explicitly mention that they DO have an option to refuse to have their information collected in terms of cookies. This is by instructing them to set their preference on Ads Settings. You may also ask them to opt out of advertising based on prior activities on various websites that they have surfed by visiting http://www.aboutads.info.

Facebook has successfully adhered to this condition based on the excerpt listed below:

“Some of the ads you see are based on your activity on websites and apps beyond the Facebook family of companies. We call this online interest-based advertising. You can control whether you see online interest-based ads from Facebook in your ad settings. The Facebook Audience Network is a way for advertisers to show you ads in apps and websites beyond the Facebook family of companies. One of the ways Audience Network shows relevant ads is by using your ad preferences to determine which ads you may be interested in seeing. You can control this in your ad settings.

 Note that Facebook highlighted that the website visitors have an option to take control of the advertisements shown on their webpage. Moreover, the link to ad settings is also presented at the end of the paragraph.

Opting Out of Third-party Ad Servers

The third-party vendors’ cookies can also be utilized to display advertisements on your own website. You actually have an option to eliminate this by opting out of third-party serving, which is by disabling image ads.

Don’t Want to Opt Out?

If you do not wish to opt out, you have to mention this in your privacy policy too. You just need to make sure that the two components below are included in your statement. The keywords are Notify and Opt out.

Notify

 Make sure that your site visitors are fully aware that ad networks and third-party vendors are serving ads on your website. Amazon’s privacy policy is a perfect example of this as shown below:

“Our site includes third-party advertising and links to other Web sites. For more information about third-party advertising at Amazon.com, including personalized or interest-based ads, please read our Interest-Based Ads policy.”

Simply said, Amazon just had to give their visitors a heads up that there are advertisements from third-party vendors on their website.

Provide Links

Links to the ad networks and third-party vendors should be provided, and you should advise your website visitor to opt out of personalized advertising by going to their respective websites and disabling image ads. You may also have them visit http://www.aboutads.info.

ParamountMovies’ privacy policy is a perfect example of this.

“You can opt-out of the use of Non-Personally Identifiable Information for these advertising purposes by two such Third Party Advertising Service Providers, Adobe Audience Manager (formerly known as Demdex) and DoubleClick/Google, by using those Third Party Advertising Service Providers’ opt-out tools. You can access the Adobe Audience Manager/Demdex tool at http://www.donottarget.com and the DoubleClick tool at http://www.google.com/intl/en/privacy/ads or as further described immediately below.We also may from time to time permit other Third Party Advertising Service Providers to collect Non-Personally Identifiable Information on the Property. Some of these Third Party Advertising Service Providers may participate in the Network Advertising Initiative’s Opt-Out Tool…”

A link to one of ParamountMovies’ advertisers’ settings page is emphasized on this excerpt. Additionally, the opt-out option is also mentioned.Does it have to be in a particular language?

There is no specified language for privacy policy considering that the sites and laws of publishers can differ across countries around the globe. A great resource for this, though, is the Network Advertising Initiative website.

 

The Bottomline

You can never go wrong if you will be writing up your privacy policy step-by-step, which is by writing one section of the required content for the privacy policy at a time.  You should be good to go so long as you satisfy all three requirements plus an additional one if you do not want to opt out of third-party ad servers. Now, you can forget about hiring somebody to write up your privacy policy, and you can forget about that online privacy policy generator too.

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