Updated November 11, 2014
The Types of Information We Collect
Information You Give Us
To enable you to enjoy certain features of our Services, we collect certain types of information, including personally identifiable information. For example, we collect information when you:
- Sign up to receive email newsletters. When we send newsletters to subscribers we may allow advertisers or partners to include messages in those newsletters, or we may send dedicated newsletters on behalf of those advertisers or partners. To unsubscribe from a particular newsletter, click the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of that email newsletter. If you would like to globally opt-out from ALL About.com email campaigns please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line.
- Register. When you register to use forums or other Services, we ask you to provide certain information, which may include your email address, home address, birth year, gender, health conditions, credit card number and zip code, as well as a password for your account.
- Engage in public activities on the Services. We offer you opportunities to engage in public activities on the Services that are designed to be visible to other users and the public at large, including comments, forums, recommendations, reader reviews, ratings or any other items that you submit. Any information you disclose in your public activities, along with your screen name or ID, or any image or photo, becomes public and may be used by us for online and offline promotional or commercial uses in any and all media. Information you submit is not private or confidential, nor is it protected by attorney-client, doctor-patient, or any other privilege and (regardless of restrictions we impose in our User Agreement or other policies) it might be read, collected and used by others, including through third party search engines which may index the information you post. You therefore should be aware that any personally identifiable information you submit there might be read, collected, or used by other users of these areas, and could be used to send you unsolicited messages, mine your data, communicate with or market to you in other ways. We are not responsible for safeguarding the personally identifiable information you choose to submit in these forums and About.com has no responsibility to publish, take down, remove or edit any of your public activities or any of your submissions that are a result of your public activities. For more information, see the About.com User Agreement.
- Provide Us Your Credit Card and Billing Information. To enable payment for certain Services, we or a service or payment provider acting on our behalf may collect and store billing and credit card information.
Information We Collect Using Technology
- Device Information. We may collect information about the browser, computer, mobile phone, smartphone or other device you use to access the Services to measure the effectiveness of those Services.
- IP Addresses. We log Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, or the location of your computer on the Internet, for systems administration and troubleshooting purposes. We use this information in an aggregate fashion to track access to our Services (websites and mobile applications), and may also use it to infer your location, as also discussed in the below section titled "Geolocation Data."
- Geolocation Data. For certain mobile applications we offer, we may (or may enable a third party, including an advertiser to) request your geolocation information in order to provide you with ads, offers, search or other functionality. If you agree to such collection, we (or the third party) may maintain information regarding your precise geolocation including over time and may use it to help enable that functionality, or other functionality we describe to you in connection with the mobile application or website.
In addition, we may (or may enable a third party, such as an advertiser to) capture geo-location information (such as based on IP address data) when you access our Services, and may use that geo-location information to targets ads or offers to you.
- Analytics. We may use third parties to provide us information, reports and analysis about the usage and browsing patterns of users of the Services. These reports contain aggregated or anonymous data only, and do not identify individual users to About.com.
- Log Files. We may also automatically log certain information about your use of the Services. This information includes a reading history of the pages you view and a record of the sites from which you clicked on a link to visit ours.
Like many websites, and web and mobile services, we may use (or work with third party partners who use) a variety of technologies to learn more about how people interact with our Services. This section provides more information about some of those technologies and how they work.
- Cookies. Cookies are small files that websites and other online services use to store information about users on the users' own computers. Cookies can be used to store sign-in credentials so that you don't have to enter them each time you return to a website, or to store other information to make web viewing more customized or efficient upon future visits. Cookies also may store a unique identifier tied to your computer so that web services and advertising networks can recognize you across visits to different websites. You can configure your Internet browser to warn you each time a cookie is being sent or to refuse all or certain cookies completely.
We (or our partners) may use or support cookies for purposes including the following:
- To collect information about your browsing activities in order to deliver customized or relevant services, advertising or content to you (including regarding our own products and content), when you browse our Website or other websites or open the emails we send you;
- To relate the information collected by cookies to information we obtain from you directly or from commercially available sources;
- To work with third parties that serve advertisements (through our Services or across the Internet) or provide other services to us, such as providing users the ability to comment on content, allowing users to share content, or tracking website usage statistics. We do not control these third party technologies and their use is governed by the privacy policies of the third parties using such technologies. For more information about third party ad networks and services that use these technologies, see www.aboutads.info, and to learn about or exercise your opt-out options, go to http://aboutads.info/choices. To learn more about how third parties may collect and use information online, and how you can exercise opt-out choices regarding that information, see the below Section titled "Information Collected by Third-Parties and Your Ad & Cookie Choices."
- Other Local Storage. We (or our partners) may use other kinds of local storage, such as Local Shared Objects (also referred to as "Flash cookies") and HTML5 local storage, in connection with the Services. These technologies are similar to the cookies discussed above in that they are stored on your computer and can be used to store certain information about your activities and preferences. However, these objects are stored in different parts of your computer from ordinary browser cookies. Your browser may allow you to disable its HTML5 local storage or delete information contained in its HTML5 local storage. For information about deleting information contained in Local Shared Objects or adjusting related preferences, please click here.
- Web Beacons. We (or our partners) may use technologies called web beacons that communicate information from your Internet browser to a web server. Web beacons can be embedded in web pages, videos, or emails, and can allow a web server to read certain types of information from your browser, check whether you have viewed a particular web page or email message, and determine, among other things, the time and date on which you viewed the web beacon, the IP address of your computer, and the URL of the web page from which the web beacon was viewed. These web beacons may be used for a variety of purposes, including to analyze the use of the Services and in conjunction with cookies to provide content and ads that are more relevant to you.
How We May Use and Share the Information We Collect
Communication with Guides, Experts and other Contributors to the Services
- For more information about these third-party Ad Networks and opting out of tracking through the NAI, visit: http://www.networkadvertising.org/managing/opt_out.asp.
- For more information about interest-based advertising and opting out through the DAA, visit: http://www.aboutads.info/choices/
- For more information about disabling and controlling third-party cookies in your browser, visit: http://www.aboutcookies.org/Default.aspx?page=1
- For more information on nRelate and opting out of browser history tracking, visit: http://nrelate.com/privacy-policy/
- For more information on PubMatic and opting out of PubMatic's cookie usage, please visit: http://pubmatic.com/opt-out
- For more information on Parse.ly and opting out of Parse.ly's cookie usage, please visit: http://www.parsely.com/privacy-policy/
In addition to the above, we have implemented on our Services certain "Google Analytics" features that support Display Advertising, including re-targeting. Visitors to our Websites may opt out of Google Analytics, customize the Google Display Network ads by using the Google Ad Preferences Manager and learn more about how Google serves ads by viewing its Customer Ads Help Center. If you do not wish to participate in Google Analytics, you may also download the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on.
Other Privacy Considerations
We may transfer your information to a third party if we or any of our affiliates are involved in a transfer or all or part of our business or assets (e.g., a sale, merger, dissolution, liquidation or reorganization) or are taking steps in anticipation of such a transaction (e.g., participating in due diligence).
Do Not Track ("DNT") is a privacy preference that users can set in certain web browsers. DNT is a way for users to inform websites and services that they do not want certain information about their webpage visits collected over time and across websites or online services.
We are committed to providing you with meaningful choices about the information collected on our Websites for third party purposes, and that is why we provide the NAI "Consumer Opt-out" link and the DAA opt-out link above. However, we do not recognize or respond to browser-initiated DNT signals, as the Internet industry is currently still working toward defining exactly what DNT means, what it means to comply with DNT, and a common approach to responding to DNT.
Or you can contact us by mail at:
1500 Broadway, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10036