Why Bloggers Should Have a Privacy Policy, and 9 Points to Include in Yours

By Daniel Scocco

This is a guest post by Aditya Mahesh.

With the way technology is evolving these days, it is no surprise that people are worried about online fraud, identity theft, and the misuse of their personal information. They need to be assured that sensitive data will be protected when using technology, and this applies to web surfing as well.

One of the easiest ways to fix this problem is the creating a Privacy Policy. After all, most major websites have privacy policies, so why shouldn’t blogs? This is especially true when many readers will give you their e-mail address and other personal information to interact with the website, whether it be by posting a comment or signing up for an online newsletter or e-mail RSS feed.

Creating a privacy policy isn’t too difficult. The document should be unique to your blog, but there are a number of issues that all privacy policies should include:

1. Explicit that you won’t sell or give away any user’s e-mail addresses. This is self-explanatory, people don’t want their e-mail addresses to spread across the web, so don’t release e-mail addresses.

2. Make sure to talk about how you may collect information on the browsing habits of users and share this information with advertisers. Also mention that your site may use cookies. Talk about all types of information that you collect (e.g., browser, operating system, IP address, country) and how this information is used.

3. Make sure that you say that you are NOT responsible for the privacy policies for any sites you link to.

4. Reserve the right to change the Privacy Policy at any time.

5. Make sure to provide some method of contact for users concerned about your blog’s privacy policies, preferable inside the Privacy Policy itself.

6. Make it easy to read and understand. If you throw in a lot of legal jargon, people won’t understand it and it will be useless.

7. Obviously, make sure to follow all outlines you set for yourself in the Privacy Policy.

Some points added by Daniel:

8. Depending on the content of your site you might want to add that the use of your site is intended for people who are eighteen (18) years or older (I am not talking about porn… but rather language that might not be proper to kids, or business websites or blogs where the user engage in financial transactions, for instance).

9. If you plan to contact people that access your site for any reason, make sure to add a clause mentioning that. Some bloggers contact people leaving comments on their blogs, for instance.

Please note that the author of this article is not a lawyer, but rather a fellow blogger sharing his experiences with the privacy policies he has created for many of his blogs.

Aditya Mahesh is the founder of BlogOnExpo.com, a social media site for “Make Money Online” articles. If you want traffic and links to your make money online blog or want to find more make money online articles, check it out.



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29 Responses to “Why Bloggers Should Have a Privacy Policy, and 9 Points to Include in Yours”

  • Young

    I have a question, if someone does not keep his words of the Privacy Policy on his or her blog, will he or she be punished by laws? Of course, his or her reputation will go down to zero, anyway.

  • What Sells Online!

    Yes! I totally agree with the need for a privacy policy. This is both to protect the Internet User as well as the blogger. With everything clearly spelled out, we prevent ourselves from wrongly accused if anything undesirable occurs.

    With my blog just migrated from Typepad to WordPress, and given a new look, I guess the only thing missing now is the Privacy Policy!

    Cheers
    Samantha

  • Ganha

    For who is looking for a easy way to make a privacy policy can go to this site http://www.serprank.com/privacy-policy-generator/ and make one in just 5 seconds.

  • Victor

    These kind of recomendation are the common sense (I don´t know if this expression exists in English). But I don’t see any problems with an author write in his privacy policy that he wil send SPAMS ou he will sell informations.
    The truth will be there.

    ****

    I wrote this comment, because I just know advices to do Privacy Policy with these terms.

  • Aditya

    Its important to be clear and even state the obvious in a privacy policy…nothing should be implied to avoid all confusion….in addition you should only make promises you can keep

  • Scott Fillmer

    I do agree that a privacy policy is a good thing to have, not real sure it holds any real weight other than giving your reader the knowledge that those kind of issues are important to you, but that is probably reason enough.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Young, it depends on several factors, like if the blog is owned by a person or by a legal entity and so on. Overall I think it would be difficult to pursue someone that did not respect his privacy policy, unless it harmed you in material ways.

    @Ganha, thanks for sharing it.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Victor, yeah perhaps point 9 was badly structured. I changed it now.

  • Young

    Daniel, thanks for your answer.
    By the way, I think point 8 is far away from the theme of the post.

  • Daniel Scocco

    Young, that point does not related to pornographic content alone.

    If you curse on your blog, for instance, it might not be suitable for kids to read it.

  • Maria Reyes-McDavis

    Great! It’s the small things that matter for bloggers over time and missing these little things can be problems down the road. Thanks for covering a barely discussed topic.

    I wonder how many of us never even considered the importance of this.

    Thanks!
    Maria Reyes-McDavis
    http://www.WebSuccessDiva.com

  • Basel

    Awesome Article… Thanks

    Guys, change your Favicon, it really suck!

    Other than that everything is great.

  • Michael

    great list of ideas, I’m think I’m going to add “write a privacy policy” to my to do list. It’s important to know what websites are going to do with your information. If you comment on blogs you usually leave your name, email address, and URL, it would be nice to know what those web sites are doing with your data.

  • John MacDonald

    Interesting article but poorly written. Number 7 of the listed -“number of issues that all privacy policies should include:” was” 7. Obviously, make sure to follow all outlines you set for yourself in the Privacy Policy.”

    I wondered how I might be able to put this in my blog and so I decided to look at the Aditya Mahesh’s blog for some guidance and check his privacy policy. Well to date I have been unable to locate it on his site.

    So I guess he forgot to mention that if you have a privacy policy then make sure your readers are able to see that fact and are able to find it.

    Of course if you don’t have such a policy (or you have a poorly written one) just write posts advising others to have privacy policies and then everyone will assume you have such a greatly written policy that you can afford to hide it from the rest of the world.
    Hey thanks for the post Aditya, your blog looks fabulous even if it does not have a privacy policy.
    John MacDonald.
    http://www.brasshomedecor.com

  • technology hacker

    nice article.. thanx

  • Sandbox M

    I have recently started my blog and I had never given much thought to this. I agree that a lot of it is common sense but given the world we live in today, makes it that much important.

    Thanks a lot!
    http://www.sandboxm.com

  • Sanjay Nair

    Hey Aditya,

    You have mentioned some very important points up there! Am a novice blogger and my blog doesnt have a privacy policy yet!

    Your post has just gotten me thinking seriously about it!

    Cheers,
    Sanjay Nair

  • Kai Lo

    I’m going to start writing up a privacy policy now. I don’t want to get sued for anything that has to do with my blog.

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