AdSense privacy policy requirements

In February 2009, Google mandated that all AdSense publishers display a privacy policy on any website that uses AdSense product features. Whether they’re showing contextual ads or integrating a custom search, not having a privacy policy on a site puts the AdSense publisher’s account at risk of being terminated. While this may sound harsh, Google takes protecting privacy and maintaining the trust of the general public very seriously, especially since they integrate different ad networks into the AdSense system.

Adding a privacy policy that complies with Google AdSense policies is not difficult to do, but there are some specific requirements to include in your policy.

Start with a general privacy policy, like the ones you’ll find on any of the popular commercial sites like Amazon, eBay, or even Google itself. The policy should describe what you do with routine web server data, as well as any personally identifiable information such as names and email addresses.

Modify the policy to meet the following requirements:

* Make sure to the best of your ability that your privacy policy complies with applicable laws, particularly those of your state / province and country of origin.

* Mention that third parties, such as advertisers, may use cookies and / or web beacons to track and collect visitor information. (Cookies are small pieces of data that are left on the user’s computer when visiting a website; web beacons are small, invisible images that are downloaded from a third-party site when a page loads.)

* Describe how users can use browser settings to manage their privacy, for example by disabling cookie support for specific sites.

Once you’ve made the appropriate policy changes, post a copy of it on all your AdSense sites or link them to a shared central policy. The privacy policy should also be prominently displayed on those sites, so that users can easily find them and alleviate any privacy concerns they may have.

Please note that Google does not offer specific examples of compatible privacy policies, nor does it offer specific legal advice on what to include in its policy. All they do is state your requirements, it is up to you to come up with a suitable policy. That’s why you’ll generally start by modifying someone else’s already posted policy and adapting it to Google’s requirements. (If you trust a law firm to develop a policy for their use, be sure to convey those requirements to them so they can be incorporated into the legal documents they create.)

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