Effective: October 9, 2008

We value your privacy, and we want to help make your experience with the Ning Platform as satisfying and safe as possible. We have established this Privacy Policy to explain how Ning collects Personal Information (as defined below) on the Ning Platform, and how Ning uses and discloses that Personal Information. “Personal Information,” as used in this Privacy Policy, 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.

Quick Reference:

1. How the Ning Platform Operates

Ning provides a software platform (the “Ning Platform”) that enables registered users (“Ning Members”) to create, join or browse social networks built on the Ning Platform. 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 on the Ning Platform as “Networks,” and refers to Ning Members who create Networks as “Network Creators.” Ning Members who join a Network are “Network Members” of that Network. Network Creators are also considered Network Members of the Networks they create.

In its operation of the Ning Platform, and its provision of its services to Network Creators and Third Party Application Developers, Ning collects, uses, and retains all information, including Personal Information and Network Member Data, that you disclose to Network Creators in your use of Networks. When you sign up to become a member of a Network, you are providing Personal Information to Ning, as well as to that Network’s Network Creator. Ning’s use and disclosure of Personal Information is described in this Privacy Policy. Additionally, if you add a Third Party Application to your Network or your profile, Ning may provide certain Personal Information to that Third Party Application Developer. Ning’s disclosures of Personal Information to Network Creators and Third Party Application Developers are described in greater detail under the “When Ning Discloses Personal Information” heading below.

Network Creators and Third Party Application Developers may also collect additional types of Personal Information, and may use and disclose Personal Information in accordance with their own privacy policies. 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.

2. Collection of Personal Information

Personal Information You Provide

  • Ning Member Data

    You must register for a Ning ID to become a Ning Member, sign up for a Network, or to sign up as a Third Party Application Developer. When you register for a Ning ID, you are required to provide certain Personal Information, including your name, email address, date of birth, and a password that you select. You also may create a Ning Profile and provide other Personal Information within your Ning Profile, such as your gender, city, state, and country, and a photo. You may choose not to display some of this information, causing it not to be displayed to other Ning Members. Please note, however, that even if you choose not to display Personal Information in your Ning Profile, that information will be accessible by Ning. Your Ning Profile is separate from any additional profile you may create on a Network.

    When you sign up for a Network, you will be asked to sign in to the Network with your Ning ID. The Personal Information in your Ning ID (except for your password) is provided to the Network Creator. Certain Personal Information (your date of birth, name and email address) from your Ning ID is pre-populated into your “My Profile” Page and your Ning Profile upon sign in. Additionally, any Personal Information you choose to add to any Ning Profile is pre-populated in your My Profile Page when you sign up for any new Networks. The Personal Information in your My Profile Page may be accessed by the Network Creator and all Ning Members who browse the Network.

    You also may have other opportunities to voluntarily provide Personal Information to Ning. For example, if you contact us to provide feedback or request support we collect your email address and other Personal Information that you provide. Another example is when you add a Ning Application running on the Ning Platform to a third party web site and you voluntarily input certain Personal Information.

  • Network Member Data

    Network Creators may also request additional Personal Information from Ning Members who register for their Networks. Certain Personal Information collected from Network Members will be retained in the Network Member’s My Profile Page for that Network. Network Creators may designate responses to some or all of the questions that they ask their Network Members to respond to as “private.” Network Creators may also choose to change the settings on the responses to questions by their Network Members from “private” to “public” at a later date. If requests for additional information are marked “private,” they will be viewable only by Ning, the Network Creator, and administrators designated by the Network Creator. Network Creators may also designate the Networks that they create as private, limiting Network Members to those that they approve or specifically invite. Please note, however, that while the general public can not view private Networks, or your My Profile Page for private Networks, Ning, Network Members of the Network, the Network Creator, and administrators designed by the Network Creator can view this information.

    Network Members also have access to Ning’s Address Book feature. The Address Book feature allows Network Members to input contact information for their friends, whether or not those friends have Ning IDs, and to send event and other invitations to them. Network Members may use the Address Book by entering contact information for their friends manually or, alternatively, retrieving contact information from supported email service providers. To retrieve contact information from a third-party service provider, the Network Member must provide login credentials for the email service providers that he or she has selected. That information is used to retrieve the contact information from the selected third-party service providers and is not retained by Ning. If you send out invitations to join a particular Network, the contact information that you enter for the friends that you have invited, including information that is imported into, or entered manually into, the Address Book, may be accessed by Network Creators and their designated administrators.

