Privacy Policy

Last Updated: September 19, 2013

Ning, Inc. (“Ning”, “we” or “us”) is an online service provider that provides a set of services and technology applications that enable users to create their own Networks utilizing our technology platform (the “Ning Platform”). Ning is not involved in the management of Networks on the Ning Platform and is not involved in the decisions relating to the focus of Networks or the Content uploaded or published to Networks using the Ning Platform. These are your Networks and, as a Network Creator, you are responsible for managing them in all respects (including the actions, conduct, and Content of Your Members) in compliance with the Ning Terms of Service.

We value your privacy, and we want to help make your experience on the Ning Platform as satisfying and safe as possible. We have established this Privacy Policy to explain how Personal Information (as defined below) is collected on the Web site and the Ning Platform, and how that Personal Information is used and disclosed. “Personal Information” is information that allows a person to directly identify an individual, such as name or email address, and information that we combine directly with such identifying information. This Privacy Policy is incorporated into and is subject to the Ning Terms of Service. Any capitalized terms not defined herein have the meaning set forth in the Ning Terms of Service. By using the Ning Platform, you expressly consent to the information handling practices described in this Privacy Policy.

TRUSTe European Safe Harbor certification

Ning has been awarded TRUSTe’s Privacy Seal signifying that our privacy policy and practices have been reviewed by TRUSTe for compliance with TRUSTe’s program requirements and the TRUSTed Cloud Program Requirements including transparency, accountability and choice regarding the collection and use of your personal information. TRUSTe’s mission, as an independent third party, is to accelerate online trust among consumers and organizations globally through its leading privacy trustmark and innovative trust solutions. If you have questions or complaints regarding our privacy policy or practices, please contact us at privacyinfo [at] ning [dot] com. If you are not satisfied with our response you can contact TRUSTe here. The TRUSTe program covers only information that is collected through this Web site, and does not cover information that may be collected through software downloaded from the site.

Ning complies with the EU Safe Harbor framework as set forth by the Department of Commerce regarding the collection, use, and retention of data from the European Union. Ning has certified that it adheres to the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles of notice, choice, onward transfer, security, data integrity, access, and enforcement. To learn more about the Safe Harbor program, and to view Ning certification, please visit http://export.gov/safeharbor.

1. How the Ning Platform Operates

The Ning Platform enables Users to create, join or browse social networks. The Ning Platform also allows Third Party Application Developers to develop Third Party Applications for use on the Ning Platform. This Privacy Policy refers to social networks created on the Ning Platform as “Networks” and refers to Users who create Networks as “Network Creators.” Users who join a Network are “Members” of that Network. Network Creators are also considered Members of the Networks they create.

2. Collection of Personal Information

In order to create a Network using the Ning Platform, Network Creators must register for account credentials. When you register for account credentials, Ning collects certain Personal Information, including your name, email address, and a password that you create. In addition, Network Creators must provide their credit card or other payment information and telephone number (for customer support purposes). Ning or its third party payment providers use Personal Information related to your billing information solely to administer your services on the Ning Platform and to process your transactions including your purchase of Ning Product Plans, Support Services, and upgrades. Network Creators and Third Party Application Developers might use the Ning Platform to collect, use, and retain all information, including Personal Information and Network Data, that is disclosed and uploaded by Members in connection with their use of Networks. “Network Data” means all data collected from a Network or Member and includes registration information (including the Internet protocol (IP) address used by a Member at the time of registration), profile data, answers to Network profile questions, all Content and other information contributed by Members, and statistical information and analytics relating to usage and interactions within the Network. When a User signs up to become a member of a Network, he or she is providing Personal Information to that Network’s Network Creator and such Network Creator and its designated administrators will have access to all Personal Information and Network Data associated with any such Network. In addition, Network Creators will have the ability to reset Member passwords in the event that a Member loses or can’t remember it. Network Creators and Third Party Application Developers might also collect additional types of Personal Information. For each Network you use, you should check with the Network Creator regarding its policies governing its collection, use, and disclosure of Personal Information. Additionally, for each Third Party Application that you add to your Network or your profile, you should check with the Third Party Application Developer regarding its policies governing its collection, use and disclosure of Personal Information.

