Create a Simple Privacy Policy for Your Blog (Example Included)

[This is a part of the "Getting Started with Blog Advertisingblog series.]

You can always opt-out.

If you’re headed into the blog monetization you’ll of course want to cover yourself legally from all of the possible angles that may impact you. For instance you’ll want to make sure that you have a Disclosure Policy that covers your rights as a blogger and advertiser to your readers.

In addition to a Disclosure Policy you’ll also need a Privacy Policy that covers your use of cookies and use of log files that your blog is using to capture information from your users to customize their advertising experience.

Why is this important? To start off it’s just the right thing to do -that is, sharing candidly and honestly what you’re doing with your reader’s information. I think by having one it shows your audience that you honestly care about them and how you manage not only their experience with your blog but also their information that they give you (whether they know it or not).

But just as important is the fact that many third party advertisers require that you have a more explicit Privacy Policy that clearly outlines and explains what information that you (and they) collect and how it is used on your blog.

Here are a two popular services that require you to have one:

Google Adsense Requirement

Google Adsense

Did you know that Google Adsense requires you to have an active Privacy Policy that states your use of their system?

This is one of the most commonly overlooked requirements for using Google Adsense and it’s been reported that more than a few prominent blogs have lost their account due to the fact that they simply forgot (or didn’t read the fine print) have a Privacy Policy.

It’s not worth losing all that advertising revenue simply because you somehow overlooked this, right? Google makes it quite simple and has outlined explicitly what is required of you:

  • Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user’s prior visits to your website.
  • Google’s use of the DART cookie enables it and its partners to serve ads to your users based on their visit to your sites and/or other sites on the Internet.
  • Users may opt out of the use of the DART cookie by visiting the advertising opt-out page. (Alternatively, you can direct users to opt out of a third-party vendor’s use of cookies by visiting the Network Advertising Initiative opt-out page.)

Don’t forget these elements!

Amazon Affiliates Requirement

Amazon Affiliates

Here’s another very popular service that requires that you use to fully disclose your use of their service on your blog.

I have also heard of a number of bloggers (typically blogs with a lot of sales and high traffic) of being banned or flagged by Amazon as they’ve audited their blog and having not found a Privacy Policy. That’s a shame and a bummer!

Other Third Party Services

There are so many other third party advertising, affiliate, and ad-serving systems out there that it wouldn’t be possible to list them all out but the point is this: If you’re selling advertisements or using affiliate programs to monetize your blog you’ll need to create a Privacy Policy that is accurate, updated, and readily available to your readers.

For example, I use BeaconAds as an advertising network and ad-serving platform for direct sales opportunities for businesses and organizations. I have disclosed my use of this service and the resulting use of cookies here in my Privacy Policy.

Cookie? Wah?

It’s ok if you’re not sure what a “browser cookie” is. It’s not too hard of a concept:

Cookies are small pieces of data that save information when you visit websites so you don’t have to re-enter it every time you return.

For example, cookies help search engines remember that you want your search results in English and help online stores remember the items saved in your virtual shopping cart.

Advertisers can also use cookies to deliver ads that are more relevant to you. You can always decide which cookies to accept – or whether to accept cookies at all – by going into your browser’s privacy settings.

Easy, right? Here’s a video overview if you’re still a bit confused:

[tentblogger-youtube anfj4V5i7hs]

And… here’s another good one:

[tentblogger-youtube 2YItmumfVnk]

Consider yourself a “pro” now! Ready to create a Privacy Policy? Hop to it!

A Simple Privacy Policy Sample

The most simple Privacy Policy out there is this one right here:

This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do we store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyze and optimize your content and reading experience through the use of cookies.

You can turn off the use of cookies at anytime by changing your specific browser settings.

We are not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without our permission.

This privacy policy is subject to change without notice and was last updated on Month, Day, Year. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly here: xxxx@xxxx.com.

Feel free to modify that and use that for your blog or you can feel free to browse my Privacy Policy and use some of that format for yours as well!

Ultimately your policy should include the following basic elements in the sample above, such as contact information, the last time it was updated, and the use of cookies.

Good luck and have fun advertising and monetizing your blog!

  • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    This was super-helpful, John. I use disclosures on my posts but had not considered a privacy policy. Thanks for providing the template. I used it verbatim!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sure thing michael! i also have a disclosure policy as well but I felt there were slight differences that I wanted to appreciate!

      great stuff!

  • Dewitt Robinson

    Thanks for this. I’m growing.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      you are… and you’re doing great!

      • Dewitt Robinson

        Lesson learned- done. I used the template you provided.

        • http://john.do John Saddington

          cool. hope it serves you well!

  • http://laceyraewilcox@gmail.com Lacey Wilcox

    I was totally in the same boat–I had thought a disclosure was enough! Thanks for this!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sure thing lacey!

  • Chase

    Wow, thanks for the heads up on that one! I’m not currently running any ads but was exploring Amazon Affiliates and such. Definitely would not have caught that fine print.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      i mean, seriously… who does, right? no one reads the fine print…!

      … but you should!

