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About.com - Privacy Policy - Version 2

Privacy Policy from About.com. The live version of this document is available at http://www.about.com/gi/pages/mprivacy.htm. This document is a part of Docracy's Terms of Service Tracker project, which tracks changes to terms of service and privacy policy documents of many of the world's top websites.

Updated February 25, 2013

We take your privacy seriously. Please take a moment to read this privacy policy, which discloses the privacy practices of the About, Inc. ("About" or "we") websites, including About.com, About.net, AllExperts.com, CalorieCount.com, ConsumerSearch.com, and Netplaces.com, as well as our downloadable software applications for supported devices, including mobile devices (collectively, the "Services"). Specifically, the policy outlines the types of information that may be gathered when you register for or use the Services, and the ways in which that information may be used.

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:

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.
  • Cookies. As further explained in Section 3, below, we may use cookies, pixel trackers, server logs, and any Internet technology in order to measure the effectiveness of the Services and any advertising campaigns, as well as to target meaningful content and ads to our users.
  • Geolocation Data. For certain mobile applications we offer, we may (or may enable a third party, including an advertiser) 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) will maintain information regarding your geolocation and may use it to help enable that functionality, or other functionality we describe to you in a privacy notice provided with the mobile application.
  • 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 data only, and do not identify individual users. Please read here for more information about these third parties and the information they may be collecting.
  • 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 Web sites and mobile applications.
  • Log Files. We may also automatically log certain usage information about your use of the Services. This information includes a reading history of the pages you view.

Cookies, Web Beacons, and Similar Technologies

Like many websites, and web and mobile service, 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 text 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 Web site, 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 as follows:

    • To collect information about your browsing activities in order to deliver customized or relevant services, advertising or content to 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 site 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 opt out of such ad networks' and services' collection and advertising practices, go to http://aboutads.info/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. Many Internet browsers allow you to disable HTML5 local storage or delete information contained in HTML5 local storage using browser controls. For information about disabling or deleting information contained in Local Shared Objects, 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 Use the Information We Collect

Providing the Services You Request
We use the information we gather about you to enable your use of the Services, fulfill your requests for certain products and services, such as sending out electronic newsletters and enabling you to participate in and renew paid services, polls, contests, and message boards. We reserve the right to disclose your opt-out information to third parties so they can suppress your name from future solicitations, in accordance with applicable laws.
Statistical Analysis
We use the information, including analytics and statistical information, to analyze the use of the Services so that we may improve them. We also use this information to generally inform advertisers about the nature of our user base.
Customizing Your Experience
We use the information that we collect to allow advertising to be targeted to the users for whom such advertising is most pertinent. We may also use this information to customize certain features of the Services to provide you with an enhanced experienced based on the type of device you are using to access the Services, and to provide you with requested services.
Service Providers
We may contract with other companies to provide services on our behalf, including credit-card and billing processing, survey administrators, technical or customer support, shipping, e-mail distribution, email service providers, data enhancement providers, list processing and promotions management. We provide these companies only with the information they need to perform their services. These service providers are restricted from using this data in any way other than to provide services for us, and they may not share, resell or use the data for their own marketing purposes.
Our Parent Company
About, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of IAC and an operating company of Ask.com. We share information we collect with Ask.com to better understand our users (their demographics, what they do on our websites, what site features they like, how they use them, etc.) and to improve the content and answers delivered on the Services and on Ask.com's services.

Communication with Guides and other Contributors to the Services

  • The Services feature content provided by people who are independent contractors and not employees of About, including content provided by "Guides." If you contact a Guide (or other contributor) directly by email through the Services (including via an about.com or aboutguide.com email domain) or otherwise then that communication is independent of the Services, and thus not subject to this Privacy Policy. About is not responsible for what our Guides may say, or how they may use information you have freely provided to them. Likewise, your communications with a Guide are not private or confidential, nor is such communication protected by attorney-client, doctor-patient, or any other privilege. For more information see our Ethics Policy and User Agreement.

Third parties may collect information about you through the Services, including through use of the technologies described above, in Section 3. We may not have access to, nor control over, these third parties' data collection practices and we do not assume any liability related to their collection or use.

For instance, in addition to our own systems, we may use DoubleClick, DoubleClick Mobile, Google, Google AdMob, nRelate (which is an affiliate of About, Inc.) and other third-party A company that provides the technology to display advertisements on web sites and allows publishers and advertisers monitor ad performance.">Ad Servers and data management platforms to serve and display Advertisements. They may use A small piece of text that is stored on your computer by the web browser. Cookies contain specific information about your activity on a website, such as your site preferences or the items in your online shopping cart. Cookies are neither spyware nor viruses, although sometimes they are detected by anti-spyware products because they can track your visits to various sites over time.">cookies, A tiny, usually invisible graphic that is embedded on a web page that allows web publishers to track simple performance data, such as how many users have visited a web page in a given time period.">pixel trackers, or other internet or mobile technology to collect non-personal and/or anonymous information about your use of the Services. In certain cases, you have options and choices about the collection and use of information by third parties on our Websites:

In addition to Ad Servers and data management platforms, other third parties, including analytics services providers and companies with whom we have affiliate or linking agreements, may collect information about you directly through the Services. They may use A small piece of text that is stored on your computer by the web browser. Cookies contain specific information about your activity on a website, such as your site preferences or the items in your online shopping cart. Cookies are neither spyware nor viruses, although sometimes they are detected by anti-spyware products because they can track your visits to various sites over time.">cookies, A tiny, usually invisible graphic that is embedded on a web page that allows web publishers to track simple performance data, such as how many users have visited a web page in a given time period.">pixel trackers, or other internet technology to collect non-personal information about your use of the Services. They may use this information to show you ads on other Web sites based on your demonstrated interests, or in some cases, your location.

Other Privacy Considerations

We may transfer your information to a third party if we or any of our affiliates are involved in a corporate restructuring (e.g., a sale, merger, or other transfer of assets).

Information from Children Under 13
We do not knowingly collect any personally identifiable information from children under 13. If we determine that a user is under 13, we will immediately delete all information pertaining to that user.
Information from Users Outside of the United States
If you are visiting the Services from outside the United States, your data will be transferred to and stored in our servers in the U.S. By using our Services, you consent to our collection and use of your data as described in this privacy policy, and acknowledge that data protection laws in the U.S. may be different or less restrictive than in some other countries.
Your California Privacy Rights
Under the California "Shine The Light" law, California residents may opt-out of About's disclosure of personal information to third parties for their direct marketing purposes. We do not currently engage in this practice. However, if we ever revise our current policy and begin to share such, you may choose to opt-out of the sharing of your personal information with third parties for marketing purposes at any time by submitting a request in writing to us here or by e-mailing us at [email protected]. This opt-out does not prohibit disclosures made for non-marketing purposes.
Compliance With Legal Process
We may disclose personal information if we are required to do so by law, or in order to (1) comply with the law or with legal process; (2) protect and defend our rights, services or property; (3) protect against misuse or unauthorized use of the Services; or (4) protect the personal safety or property of our users or any member of the public (among other things, this means that if you provide false information or attempt to pose as someone else, information about you may be disclosed as part of any investigation into your actions).

Contact Information

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy or our privacy practices, please visit us at:

Or you can contact us by mail at:

Customer Care

About.com, Inc.

1500 Broadway, 6th Floor

New York, NY 10036

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