3. Passive Data Collection

Like most web-based services, Ning automatically receives and records information on our server logs from your browser when you use the Ning Platform. We may use a variety of methods, including clear GIFs (also known as “web beacons”), and “cookies” to collect this information. The information that we collect with these automated methods may include, for example, your IP address, Ning cookie information, a unique device or user ID, browser type, system type, the content and pages that you access on the Ning Platform, and the “referring URL” (i.e., the page from which you navigated to the Ning Platform). We also use cookies on the Ning Platform to recognize your account credentials (e.g., for sign in purposes), and to store references to your account credentials and session validators on your hard drive. We also include clear GIFs in some of our email messages in order to learn whether the messages are delivered and opened. We use passively-collected information to administer, operate, and improve the Ning Platform and our other services and systems, and to provide services and information that are tailored to you. If any information gathered through passive means by Ning is combined with Personal Information, we treat the combined information as Personal Information under this Privacy Policy. Otherwise, Ning uses information collected by passive means in aggregated or other non-personally identifiable forms. A third party research company, Full Circle Studies (ScorecardResearch) uses web beacons and cookies to collect information about your use of Ning. The web beacon and cookie used by ScorecardResearch is unable to identify the user visiting a page, and there is no personally identifiable data transmitted by, or linked to, the web beacon or cookies. You can learn more about ScorecardResearch’s privacy practices, and may opt-out from its browser-level tracking, here. Also, please be aware that other third parties, including advertising servers, advertising networks, web analytic services (such as Google Analytics) or Third Party Application Developers may set cookies or use other means of passively collecting information about your use of their services on the Ning Platform. We do not have access to, or control over, these cookies or other means of passive data collection. You should consult the respective privacy policies of these third parties. We cannot control the activities of such third parties.

4. Third Party Advertisers

We may allow other companies, called third party ad servers or ad networks to serve advertisements within Networks on the Ning Platform. These third party ad servers or ad networks may use technology to send, directly to your browser, the advertisements that appear within a Network on the Ning Platform and they automatically receive your IP Address and other log file information when this happens. Such third party companies may also use other technologies (such as cookies, JavaScript, or web beacons) to measure the effectiveness of their advertisements and to personalize their advertising content. Certain third party companies may also use these cookies to serve ads to you based on your visit to these Networks and other sites on the Internet. We do not provide your Personal Information to these third party ad servers or ad networks without your consent. However, please note that if an advertiser asks us to show an advertisement to a certain audience or audience segment and you respond to that advertisement, the advertiser or ad server may conclude that you fit the description of the audience that they were trying to reach. You may click here to visit the Network Advertising Initiative’s opt-out page, where you can learn more about its member companies’ practices and to opt out from the collection and use of information by its member companies. Additionally, if any Google AdSense advertisements are used by Ning or Network Creators, you may opt out of Google’s use of the DART cookie by visiting the Google ad and content network privacy policy located here. We reserve the right to add or remove third party ad networks and ad servers in our discretion. We may not at all times list such updated ad network or ad server partners in this Privacy Policy.

5. Information Received From Third Party Sources

We may also obtain information, including Personal Information, from third party sources. This includes certain Personal Information that may be provided to us through the installation and use of Ning Applications on third party web sites. If we directly combine information from other third parties with Personal Information that we collect on the Ning Platform, we will treat the combined information as “Personal Information” and handle it in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

6. How Ning Uses Personal Information

We may use Personal Information to operate, provide, improve, and maintain the Ning Platform, and our other services and systems; to develop new products and services; to prevent abusive and fraudulent use of the Ning Platform and our other services and systems; to send you administrative messages, and information about Networks, content, and Ning services in which we believe you may be interested; and for other administrative and internal business purposes.

