Privacy Policy

Your privacy is critically important to us. We have a few fundamental principles:

  • We are thoughtful about the personal information we ask you to provide and the personal information that we collect about you through the operation of our services.
  • We store personal information for only as long as we have a reason to keep it.
  • We aim to make it as simple as possible for you to control what information on your website is shared publicly (or kept private), indexed by search engines, and permanently deleted.
  • We help protect you from overreaching government demands for your personal information.
  • We aim for full transparency on how we gather, use, and share your personal information.

Below is our Privacy Policy, which incorporates and clarifies these principles.

Who We Are and What This Policy Covers

Howdy! We are the folks behind a variety of products and services designed to allow anyone–from bloggers, to photographers, small business owners, and enterprises–to build and manage a website to share with the world. Our mission is to democratize publishing. We believe in powering the open Internet with code that is open source and are proud to say that the vast majority of our work is available under the GPL. Unlike most other services, because our GPL code is public, you can actually download and take a look at that code to see how it works.

This Privacy Policy applies to information that we collect about you when you use this website, and throughout the document we’ll refer to this website and associated services collectively as “Services.”

Below we explain how we collect, use, and share information about you, along with the choices that you have with respect to that information.

Information We Collect

We only collect information about you if we have a reason to do so–for example, to provide our Services, to communicate with you, or to make our Services better.

We collect information in three ways: if and when you provide information to us, automatically through operating our Services, and from outside sources. Let’s go over the information that we collect.

Information You Provide to Us

It’s probably no surprise that we collect information that you provide to us. The amount and type of information depends on the context and how we use the information. Here are some examples:

  • Basic Account Information: We ask for basic information from you in order to set up your account. For example, we require individuals who sign up for an email subscription to provide their email address–and that’s it. You may provide us with more information–like your name–but we don’t require that information to create an account.
  • Public Profile Information: If you have an account with us, we collect the information that you provide for your public profile – so please keep that in mind when deciding what information you would like to include.
  • Transaction and Billing Information: If you buy something from us–you will provide additional personal and payment information that is required to process the transaction and your payment, such as your name, credit card information, and contact information.
  • Communications With Us (Hi There!): You may also provide us information when you email us, add comments to a post, or provide feedback through a contact form.

Information We Collect Automatically

We also collect some information automatically:

  • Log Information: Like most online service providers, we collect information that web browsers, mobile devices, and servers typically make available, such as the browser type, IP address, unique device identifiers, language preference, referring site, the date and time of access, operating system, and mobile network information. We collect log information when you use our Services.
  • Usage Information: We collect information about your usage of our Services. For example, we collect information about the actions that registered users perform on the site–in other words, who did what, when and to what thing on a site (e.g., [username] added comment [title of comment]” at [time/date]). We also collect information about what happens when you use our Services (e.g., page views and interactions with other parts of our Services) along with information about your device (e.g., screen size, name of cellular network, and mobile device manufacturer). We use this information to, for example, provide our Services to you, as well as get insights on how people use our Services, so we can make our Services better.
  • Location Information: We may determine the approximate location of your device from your IP address. We collect and use this information to, for example, calculate how many people visit our Services from certain geographic regions. We may also collect information about your precise location via our mobile apps (when, for example, you post a photograph with location information) if you allow us to do so through your mobile device operating system’s permissions.
  • Information from Cookies & Other Technologies: A cookie is a string of information that a website stores on a visitor’s computer, and that the visitor’s browser provides to the website each time the visitor returns. Pixel tags (also called web beacons) are small blocks of code placed on websites and emails. We use cookies and other technologies like pixel tags to help us identify and track visitors, usage, and access preferences for our Services, as well as track and understand email campaign effectiveness. For more information about our use of cookies and other technologies for tracking, including how you can control the use of cookies, please see our Cookie Policy.

Information We Collect from Other Sources

We may also get information, such as a mailing address, from third party services about individuals who are not yet our users (…but we hope will be!), which we may use, for example, for marketing and advertising purposes like postcards and other mailers advertising our services.