  • Network Creators

    To become a Network Creator, you must register for a Ning ID and must create a password or Master Key. Network Creators must supply the Master Key they have created in order to access certain administrative controls for their Networks.

    In addition, if you are a Network Creator and choose to purchase premium services on Ning (e.g., additional storage or bandwidth, or use of a custom second-level domain name), you must provide your credit card information and billing address. We use this billing information to process your transactions.

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. Ning may use a variety of methods, including clear GIFs (also known as “web beacons”), and “cookies” to collect this information. The information that Ning collects 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 Ning ID, and to store references to your Ning ID 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 content that are tailored to you, this includes providing customized advertisements and monitoring and reporting of the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. If we directly combine any information gathered through passive means with Personal Information, we treat the combined information as Personal Information under this Privacy Policy. Otherwise, we use information collected by passive means in aggregated or other non-personally identifiable forms.

Websites visited before visiting Ning or a Network might place Personal Information within the URL of your browser during a visit to that previous website. Ning may unintentionally collect that information as part of referring URL information that it collects.

Also, please be aware that third parties, including advertising servers, advertising networks, Third Party Application Developers, and Network Creators, may set cookies or use other means of passively collecting information about your use of their services. 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 Party Application Developers, Network Creators, advertising servers or advertising networks. This Privacy Policy does not apply to, and we cannot control the activities of, such other advertisers, Third Party Application Developers or websites.

4. Content and Use of Networks

When you send messages, make postings, or otherwise post or transmit any Content within a Network on the Ning Platform, others who visit or use that Network may access any Personal Information within such Content. Within your Network Member settings for each Network, accessible at the “My Settings” link, you may be able to modify your privacy settings for certain types of Content that you make available on that Network. For example, you may be able to specify that your photos, videos, and blog posts will be viewable by anyone, by your “friends” only, or only by you. We collect and maintain posts, messages, and other Content that you have posted or transmitted to a Network, as well as information about that Content and your interaction with it.

Some of this information, such as your latest activity on the Ning Platform or a Network, and the most active members of a Network, will be made available to Network Creators, and may also be made available to other members of, and visitors to, the Ning Platform as well as to Third Party Application Developers.

Because you may voluntarily disclose Personal Information when you post or otherwise transmit Content, please be careful with the information that you choose to disclose.

5. Third Party Advertisers

Ning allows other companies, called third-party ad servers or ad networks, such as Google AdSense, 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 ad servers 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. 

Ning does 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 Ning 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 should consult the respective privacy policies of these third-party ad servers or ad networks.  This Privacy Policy does not apply to, and we cannot control the activities of, such other advertisers or web sites.  Ning reserves the right to add or remove third-party ad networks or ad servers in its discretion and Ning may not at all times list such updated ad network or ad server partners in this Privacy Policy.

6. 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.

7. 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, and to develop new products and services; to prevent abusive and fraudulent use of the Ning Platform and our other services and systems; to personalize and display advertisements (via our own advertising engine or server) and other content on the Ning Platform; 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.

8. When Ning Discloses Personal Information

Ning is not in the business of renting or selling email addresses and other information, and does 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 Network Creators, Ning or others without restriction.

  • Ning Service Providers

    Ning may provide Personal Information to third parties for their use in performing internal business functions (e.g., payment processing, maintenance, security, data analysis, or data hosting) on our behalf.

  • Network Creators

    In the Ning Terms of Service, Ning requires each Network Creator to comply with applicable laws (e.g., CAN-SPAM) and not to use or disclose Personal Information in a manner that violates this Privacy Policy. For each Network that you join, Ning provides the Network Creator and the designated administrators of that Network with your email address, name, and date of birth as stored in your Ning ID, and pre-populates your My Profile Page on new Networks with any additional Personal Information from your Ning Profile that you may have provided. Network Creators also have access to all Network Member Data that Ning collects.