7. When Ning Discloses Personal Information

We do not sell or rent email addresses and other Personal Information. We do not share Personal Information with third parties except in the limited circumstances described in this Privacy Policy. Please be aware, however, that any information that you voluntarily choose to display on any publicly available portion of the Ning Platform, or on any Network, becomes publicly available and may be collected and used by us or others without restriction.

Ning Service Providers
We may provide Personal Information to third parties for their use in performing internal business functions both for the Ning Platform and Web site (e.g., payment processing, maintenance, security, data analysis, email transmission, or data hosting) on our behalf.

Network Creators
The Network Creator and their designated administrators of that Network have access to all Network Data that is collected on a particular Network and are required to comply with applicable laws (e.g., CAN-SPAM) and not to use or disclose Network Data or Personal Information in a manner that violates this Privacy Policy. In particular, a Network Creator and the designated administrators of that Network have access to each Member’s IP address, captured at the time of registration, for the purpose of blocking further sign ups from a particular IP address and otherwise preventing abuse on a Network, such as spam and malware. Please ensure you are comfortable with the accessibility of this data before becoming a Member of a Network. Your registration to become a Member of a Network constitutes your acknowledgement and agreement that if you have voluntarily provided information to Ning or Network Creators that causes your IP address to link to personally identifying information, Ning’s obligations with respect to use and disclosure shall be the same as those that apply to any other Personal Information provided hereunder.

Ning Affiliates
We may share some or all of your Personal Information with our parent company or any subsidiaries, joint venture partners, or other companies that we control or that are under common control with us (collectively, “affiliates”), in which case we will seek to require those affiliates to honor this Privacy Policy.

Legal Requirements
We may disclose Personal Information if we have a good faith belief that doing so is required by a subpoena or other judicial or administrative order or otherwise required by law. Additionally, we may disclose Personal Information where we, in good faith, deem it appropriate or necessary to prevent violation of the Ning Terms of Service, or our other agreements; take precautions against liability; protect the rights, property, or safety of Ning, any individual, or the general public; maintain and protect the security and integrity of our services or infrastructure; protect ourselves and our services from fraudulent, abusive, or unlawful uses; investigate and defend ourselves against third party claims or allegations; or assist government enforcement agencies.

8. Change of Ownership

In the event of a change in ownership, or a merger with, acquisition by, or sale of assets to, another entity, we reserve the right to transfer all of your Personal Information, including email addresses, to that entity. We will use reasonable efforts to notify registered users of such a transfer (by a posting on our home page or elsewhere on the Ning Platform, or by email to a Member’s email address that was provided to us, as chosen by us in our discretion).

9. Security

We use industry standard security measures to protect against the loss, misuse, and alteration of Personal Information under our control. Although we make good faith efforts to maintain the security of such Personal Information, we cannot guarantee that it will remain free from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, or alteration. Further, while we work hard to ensure the integrity and security of our network and systems, we cannot guarantee that our security measures will prevent “hackers” or other unauthorized persons from illegally accessing or obtaining this information. We do not assume any liability to third parties whose information you include in your address book, contact list or any similar items, or which you post or transmit in any Content on a Network. To help maintain the security of your account credentials, please keep your password secure. If Network Creators submit certain sensitive data to Ning, such as your payment information, we encrypt that data using SSL encryption. If we learn of a security breach, we may attempt to notify you electronically so that you can take appropriate protective steps. By using the Ning Platform or providing Personal Information to us, you agree that we can communicate with you electronically regarding security, privacy, and administrative issues relating to your use of the Ning Platform. If a security systems breach occurs, we may post a notice on our homepage, or elsewhere on the Ning Platform and may send email to you at the email address you have provided to us.

