Ning 3 Help

Member Privacy and Search Engines

Member Privacy and Search Engines
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When members join your Ning Network, they may not realize that they’re creating an online profile of themselves. Like with most content online, this profile and information may be visible to anyone, including friends, family, employers, and strangers. That’s why it’s important to educate yourself and your members about the different privacy options available on your network.

Member Profiles

Educating your members about the privacy settings of your network can help them determine what information they want to share on their profile. If you’ve chosen to have public pages on your Ning Network, their name and profile might turn up in search engine results on sites like Google and Yahoo. Although members can update their personal privacy settings, their name, photo and any information they’ve chosen to keep public may appear in search results if your Ning Network has public pages. Here’s what that looks like:

You may want to ask members to use a screenname versus their real name if sharing their real name is a concern. Members can always change the name displayed on their profile and associated with content.

Search Engines and Your Members

Profile pages are public by default so they can be crawled by search engines, which means that member public profiles will end up in search results. If you would like to keep profiles from showing up in search results, you can set profile pages to be private or you’ll want to edit your Robots.txt file to specifically block search engines from crawling profile pages. You can add the following to your Robots.txt file on the network to keep search engines from crawling all profile pages:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /members/

Renamed your Members feature?

If you renamed this feature, go to your Site & Pages manager and find the URL ending is associated with this feature. Simply replace the “members” above to whatever is in your URL ending. For example, if your Members feature can be found at indoormusicfestivals.ning.com/artists, then you’ll want to use “/artists/” in your Robots.txt file.

If a specific member would like to opt out, they can change their profile’s privacy setting or your member can reach out directly to the search engine to remove a specific profile link. You can submit this form to Google to remove a link from search results: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/164734?hl=en.

Member Content Privacy

If all pages in the Site & Pages manager of your Ning Network are completely private, member content won’t appear in search results; search engines won’t be able to crawl content in features like Blogs, Forum, etc. but keep in mind any and all activity that shows up on a public page (including the Latest Activity feed) is fair game. Essentially, search engines can crawl and display anything that a person browsing your Ning Network (but not signed in) can see. For the utmost privacy for your members, you’ll want to make your network and all of its pages private and only visible to signed-in members of your network.

Even after you edit the visibility setting of the pages on your Ning Network from public to private, or a member updates or removes information from their profile, it may still appear in search results, as search engines take some time to update. However, after a little while, the search results should reflect the new or updated information. The time this update can take varies between search engines, so you may also want to contact the search engine directly if you have other questions about content appearing in search results.

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