(last updated December 1, 2012)
At Ask.com, we respect your privacy, and we understand the importance of the information you entrust to us. We want to describe our privacy practices concerning the information collected through the Ask.com website and our Ask mobile applications in a clear and concise way. Below we generally describe what information we collect when you use the Ask service, how we protect that information, how long we retain it, whom we share it with, and what your privacy options are.
that describe what information Ask.com collects when you use the Ask Toolbar and how that information may be used. In addition, when you sign up for an account with Ask, we also collect personal information from you. We may combine the information you submit under your account with information we collect from your use of our services in order to provide you with a better experience and to improve the quality of our services.
If you have any question about our privacy practices, you can contact us via email by clicking here
or write to our Privacy Officer at:
Attn: Privacy Officer
555 12th Street, 11th Floor
Oakland, CA 94607
Information we collect about your computer or mobile device when you use the Ask service
- IP address of computer
- Browser type (Internet Explorer 8, etc.)
- Browser language setting
- Other browser information (e.g. size, connection speed)
- Operating system or platform (Mac, Windows XP, etc.)
- If you install a toolbar, when you start your browser, the toolbar sends a configuration request which also includes information about the specific release date and distribution source of your toolbar.
- If you install our mobile application, we may collect the ID number of mobile device.
Information we collect about your use of the Ask service
- The URL of the last webpage you visited before visiting Ask.com
- All of your activity on the Ask.com website, the Ask Toolbar and Ask mobile application (your queries, questions, answers, comments, search results selected, clicks, pages viewed, etc.)
to collect and store this information.
If you register with Ask, we collect additional information:
- The username and email address that you provide when you register
- Any optional profile information you provide
We use a cookie
so you remain signed in to your account for two weeks even if you close your browser. You can sign out at any time, and if you do, the cookie that keeps you signed in will be disabled.
If you have installed an Ask Toolbar, we assign a unique identification code to your copy of the toolbar, and such code is written to your computer's registry.
If you create an account with Ask, all past and future information collected about your web and mobile activity using the Ask service will become part of your account information.
You may prevent certain search activity from being associated with your account by signing out of your account and turning on Ask Eraser
, and we will not store your search activity on Ask.com while Ask Eraser
is turned on. You will not be able to submit any queries to the Ask community if AskEraser is turned on. AskEraser cannot be turned on from your mobile device. Also, even if you have Ask Eraser
enabled, the feature will not work on searches performed through an Ask Toolbar.
Why we collect information
- To respond to your queries with the best possible answers and search results
- To understand our users (their demographics, what they do on our website, what site features they like, how they use them, etc.) and improve our services
- To administer our services and diagnose technical problems
- To distinguish your toolbar for purposes of compensating third parties who distributed the toolbar on our behalf and to analyze retention and usage per distribution partner or channel
- To send you the Ask newsletter, though you can opt out of receiving it if you wish
- If you register with Ask, to send you questions from other users that you may be able to answer
- To enable us to show you ads on our website and in our mobile applications that are more relevant to you
How long we keep data about you
- We anonymize your search queries after 18 months, unless government authorities request otherwise.
- If you use our service through an Ask Toolbar, the information collected is stored in a query log for up to six months.
- We retain all Ask account profile information and activity other than search queries (e.g. questions to the community and answers to community questions) until you close your account.
- If you close your account, we retain your username and email address to prevent others from creating a profile using the same information.
- We retain all your community questions, answers and comments indefinitely. While you remain registered with us, these postings are publicly attributed to you. If you terminate your account, we no longer display your username and avatar or photo with these postings.
Data collection and sharing involving third parties
- Advertisers and advertising networks place ads (including sponsored links in search results) on our site and in our mobile applications. These companies as well as data analytics companies who service them may collect information, such as your computer's IP address, browser information, mobile device ID, and search queries, as you use our services. They also may use web technologies such as cookies and pixel tags to collect data about you when you visit our site.
- If you have installed a custom toolbar (for example, a Symantec toolbar powered by Ask), then our toolbar partners may collect information about you including the queries you submit via our site, your custom Ask toolbar or your browser as well as the search results and ads you click on and the address of the web pages you previously visited.