10. Children

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) protects the online privacy of children under 13 years of age. We do not knowingly collect or maintain personal information from anyone under the age of 13, unless or except as permitted by law. Any person who provides Personal Information through the Ning Platform represents to us that he or she is 13 years of age or older. If we learn that Personal Information has been collected from a user under 13 years of age on or through the Ning Platform, then we will take the appropriate steps to cause this information to be deleted. If you are the parent or legal guardian of a child under 13 who has become a Member, please contact Ning at privacyinfo [at] ning [dot] com to have that child’s account terminated and information deleted. The following are some resources that may help parents and legal guardians in monitoring and limiting your children’s access to certain types of material on the Internet. While we do not endorse these products, we provide information about them as a public service to our community.

11. Your Choices

You may, at any time, update, correct, or delete certain categories of Personal Information that you have provided to us by signing in to your Network (and Ning.com if you are a Network Creator) and updating the Personal Information. Additionally, you may update, correct, or delete certain categories of Personal Information within your profiles on Networks by following the directions here. Members may also, at any time, elect to leave a particular Network and delete their content on such Network by following the directions here. A Member may also request the deletion of any additional account information held by Ning relating to such Member by contacting us at privacyinfo [at] ning [dot] com, or at the address set forth below in the “Contacting Us” Section. Please note that certain categories of content that you may have posted, such as groups that you have created or discussions that you have started, will not be automatically deleted as part of this process. This is because other Members may still be using those groups and/or discussions and any changes may make them non-functional. If you wish to request deletion of these remaining content categories (such as groups & discussions), please specially contact the Network Creator.

If a Member leaves a Network that has a privacy policy that is in addition to this one (known as a “Network-specific privacy policy”), the Network Creator may still maintain Personal Information that has been provided to that Network Creator and be able to use that Personal Information in accordance with the Network-specific privacy policy. Please check the applicable Network-specific privacy policy, if any, for more information. Additionally, any User may end its use of the Ning Platform at any time and for no reason and request deactivation of their account by contacting us at privacyinfo [at] ning [dot] com or at the address set forth below in the “Contacting Us” Section. If you are a Network Creator, you have the option to take your Network offline by signing in to your Network, clicking on “Privacy” from the “My Network” page, and clicking “Take Offline.” After a Network is taken offline, only the Network Creator can access it. All other visitors to the Network will see a webpage with this notice. Network Creators may also delete their Network, including all Content and Network Data therein, by contacting us at privacyinfo [at] ning [dot] com or at the address set forth below in the “Contacting Us” Section. We will respond to any request made under this Section as soon as reasonably possible, but in any case, no later than 30 days following your request. Additionally, even if you update or remove Personal Information that you have provided to us, your Personal Information may be retained in our backup files and archives for a reasonable period of time for legal purposes.

We will retain your Personal Information and the personal information we process on behalf of a Network Creator for as long as your account status is active or as needed to provide you services. We will retain and use your Personal Information as necessary to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements.

12. Privacy Settings

Ning 2.0 Networks – If you belong to a Network that was created prior to March 11, 2013, which we refer to as a “Ning 2.0 Network”, the following privacy settings are available on that Network:

As a Network Creator, you control certain privacy settings on your Network (known as “Network Privacy Settings”). Network Creators can edit these settings at any time by signing in to your Network and clicking on “Privacy” from the “My Network” page. Network Creators can choose from the following Network Privacy Settings:

        • Public- Your Network is visible to everyone (Members and non-Members). Anyone can sign up to be a Member. As for which parts of your Network are visible to non-Members, there are two further options:
          • Everything – Non-Members can see all pages of your Network.
          • Just the Main Page – Non-Members will be prompted to sign up to your Network before they can see any page other than the Network’s main landing page.
        • Private- Your Network is only visible to Members. Anyone who visits your Network will first be directed to a Member sign in page. As to which non-Members will be able to sign up, there are two further options:
          • Anyone – Anyone can sign up to be a Member.
          • Only Invited People – The only people who can sign up to your Network are those who have received an invitation from a current Member or an invitation link from the Network Creator or an administrator of your Network.

