November 25th, 2008

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Changes to the LiveJournal Privacy Policy

We're amending our Privacy Policy to catch up to our current practices regarding third-party advertising, cookies, and web beacons (including HitBox, see below). We wanted to let you know why we're making these changes and what they mean for you as a LiveJournal user.

Privacy Policy Changes:

Our Policy used to include the following paragraph about Third Party Advertising:

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We have amended that section (and that section only), and replaced it with this:

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In the past, we have acknowledged the use of web beacons in various communications to you, specifically here (regarding HitBox) and here (regarding Omniture). In general, however, the proper and accepted place to disclose changes to policies around cookies and web beacons is in a Privacy Policy. This is especially true as new users who are new to LJ might not be aware of all the various official LiveJournal communities. This update to the Privacy Policy is not a change in our practices; it is simply disclosing our current practices on the site, aggregating that information in one place, and having it available to all our users.

Our purpose in amending our Privacy Policy now is to acknowledge and codify changes on our site related to data collection by ad networks, and to provide a location for all users to go to if they want to see the ad networks LiveJournal has relationships with. If you want to manage the cookies set by these ad networks, you can do so by visiting the sites listed in our Privacy Policy.


In 2005, LiveJournal had a relationship with HitBox, as mentioned above. Although we have not been using HitBox web beacon tags for quite some time, we're going to start using them again because of our new relationship with The Independent newspaper in the UK. We're doing this so we can accurately count the number of page views on The Independent newspaper's blogging and community sites that are "powered by LiveJournal". For more information on this partnership, check out the news post.

First, a bit of history: HitBox was created by the web analytics company WebSideStory, which was acquired by Omniture in October 2007. HitBox is now part of a larger web analytics service called SiteCatalyst HBX. Through its various incarnations, some anti-spyware companies have identified HitBox as malware or adware. Strictly speaking, at one point in time there may have been some cause for concern about HitBox web beacons and cookies. We feel there should no longer be any cause for alarm by users finding HitBox beacons on their pages. This is in part due to HitBox now being part of Omniture, a larger organization that we have had a successful relationship with for quite some time now.

Although we think there is no cause for alarm, we recognize that some LJ users might feel differently. That is why we have included a link to their privacy statement in our Privacy Policy. At the bottom of their privacy statement is a HitBox opt-out link:

EDIT: We're providing this direct link to our users due to previous concerns with HitBox. LiveJournal uses HitBox web beacon tags only on pages with the cobranded Independent/LiveJournal layouts (including journals, such as those ending with "" URLs), and nowhere else on the site. HitBox tags are used on those pages to ensure an accurate third-party count of the pages being served by LiveJournal that have layouts that are cobranded with The Independent. The reporting is anonymous and no personally identifiable information is transferred; they're only there to provide a count to understand unique visitors to these pages.