Adds Privacy Link To Home Page, Hopes People Care

Google recently came under fire for not providing a link to its privacy policy right from its home page, as Yahoo and Microsoft do., apparently hoping to ride the issue to some consumer gains, has emailed us that it now proudly sports a privacy link on its home page, along with some new privacy smart answers.

C’mon Google, just add the link — seven letters, PRIVACY, won’t take up much space. And it will at least stop others from riding you on the issue this way, even if practically no one will click on the link.

More from the Ask email, below:

An Open Letter to the Web Community and our Users:

Several weeks ago, a group of privacy advocates contacted a major company in the search marketplace, requesting some key changes to its website to make weblinks to its privacy policy more accessible and conspicuous. This included placing a “Privacy” link directly on the homepage that would, in one click, serve up the company’s privacy policy to the user.

In their June 3rd letter requesting the change, the privacy groups stated that such a move represents “…a commitment by a commercial website to inform users about the company’s privacy practices.” agrees.

At Ask, we take our commitment to user privacy and data protection very seriously. We’ve demonstrated this not just through words, but through deeds and actions. We were the first major search company to announce that we would be placing privacy tools directly in the hands of our users, as we said we would do in July 2007. Then, we did it: we launched AskEraser in December 2007. Ask remains the only major search company to develop and deploy a privacy protection tool that that empowers web users to make decisions as to data retention by Ask. The AskEraser tool is right there on our homepage, a one-step mechanism to deleting a users’ search data from servers.

Now, we’re going several steps further.

As of today, has added a direct link to our privacy policy via a “Privacy” link prominently placed right on our homepage. It is only one of four non-search related weblinks on our homepage. We’ve also made sure that the “Privacy” link appears on the landing pages across most of Ask’s verticals as well, which cover almost all of Ask’s search traffic.

In addition to this important and timely step, Ask has also added a conspicuous link to our privacy policy right on our Ask “About” page, which is one click off our homepage.

At the same time, we realized we can – and should – do more to inform our users about the importance of privacy on Ask, and in general on the web. And we have. We are developing and finalizing two separate Ask “Smart Answer” search results pages, so when a user goes to and types in “Ask Privacy” or “Privacy” in the search box, they will get served up a specially designed, robust, and comprehensive results page that is a one-stop shop of answers on both Ask’s privacy policies and actions (including AskEraser), as well as on privacy in general.

No one required that we take any of these steps. We took a look at our webpages, and realized we could make some key improvements when it came to privacy links on our service. It’s simply the right thing to do for the information and awareness of our users.

We strongly encourage others in the search marketplace and online industry to do the same.

By the way, as a result of the change, in the UK no longer sports the US link necessary to get to its US site after it directs you to the UK one. Yes, being in the UK, I find that annoying.

Related Topics: Ask: Business Issues | Ask: Promotions | Ask: Web Search | Channel: Industry | Legal: Privacy


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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