To further enhance Network privacy, Network Creators can set “Private – Only Invited People” (as explained above), and then also check the “Approve new members before they can join” box on the “Controls” page. The “Controls” page is located under “Members” on the “My Network” page. Additionally, Members or Network Creators have their own individual privacy settings on each Network for certain categories of information, such as profile information, list of friends and content that you post. To adjust individual settings, sign in and click on “Settings” in the right hand column. This will take you to a “My Settings” page, where you’ll find a “Privacy” link on the left hand side. You may choose from the following individual privacy options for your profile page and friends; your blog, photos and videos; and your events:

        • Anyone- Anyone who is able to access the Network can view your profile and/or content.
        • Members – Only Members of the Network can view your profile and/or content.
        • Just My Friends – Only Members of the Network that you have added or accepted as a “Friend” can view your profile and/or content.
        • Just Me – Only you can view your content.

These settings are not retroactive, so if you’d like these privacy settings to apply to content you’ve uploaded in the past, you must update the privacy settings of the individual content item you previously uploaded. Even if you’ve changed your privacy settings as described above for your profile, certain portions of your basic profile page (such as your name and profile photo), will always be visible to people who can access the Network. The remaining portion of your basic profile (such as gender, location and age/birthday), can be hidden or disabled by accessing the “Profile” section of your Settings page. Regardless of the individual privacy settings selected by a Member, please note that Network Creators and their designated administrators will still be able to view that Network’s profile pages, lists of friends and content in full.

Ning 3.0 Networks – If you belong to a Network that was created on or after March 11, 2013, which we refer to as a “Ning 3.0 Network”, the following privacy settings are available on that Network:

With Ning 3.0 Networks, there is no single privacy setting on your Network to make all pages private or all pages public. Instead, you set the privacy option for each individual page you create, which allows you to choose highly customized network privacy options. Network Creators can edit the privacy of each page by signing in to your Network, clicking on “Site & Pages” in the Social Site Manager and going to the General section of each page. This is where you can set access permissions for a page.

Network Creators can choose from the following Page Privacy Settings:

  • Everyone (Public)- This means that everyone (members and non-members alike) can view this page.
  • Members- Only Members of the Network can view this page; visitors will be prompted to sign in.
  • Featured Members- Only featured Members and Administrators of the Network can view this view page.
  • Administrators- Only Administrators of the Network can view this page.
  • Member Category- Only Members of a specific member category can view this page.

In addition, Network Creators can change the default privacy setting for all member profile pages on the Network. For example, if you want to prevent member profile pages from showing up in search results, you may wish to change the default privacy setting from “Everyone (Public)” to “Members.” You can edit the default Privacy Page Settings for member profiles by signing in to your Network, clicking on “Site & Pages” in the Social Site Manager and going to the General section of the Members page.

Network Creators can choose from the following Privacy Page Settings for member profile pages:

  • Everyone (Public)- This means that everyone (members and non-members alike) can view member.
  • Members- Only Members of the Network can view member profile pages; visitors will be prompted to sign in.
  • Friends- Only friends can view member profile pages.

Members and Network Creators can edit the personal privacy settings on their profile page to hide their age, gender or birthdate. You can also set your profile page to be visible to everyone (default), only members of the Ning Network or just to your friends on the Ning Network. To change the privacy of your profile page, click on the edit icon that looks like a pencil on the top right of your profile page. You should land on the “Profile” tab in your personal settings area. Choose the level of privacy you’d like from the “Profile Page Privacy” drop down and then update the page. Please see here for more information on how to control the privacy settings of your profile page.

As with Ning 2.0 Networks, regardless of the individual privacy settings selected by a Member, Network Creators and their designated administrators will still be able to view that Network’s profile pages, lists of friends and content in full.

