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    Search Engine Land: How Many Google Privacy Policies Are You Violating?

    In a column at Search Engine Land, Brad Geddes takes a look at Google’s privacy policy requirements for any Web site that uses its AdWords, AdSense or Analytics services:

    Every website that uses Google AdWords, Analytics or AdSense, and does not have a privacy policy, violates three of Google’s terms of service agreements.

    To get a sense of how big a problem this is, I took a look at a couple hundred sites this week and found some startling statistics:

    • More than 90% were breaking at least one of Google’s policies
    • More than 65% were breaking at least two of Google’s policies
    • More than 40% were breaking at least three of Google’s policies

    How many of these policies are you breaking?

    When conducting this survey, I only included sites that were required to follow at least one of Google’s policies, based on the Google products or services it was using. If a site didn’t need to follow any, then I excluded it from the results. […]

    If you use Google Analytics you must have a privacy policy on your website. Considering many small websites do not have a privacy policy, those sites are automatically breaking Google’s terms of service.

    Another reason to have a privacy policy is that transparency to the user is one factor Google uses to determine your landing page quality score.

    To be in compliance with this section of Google Analytics terms of service:

    Create a privacy policy
    State the usage of third party tracking
    State the usage of cookies to track anonymous data […]

    From a marketer’s perspective, you need to make consumers feel secure in your website and your honesty. A privacy policy that tells someone exactly what you are doing often works well; but of course that effectiveness does vary by market.

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