  • Ning Applications

    As described in greater detail in the Ning Applications Terms, when a Network Member adds a Third Party Application to his or her Network profile, Ning may disclose certain Personal Information in that Network Member’s Ning Profile and Ning ID, and certain Network Member Data, to the Third Party Application Developer of the Third Party Application. Network Members and Network Creators may opt-out of having Personal Information from their Ning Profile and Ning ID shared with Third Party Application Developers, but will be prevented from adding Third Party Applications to their My Page and their Network. Additionally, Third Party Applications may require, or may otherwise allow Network Members to provide, other forms of Personal Information. Please see the Ning Applications Terms for additional information regarding the provision of Personal Information to Third Party Application Developers.

  • Ning Affiliates

    Although Ning currently does not have a parent company or any subsidiaries, joint venture partners, or other companies that it controls or is under common control with (collectively, “affiliates”), it may in the future. Ning may share some of all of your Personal Information with its affiliates, in which case we will seek to require those affiliates to honor this Privacy Policy.

  • Legal Requirements

    Ning 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, Ning 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.

9. 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. Ning will use reasonable efforts to notify registered users of such a transfer (by a posting on our home page, or by email to a Ning Member’s email address that was provided to us, as chosen by us in our discretion).

10. 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, or which you post or transmit in any Content on a Network. To help maintain the security of your Ning ID, please keep your password secure (and, if you are a Network Creator, keep your master key secure).

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, Ning may post a notice on the Ning homepage (www.ning.com), or elsewhere on the Ning Platform and may send email to you at the email address you have provided to us.

11. Children

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) protects the online privacy of children under 13 years of age. Ning does 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 Ning learns that Personal Information has been collected from a user under 13 years of age on or through the Ning Platform, then Ning 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 Ning Member, please contact Ning at [email protected] 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 Ning does not endorse these products, we provide information about them as a public service to our community.

12. Your Choices

You may, at any time, update, correct, or delete certain categories of Personal Information that you have provided to Ning by logging in to the Ning Platform and updating the Personal Information by following the directions here. Additionally, you may update, correct, or delete certain categories of Personal Information within your My Profile Pages on individual Networks by following the directions here.

You may also, at any time, elect to deactivate your membership within any Network on the Ning Platform by visiting the My Settings page while logged in to a Network. If you leave a Network that is governed by a separate privacy policy, the Network Creator may still maintain and use Personal Information that you have provided to that Network Creator in accordance with the Network Creator’s privacy policies. Additionally, you may terminate your Ning ID account and end your use of the Ning Platform at any time and for no reason by following the directions here or contacting us at [email protected] or at the address set forth below in the “Contacting Ning” Section.

Additionally, even if you update or remove Personal Information that you have provided to Ning or any Network Creator, your Personal Information may be retained in our backup files and archives for a reasonable period of time for legal purposes.

13. Email Communications and Unsolicited Commercial Email

We may send you administrative messages, and updates regarding your Ning ID account, the Ning Platform, and Ning’s services, by email. Network Creators may also send you administrative or promotional messages to the extent permitted by applicable law and the Ning Terms of Service. When you are logged in to a Network, you may indicate your preferences regarding certain administrative email messages by following the directions here. Additionally, if you receive an email invitation from a Network to join that particular Network and do not wish to receive any future messages for this Network, you can choose to opt-out of receiving future messages from this Network by following the directions on the bottom of the email message you receive. You do not need to sign up to a Network to block all future emails from the Network.

The Ning Terms of Service prohibit Network Creators and other Members 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.

Ning offers email masking and relay when Members choose to communicate with other Members on Networks to reduce third party email harvesting of email addresses for purposes of sending unsolicited commercial email (“spamming”).

14. Third-Party Service

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 to which links are displayed on the Ning Platform or on Networks. We encourage you to learn about third parties’ privacy and security policies before providing them with Personal Information.

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 “effective date” at the top of the Privacy Policy. 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 Ning

If you have questions about this Privacy Policy, you may contact us at [email protected].

You may also write to us at:

Ning, Inc.
735 Emerson Street
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Attn: Privacy Matters