13. Email Communications and Unsolicited Commercial Email

We may send you administrative messages, and updates regarding your account, the Ning Platform, and our services, by email. Network Creators may also send administrative or promotional messages to the extent permitted by applicable law and the Ning Terms of Service. You may indicate your preferences regarding certain administrative email messages by following the directions here. Additionally, you can choose to opt-out of receiving messages from Ning or a Network by following the directions on the bottom of the email message you receive. The Ning Terms of Service prohibit Users from engaging in any activity involving the sending of email in violation of applicable law, including CAN-SPAM and other laws regulating unsolicited commercial email. Violations of these policies may result in immediate termination of service and legal action against any senders or initiators of such messages.

14. Third Party Services

The Ning Platform, and Networks, may contain links to websites and services provided by third parties. Any Personal Information you provide on third party sites or services is provided directly to that third party and is subject to that third party’s policies governing privacy and security. We are not responsible for the content or privacy and security practices and policies of third party sites or services. We encourage you to learn about third parties’ privacy and security policies before providing them with Personal Information. Network Creators can enable “Social Sign In,” which allows Members to use their account credentials from certain third party services (such as Facebook, Google or Yahoo!) to sign in or sign up for a Network. As part of the sign-up process, the third party service will transmit certain information used to complete the new Member’s profile page, including name, email address and, where available, profile photo, birthdate, gender and location. Any of the transmitted profile information, except for email address, can be updated or changed during sign up. The email address can be changed after sign up. Network Creators can allow Members to share or “Like” content via Share Links or third party services (such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+). As a Network Creator, you can disable any or all of these options by going to the My Network page. For more details, please see here. If the sharing feature is enabled for Facebook or Twitter, Members can share content or post status updates to their Facebook or Twitter accounts directly from a Network. Please see here for more details on sharing content via Facebook and here for sharing content via Twitter. Each Network includes the ability to embed third party widgets, which are interactive mini-programs that can be added to a Network to provide specific services from another company (e.g., videos, music, games, etc). Personal information, such as your email address, may be collected through a widget. Cookies may also be set by a widget to enable it to function properly. Information collected by a widget is governed by the privacy policy of the company that created it. We offer publicly accessible blogs (such as the Ning Blog) and certain informational Networks (such as the Creators Network). You should be aware that any information you provide in these areas may be read, collected, and used by others who access them. From time to time and with your prior consent, we may seek and post a testimonial (along with your name) regarding your experiences with the Ning Platform. If you want your testimonial removed, please contact us any time by contacting us at privacyinfo [at] ning [dot] com or at the address set forth below in the “Contacting Us” Section.

15. International Users

The Ning Platform is hosted in the United States. If you use the Ning Platform from the European Union, or any other region with laws governing data collection and use that may differ from U.S. law, please note that you are transferring your personal data to the United States. The United States does not have the same data protection laws as the European Union and other regions. By providing Personal Information under this Privacy Policy, you consent to the use of Personal Information in accordance with this Privacy Policy and the transfer of your Personal Information to the United States.

16. Changes and Updates to This Privacy Policy

We may occasionally update this Privacy Policy. If we do, we will update the “last updated” date at the top of the Privacy Policy. If we make an update to this Privacy Policy that is materially less restrictive in our use or disclosure of Personal Information that we collected prior to the update, we will provide you with prior notice of the pending update and seek your consent by posting notice on Ning.com or by contacting you using the email address in your Ning Profile. We encourage you to periodically review this Privacy Policy to stay informed about our collection, use, and disclosure of Personal Information on the Ning Platform. Your continued use of the Ning Platform constitutes your agreement to this Privacy Policy and any updates.

17. Contacting Us

If you have questions about this Privacy Policy, you may contact us at privacyinfo [at] ning [dot] com. You may also write to us at:

Ning
2000 Sierra Point Parkway
Suite 1000
Brisbane, CA 94005
Attn: Privacy Matters