Here is the big picture when it comes to privacy on my site: while I and my advertising partners may collect certain data about my users (to be detailed below), we do not rent or sell personally identifying data to anybody. What data we do collect may be used in the aggregate to convince advertisers to buy space on this site, and data about a Web browser’s history may be used to determine what ads you see, but individually identifying data is never used. For instance, I may tell a potential advertiser that “my site has 15,000 unique visitors a day” or “87 percent of my users are in the United States,” and an advertiser may say that “people who visited these pages may have interest in the following ads”; however, I will never tell advertisers that “the following e-mail addresses are from users who have expressed interest in products like yours.”
The actual information my site collects falls into two categories: data that you send passively merely by visiting the site, and data that you send actively when you choose to use the site’s interactive features.
When you visit any page in the joshreads.com domain, my site, and perhaps some of my advertising partners, will send a cookie to your browser. A cookie is a small piece of information that your browser stores in memory; it helps identify you as a repeat visitor when you return. I use this information to determine the number of repeat visitors I have. Advertisers may use this cookie to track your browsing history, so as to tailor ads for you based on the full range of sites you’ve visited. Some advertisers may also use Web beacons — small, invisible graphics loaded by your browser — for the same purpose.
If you would prefer not to receive cookies, all major Web browsers can be set to not accept them; see your browser documentation for more details. You can also opt to specifically not receive the cookie used by Google ads by clicking here. Please note that both the beacons and the cookies only track information about your browser and browsing, and not you personally; specifically, neither can nor will collect your name, address, email address, or telephone number.
Active data. When you post a comment on the main site, the IP address of the computer from which you posted the comment will be recorded. This helps my anti-spam tools to detect comments from spammers. You can, if you so choose, also supply an e-mail address, a name, or a URL when you post a comment. Whatever name and URL you choose, and, of course, the content of your comment itself, immediately become public, and will be indexed by Google and other search engines and remain on the public Internet indefinitely. The IP address and e-mail address will not be made public in any way, and will never be sold or released to others. They will be available to me or to other site writers; we may use your e-mail address to contact you directly about questions, suggestions, or administrative issues.
When you sign up to use the forums, you must at minimum supply a user name and a valid e-mail address. You may also supply a host of other information in your user profile, some of which may be made public on the site’s Member List page; if you wish your e-mail address to remain private, please be sure that you indicate this on your profile. When you post a comment to the forums site, your IP address will be recorded. Other than the information that appears on the site’s Member List page, none of the information you supply will be sold or shared with anyone, although I or a site writer may use your e-mail address to contact you directly.
None of the information I get from either PayPal or CafePress will ever be made public or shared with anyone outside of the blog, though I may share it with other site writers or use it to contact contributors or buyers.