How And Why We Use Information

Purposes for Using Information

We use information about you as mentioned above and for the purposes listed below:

  • To provide our Services–for example, to set up and maintain your account, host your website, backup and restore your website, or charge you for any of our paid Services;
  • To further develop and improve our Services–for example by adding new features that we think our users will enjoy or will help them to create and manage their websites more efficiently;
  • To monitor and analyze trends and better understand how users interact with our Services, which helps us improve our Services and make them easier to use;
  • To measure, gauge, and improve the effectiveness of our advertising, and better understand user retention and attrition–for example, we may analyze how many individuals purchased a plan after receiving a marketing message or the features used by those who continue to use our Services after a certain length of time;
  • To monitor and prevent any problems with our Services, protect the security of our Services, detect and prevent fraudulent transactions and other illegal activities, fight spam, and protect our intellectual property rights, which may result in us declining a transaction or the use of our Services;
  • To communicate with you, for example through an email, about our offers and promotions we think will be of interest to you, solicit your feedback, or keep you up to date on our products; and
  • To personalize your experience using our Services, target our marketing messages to groups of our users (for example, those who have bought something from us in the past.

Legal Bases for Collecting and Using Information

A note here for those in the European Union about our legal grounds for processing information about you under EU data protection laws, which is that our use of your information is based on the grounds that:

(1) The use is necessary in order to fulfill our commitments to you and administer your account–for example, in order to enable access to our website on your device; or

(2) The use is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation; or

(3) The use is necessary in order to protect your vital interests or those of another person; or

(4) We have a legitimate interest in using your information–for example, to provide and update our Services, to improve our Services so that we can offer you an even better user experience, to safeguard our Services, to communicate with you, to better understand user retention and attrition, to monitor and prevent any problems with our Services, and to personalize your experience; or

(5) You have given us your consent–for example before we place certain cookies on your device and access and analyze them later on, as described in our Cookie Policy.

Sharing Information

How We Share Information

We do not sell our users’ private personal information.

We share information about you in the limited circumstances spelled out below and with appropriate safeguards on your privacy:

  • Subsidiaries, Employees, and Independent Contractors: We may disclose information about you to our subsidiaries, our employees, and individuals who are our independent contractors that need to know the information in order to help us provide our Services or to process the information on our behalf. We require our subsidiaries, employees, and independent contractors to follow this Privacy Policy for personal information that we share with them.
  • Third Party Vendors: We may share information about you with third party vendors who need to know information about you in order to provide their services to us, or to provide their services to you or your site. This group includes vendors that help us provide our Services to you (like payment providers that process your credit and debit card information, fraud prevention services that allow us to analyze fraudulent payment transactions, postal and email delivery services that help us stay in touch with you, customer chat and email support services that help us communicate with you, registrars, registries, those that assist us with our marketing efforts (e.g. by providing tools for identifying a specific marketing target group or improving our marketing campaigns), those that help us understand and enhance our Services (like analytics providers), and companies that make products available on our website, who may need information about you in order to, for example, provide technical or other support services to you. We require vendors to agree to privacy commitments in order to share information with them. Other vendors are listed in our more specific policies (e.g. our Cookie Policy).
  • Legal Requests: We may disclose information about you in response to a subpoena, court order, or other governmental request. For more information on how we respond to requests for information about WordPress.com users, please see our Legal Guidelines.
  • To Protect Rights, Property, and Others: We may disclose information about you when we believe in good faith that disclosure is reasonably necessary to protect the property or rights of ourselves, third parties, or the public at large.
  • Business Transfers: In connection with any merger, sale of company assets, or acquisition of all or a portion of our business by another company, or in the unlikely event we g out of business or enters bankruptcy, user information would likely be one of the assets that is transferred or acquired by a third party. If any of these events were to happen, this Privacy Policy would continue to apply to your information and the party receiving your information may continue to use your information, but only consistent with this Privacy Policy.
  • With Your Consent: We may share and disclose information with your consent or at your direction. For example, we may share your information with third parties with which you authorize us to do so, such as the social media services if you use our social login feature.
  • Aggregated or De-Identified Information: We may share information that has been aggregated or reasonably de-identified, so that the information could not reasonably be used to identify you. For instance, we may publish aggregate statistics about the use of our Services and we may share a hashed version of your email address to facilitate customized ad campaigns on other platforms.

Information Shared Publicly

Information that you explicitly choose to make public may be disclosed publicly.

Public information may also be indexed by search engines or used by third parties.

Please keep all of this in mind when deciding what you would like to share.

How Long We Keep Information

We generally discard information about you when we no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collect and use it–which are described in the section above on How and Why We Use Information–and we are not legally required to continue to keep it.

