Google Adwords To Launch New Privacy Rules

Sony hacked.
The Yankees accidentally email out personally identifiable information of their season ticket holders.
A Texas security breach exposes 3.5M records by accidentally placing information on a public server.

These are some of the most recent examples of data security breaches in the news. With remote workers, cloud computing, your iPhone tracking your every move, how a company and a person keep their information safe is gaining attention. Think about the websites you visit and the information floating out there in cyberspace about you. When is the last time you entered your name, address, email address, phone number, or credit card number on a website? Now, what did that company do to keep your information safe? Don’t know? Honestly, neither do I.

Now that you’re thinking about data security, know you aren’t the only one. Google thinks about it, too. Yesterday, Google announced a change to their policy for AdWords advertisers’ websites that collect personally identifiable information to go into effect May 17, 2011. Their 3 new requirements:

1. Clear, accessible disclosure before visitors submit personal information
2. Option to discontinue direct communications
3. SSL when collecting payment and certain financial and personal information

What do these changes mean for pay per click advertisers?

  1. The first requirement for clear, accessible disclosure means that websites who collect what Google defines as personal information must now have a statement or a link to a privacy policy defining how that information will be used.
    Solution: To fulfill this requirement, post a privacy policy on your site that is easily accessible (i.e. footer nav, included in about us section).
  2. The second requirement is an opt-out policy from any direct communications, which covers emails, phone calls, text messages, direct mail or any other means of communication directly based on the information collected.
    Solution: Posting a clear link in your privacy policy or an opt out option in your data collection form should satisfy this requirement.
  3. Requirement three requires those collecting financial and certain personal information to use SSL when collecting that information.
    Solution: A secure environment (SSL) is pretty standard for eCommerce sites, but a must have to comply with these new rules.

To avoid a campaign suspension and ensure that your PPC campaigns continue running smoothly, make sure that you provide a privacy policy on your site.  Users will have the peace of mind that your site is safe and you’ll satisfy Google’s requirement at the same time.

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