- We use outside vendors for a variety of purposes, such as to send you emails and messages on behalf of other Ask community members, push notifications to your mobile device on our behalf, provide voice recognition services to process your spoken queries and questions, and help us analyze use of our services. Some of our products, services and databases are hosted by third party hosting services providers. We also may use vendors for other projects, such as conducting surveys or organizing sweepstakes for us, that involve collection of information from our users. We may share information about you with these vendors to enable them to perform their services.
- We have contracts with all of these companies that prohibit them from sharing the information about you that they collect or that we provide to them with anyone else, or using it for other purposes.
- We will not share information we collected about you with any third party for other purposes (including direct marketing) without first obtaining your consent.
- We may disclose data we collect about our users when we believe disclosure is necessary to investigate, prevent, or respond to suspected illegal or fraudulent activity or to protect the safety, rights, or property of us, our users, or others.
- We may transfer your information to a third party if we or any of our affiliates are involved in a corporate restructuring (e.g., a sale, merger, or other transfer of assets).
How you can opt out of our collection of information about you
- You can turn on Ask Eraser and we will not store your search activity on Ask.com while Ask Eraser is turned on. AskEraser cannot be turned on from a mobile device and is not available for searches via toolbars.
- If you want to disable the cookies placed on your computer by advertising companies that display ads on our site to prevent them from using information about you for targeting purposes, you can use the opt-out feature at http://www.networkadvertising.org/.
Reviewing, changing or deleting information
If you would like to review, change or delete information we have collected about you, please contact the Ask Privacy Officer here
Security of the information we collect
We have implemented security measures to prevent unauthorized or unlawful access to and misuse of the information we collect, including technological and physical security measures as well as procedural safeguards. However, because no security system can be 100% effective, we cannot completely guarantee the security of any information we may have collected from or about you.
Cookies, pixel tags and mobile device IDs
is a small text file that is stored on your computer.
- Ask.com cookies enable us to recognize you (for example, as a registered user) when you visit our website and to store your preferences and settings.
- Cookies from advertising companies enable them to track your activity across various sites where they display ads and record your activities, so they can show ads that they consider relevant to you.
To understand more about cookies, click here
If you are using an Ask mobile application, we use your mobile device ID
number to recognize you when you use the application and to store your preferences and settings. Advertising companies may also store your mobile device ID to show ads that they consider relevant to you in various mobile services that you use.
A pixel tag
(also called a web beacon or clear GIF) is a tiny graphic with a unique identifier, embedded invisibly on a webpage (or an online ad or email), and is used to count or track things like activity on a webpage or ad impressions or clicks, as well as to access cookies stored on users' computers.
- Ask.com pixel tags are used to measure the popularity of our various pages and services.
- Advertising company pixel tags are used to measure the number of ad impressions and the performance of ads on our site, and to access the advertising company's cookies placed on your computer.
- Data analytics company pixel tags are used to aggregate information about our advertising and your engagement with our site for market research, product improvement, revenue tracking and advertising optimization.
We use outside vendors to help us better understand our user demographics. They use technologies such as cookies and pixel tags in providing their services to us, but do not use them to target ads to you.
Information from children under 13
We do not knowingly collect any personally identifiable information from children under 13. If we determine that a user is under 13, we will immediately delete all information pertaining to that user.
Government authorities and legal rights
If requested or required by government authorities, such as law enforcement authorities, courts, or regulators, or otherwise to comply with the law, we may disclose any information we have about our users or modify other practices described in this policy, such as how long and in what form we keep information. We also may disclose information collected about you in order to exercise or protect legal rights or defend against legal claims.
Information collected from users located outside the United States
If you are visiting the Ask.com
complies with the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework and the U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Framework as set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding the collection, use, and retention of personal information from European Union member countries and Switzerland. Ask.com
has certified that it adheres to the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles of notice, choice, onward transfer, security, data integrity, access, and enforcement with respect to personal information transferred to us in the U.S. from the following Ask.com
We self-certify compliance with:
Ask.com has further committed to refer unresolved privacy complaints under the US-EU and EU-Swiss Safe Harbor Principles to an independent dispute resolution mechanism, the BBB EU SAFE HARBOR, operated by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. If you do not receive timely acknowledgment of your complaint, or if your complaint is not satisfactorily addressed by (your business name), please visit the BBB EU SAFE HARBOR web site at www.bbb.org/us/safe-harbor-complaints
for more information and to file a complaint.
To learn more about the Safe Harbor program, and to view Ask.com
's certification, please visit http://www.export.gov/safeharbor/