  • http://hansschiefelbein.com/ Hans Schiefelbein

    Oh my. This is extremely useful and very eye-opening. Just another item for the to-do list on the blog. Thanks for the info.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sure things hans! ;)

  • http://www.planetpeschel.com Bill Peschel

    Hmmm, I have never seen this before. Congrats on finding very unique content like this. I just updated my site.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sure thing bill! let others know!

  • http://www.speakingoflove.net Sally Brown

    Thanks so much, John. I wasn’t aware. I will get that started soon. I really appreciate your wealth of information. You are the ‘bomb’! I will see you Wed. @ Atlanta Bloggers Meetup Grp. So psyched.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      ah, sally, i won’t be there. i think they need to update the invite… i’m in dallas this week!

      • http://www.speakingoflove.net Sally Brown

        Thanks so much for the update. I’ll have to check the bloggers site to see what is going on. I hope they have it updated by now. I hope to see you soon at another meetup. Enjoy Dallas!

        • http://john.do John Saddington

          thanks sally!

          did you have fun?

  • http://www.unsafechallenge.com Coenraad

    Thanks John. Like you said, many bloggers miss the small print as far as Google AdSense goes.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      for sure. better safe than sorry!

  • http://www.beautifulcanvas.org Dave ©

    Good info as always. The sample privacy policy is a short, simple starting point. Do you recommend a privacy policy on sites that don’t advertise? Why/why not? Also, do you recommend to include “…last updated on…” within the privacy/disclosure statements?

    One final, random question. Why do you put images before the corresponding titles/headers?

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      i put the images there to capture attention and to move people to the next section. i’ve found this strategy works fairly well.

  • David

    John, Interesting stuff as usual, however your readers should also be aware that you need a privacy policy for Google Analytics. So even if you don’t use adsense but do track site usage with one of the many Google Analytics plug-ins (or hard code it in yourself) you should definitely have a privacy policy!

    “All website owners using Google Analytics are required to have a privacy policy that fully discloses the use of Google Analytics.” – http://www.google.com/intl/en/analytics/privacyoverview.html

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      thanks david.

  • David

    John, Sorry for the second comment (can you tell I am working on the privacy policy for a couple of sites right now?!) but as far as I can tell you also need to put a statement in declaring you are a member of the Amazon Affiliate program – this could mean your own privacy policy needs updating! ;)

    From: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/agreement
    Section 10. Identifying Yourself as an Associate
    “You must, however, clearly state the following on your site: “[Insert your name] is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to [insert the applicable site name (amazon.com, endless.com, smallparts.com or myhabit.com)].””

    Cheers,

    David.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      thanks for this. i believe i’ve faithfully covered myself with my disclosure. some people will go super-far with the law but i’ve practiced this faithfully with other blogs (and taken notes from major advertisers) and have mirrored their usage.

      thanks for this though – some won’t sleep well without dotting all i’s and t’s…!

      • David

        Talking of t’s – might be one missing from your privacy policy: “We use a secure op-in subscription system” ;)

        Re the Amazon & Google stuff, it is all a matter of risk management – the chances of Amazon or Google taking the time to visit a site and check you have included what they say you must include are slim-to-nil in my view. However, I wouldn’t want to be exception to that rule and get a visit from Mr or Mrs Google!

        Also, I suppose some tech-savvy malicious site visitor could report you if they knew your site was in violation. Again not much chance of that I’d have thought but better to be safe than…

        Enjoy the rest of your day!
        Cheers,
        David.

        • http://john.do John Saddington

          for sure!

  • Jesica

    Thank you, very helpful!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sure thing! did you create one?

  • http://richardstep.com/ RichardStep

    Followed your “adsense articles” link over to this one and boy I am glad I did. I think you just saved my bacon! My policy has been updated and appropriately spiced up a bit. …and now I’m hungry… lol. Thanks, John!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      awesome! glad you’re here!

  • http://jcisonline.com J.C.

    Finally getting around to doing these important business centric posts. Privacy, Disclosure, and Comment.

    Not the most fun writing I’ve ever done, but thanks for taking the time to help a noob.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      great! go for it!

  • http://www.altergamer.com Fanatyk

    Hi John, the video you’ve added here is not available anymore – you might want to update it!

    Cheers,
    Adam

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      ah. good check…!

  • http://checklistmommy.com ChecklistMommy

    THANK YOU! I would NEVER have caught that fine print and have quickly gone and posted privacy policy and disclosures. Good save!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sure thing!

  • http://www.fatihahnur.com/ Fatihahnur

    Thank you so much..before knowing Adsense I only blogged for fun until my friend suggested me to put advertisements on my blog. Not sure if my blog will get approval or not as I’m so new to this, but at least I will try my best.

    My question is, if I copied and pasted on my blog page without changing any word, will Adsense bots detect it as a copyrighted material?

  • http://gravatar.com/takisathanassiou Takis Athanassiou

    Dear John, I was wondering if I could use the sample privacy policy in my blog? By the chance, your article was very useful. thank you very mcuh.

    • http://john.do/ John

      of course!

  • Peter

    This is fantastic!

    • http://John.do/ John Saddington

      enjoy.