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5 Helpful Steps to Fine Tune your Privacy Policy

by: Reilly O'Connor, on Sep 10, 2014 in Publisher Tips & Tricks

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Privacy continues to be a red hot topic as it relates to consumers’ online activity.  As Big Data becomes more prominent in our daily online lives, both consumers and brands are demanding more information and are questioning what websites, apps, and providers are doing to protect their rights. This stresses the importance and need for transparency. Fortunately, the purpose of a privacy policy is to ease these concerns, letting consumers know exactly what is revealed about them while browsing your site.

Local Yokel Media likes to remind our participating publishers about the importance of an updated privacy policy. Without one on your site, larger advertisers can be steered away, as some have rules to only work with sites that have privacy policies—a form of quality control for them. We invite our publishers to revisit their policies and make sure they reflect the most current standards and are in compliance with the IAB. Here we have listed five steps to ensure a top-notch, up-to-date policy:

1. Explain what data is being collected, and keep it to a minimum. According to Formswift, consumers want to know exactly what is being collected and why — record keeping, improvement of products, market research, etc. Explain with concise, organized, and clear language. Build trust by taking the extra steps to include links to the privacy statement on the site’s homepage or on pages that ask for personal information. Truste suggests only collecting user information from visitors with valid reason i.e., to provide them with your services or allow them to interact with you. The less you collect, the more consumers will trust you.

2. Frequently review your privacy policy. Designate a point person who will stay on top of this and make sure the policy correctly reflects your current practices. Privacy policies are typically reexamined annually, even if you believe nothing has changed. For consistency, the review should include all parties involved with consumer data across the board.  This typically comprises of the management and the marketing, operations and IT departments.

3. Discuss security. Truste recommends giving your customers notice if you change the way you handle their personally identifiable information, so they can choose whether they want to continue sharing their information with you. Answer this question for them: If a data breach occurs, what kind of responsive action you would take?

4. Give the user control. Allow the user to control how their private information is used. Provide details on the steps necessary for the user to keep his or her information private.  Give them the ability to reference the privacy policy easily and to understand how the site handles do not track requests. Make them feel comfortable sharing their information, knowing that they are doing so by choice.

5. Do your research. You can find a thorough description of your legal responsibilities on the Federal Trade Commission’s website. Another checkpoint would be your local state or city websites to see if laws apply in your specific geography.

Aside from following these tips, don’t forget to utilize the free tools out there to aid you in creating a policy. We hope this gives you a jump start!

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