For example, we keep the web server logs that record information about a visitor to our website, such as the visitor’s IP address, browser type, and operating system, for approximately 180 days. We retain the logs for this period of time in order to, among other things, analyze traffic to our website and investigate issues if something goes wrong on one of our websites.

As another example, when you send us an email or other feedback, we may hold onto this information for as long as it remains useful to help you with your query or improve our services.

Security

While no online service is 100% secure, we work very hard to protect information about you against unauthorized access, use, alteration, or destruction, and take reasonable measures to do so, such as monitoring our Services for potential vulnerabilities and attacks.

Choices

You have several choices available when it comes to information about you:

  • Limit the Information that You Provide: If you have an account with us, you can choose not to provide the optional account information, profile information, and transaction and billing information. Please keep in mind that if you do not provide this information, certain features of our Services–for example, paid, premium themes–may not be accessible.
  • Limit Access to Information On Your Mobile Device: Your mobile device operating system should provide you with the ability to discontinue our ability to collect stored information or location information via our mobile apps. If you do so, you may not be able to use certain features (like adding a location to a photograph, for example).
  • Opt-Out of Electronic Communications: You may opt out of receiving promotional messages from us. Just follow the instructions in those messages. If you opt out of promotional messages, we may still send you other messages, like those about your account and legal notices.
  • Set Your Browser to Reject Cookies: At this time, We do not respond to “do not track” signals across all of our Services. However, you can usually choose to set your browser to remove or reject browser cookies before using our website, with the drawback that certain features of the website may not function properly without the aid of cookies.
  • Close Your Account: While we’d be very sad to see you go, if you no longer want to use our Services, you can close your account. Please keep in mind that we may continue to retain your information after closing your account, as described in How Long We Keep Information above–for example, when that information is reasonably needed to comply with (or demonstrate our compliance with) legal obligations such as law enforcement requests, or reasonably needed for our legitimate business interests.

Your Rights

If you are located in certain countries, including those that fall under the scope of the European General Data Protection Regulation (AKA the “GDPR”), data protection laws give you rights with respect to your personal data, subject to any exemptions provided by the law, including the rights to:

  • Request access to your personal data;
  • Request correction or deletion of your personal data;
  • Object to our use and processing of your personal data;
  • Request that we limit our use and processing of your personal data; and
  • Request portability of your personal data.

You can usually access, correct, or delete your personal data using your account settings and tools that we offer, but if you aren’t able to do that, or you would like to contact us about one of the other rights, scroll down to How to Reach Us to, well, find out how to reach us.

EU individuals also have the right to make a complaint to a government supervisory authority.

Controllers and Responsible Companies

Our Services are worldwide and we are responsible for processing your information in relation to your usage of this website.

How to Reach Us

If you have a question about this Privacy Policy, or you would like to contact us about any of the rights mentioned in the Your Rights section above, please contact us.

Other Things You Should Know (Keep Reading!)

Transferring Information

Because our Services are offered worldwide, the information about you that we process when you use the Services in the EU may be used, stored, and/or accessed by individuals operating outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who work for us, or with us as third party data processors. This is required for the purposes listed in the How and Why We Use Information section above. When providing information about you to entities outside the EEA, we will take appropriate measures to ensure that the recipient protects your personal information adequately in accordance with this Privacy Policy as required by applicable law. These measures include:

  • In the case of US based entities, entering into European Commission approved standard contractual arrangements with them, or ensuring they have signed up to the EU-US Privacy Shield; or
  • In the case of entities based in other countries outside the EEA, entering into European Commission approved standard contractual arrangements with them.

You can ask us for more information about the steps we take to protect your personal information when transferring it from the EU.

Analytics Services Provided by Others

Third parties may also provide analytics services via our Services. These analytics providers may set tracking technologies (like cookies) to collect information about your use of our Services and across other websites and online services. These technologies allow these third parties to recognize your device to compile information about you or others who use your device. This information allows us and other companies to, among other things, analyze and track usage, and determine the popularity of certain content. Please note this Privacy Policy only covers our collection of information and does not cover the collection of information by any third party advertisers or analytics providers.

Privacy Policy Changes

Although most changes are likely to be minor, we may change its Privacy Policy from time to time. We encourage visitors to frequently check this page for any changes to our Privacy Policy. If we make changes, we will notify you by revising the change log below, and, in some cases, we may provide additional notice (such as sending you a notification through email or your dashboard). Your further use of the Services after a change to our Privacy Policy will be subject to the updated policy.

That’s it! Thanks for reading.

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