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Privacy Policy

Updated June 13, 2011

Merriam-Webster is committed to respecting the privacy of visitors to its Web sites. The guidelines below explain how we protect the privacy of visitors to Merriam-Webster.com and its features.

Personally Identifiable Information

Merriam-Webster protects the identity of visitors to Merriam-Webster.com by limiting the collection of personally identifiable information. For certain promotions and to access certain features, such as to receive a Word of the Day subscription, we may request a voluntary submission of information such as name, e-mail address, city, state, and age.

Merriam-Webster does not knowingly collect or solicit personally identifiable information from or about children under 13, except as permitted by law. If we discover we have received any information from a child under 13 in violation of this policy, we will delete that information immediately. If you believe Merriam-Webster has any information from or about anyone under 13, please e-mail us at privacy@m-w.com.

All personally identifiable information you provide to us for subscriptions through Merriam-Webster.com is used by Merriam-Webster and its staff to process and manage subscriptions, analyze the demographic of our subscribers, or to deliver services through the site; such information may also be used by the company for prize or information-request fulfillment unless otherwise indicated. Such information will not be posted or published by us, and will be shared with third parties only for the purpose of payment processing.

If you choose to provide personally identifiable information to us, you may receive the following types of e-mails from us:

  • E-mails related to subscription-maintenance activities.
  • Periodic e-mail newsletters highlighting new features, content, and usage tips for Merriam-Webster.com.
  • Periodic special offers for additional Merriam-Webster and Encyclopædia Britannica (Merriam-Webster's parent company) products and services.
  • Periodic special offers from Merriam-Webster approved partners if you "opt-in" or give us your permission to send them.

When you provide personally identifiable information to us, you can let us know that you do not wish to receive special Merriam-Webster or partner offers. Each offer will also have information available to allow you to "opt out" if you wish to receive no further offers.

Merriam-Webster.com may also use other third-party providers to facilitate the delivery of the services described above, and these third-party providers may be supplied with or have access to personally identifiable information for the sole purpose of providing these services, such as Word of the Day,to you on behalf of Merriam-Webster.com.

Merriam-Webster may also disclose personally identifiable information in special legal circumstances. For instance, such information may be used where it is necessary to protect our copyright or intellectual property rights, or if the law requires us to do so.

Anonymous Information

Anonymous aggregated data may be provided to other companies we do business with for statistical purposes. For example, we may report to advertisers that a certain percentage of our site's visitors are adults between the ages of 25 and 35.

Cookies and Beacons—Use by Merriam-Webster; Opting Out

We use cookies and software logs to monitor the use of Merriam-Webster.com and to gather non-personal information about visitors to the site. Cookies are small files that Merriam-Webster transfers to the hard drives of visitors for record-keeping purposes. These monitoring systems allow us to track general information about our visitors, such as the type of browsers (for example, Firefox or Internet Explorer), the operating systems (for instance, Windows or Macintosh), or the Internet providers (for instance, Comcast) they use. This information is used for statistical and market research purposes to tailor content to usage patterns and to provide services requested by our customers. To delete these cookies, please see your browser's privacy settings.

A beacon is an electronic file object (typically a transparent image) placed in the code of a Web page. We use third party beacons to monitor the traffic patterns of visitors from one Merriam-Webster.com page to another and to improve site performance.

None of the information we gather in this way can be used to identify any individual who visits our site.

Cookies and Beacons—Use by Third-Parties; Opting Out

Advertisers and advertising networks use cookies and beacons to target ads served to Merriam-Webster.com. What does it mean to "serve ads"? When you visit a Web site, your Internet browser transmits a "request" to the computer that hosts the Web site (the "host server") requesting that server to send you (or "serve") the Web page that you are seeking. Most Web pages contain components that are pulled from different sources, for example, a Web page at a news site may get its weather section from one provider, its sports results from a different source, and advertisements from other servers. Our Web pages contain coding that directs your browser to fill the ad spaces on the Web pages with content served by advertisers and networks of advertisers to whom we have sold the ad spaces. The advertisers and networks use cookies and beacons to help manage ad delivery and frequency, and to identify audience segment(s) for customized advertising ("targeting"). These cookies are used to identify your IP address, so that when you visit another Web site using the same advertising network, the network will recognize the cookie as one of its own, read the information on the cookie (the record of which sites in the network you have visited) and serve you an ad that you might be interested in, based on your past visits to other sites in the network. Advertising targeted based on past Web surfing is known as "behavioral advertising."

Merriam-Webster does not permit any advertisers or networks to collect personally identifiable information about visitors to Merriam-Webster.com using cookies or beacons. Our Privacy Policy does not cover the use of information that they may have collected from you on other sites. If you would like to learn more about behavioral advertising or to opt out of having this information used by companies that are part of the Network Advertising Initiative to deliver targeted ads, please visit http://www.networkadvertising.org. Many of the same companies are members of the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising. You can learn more and opt out of receiving targeted ads from them at http://www.aboutads.info/choices.

Some advertising networks require that we specifically list their opt-out links below. When you opt-out of a network, you may receive an "opt-out" cookie so that the network will know not to assign you new cookies in the future. You will continue to receive ads from that network, but not behaviorally targeted ads. If you erase your browser's cookies, you may need to perform this process again.

24/7 Real Media http://www.247realmedia.com/privacy.html

Adconion http://www.adconion.com/us/privacy-policy/the-adconion-cookie.html

Collective Media http://www.networkadvertising.org

DoubleClick http://www.doubleclick.com/privacy/faq.aspx

Google http://www.google.com/privacy_ads.html

SpotXChange click here. When you select this option, SpotXchange sets a persistent "opt-out cookie" to prevent information from being uniquely associated with your browser.

ValueClick http://www.valueclickmedia.com/member_privacy.shtml. We have contracted with ValueClick to monitor certain pages of our site for the purpose of reporting traffic, statistics, advertisement 'click-throughs', and/or other activities on our site. Where authorized by us, ValueClick and its business partners may use cookies, web beacons, and/or other monitoring technologies to compile anonymous statistics about our visitors. No personally identifiable information is collected by or transferred to any party other than the advertiser. For more information about how the information is collected and used by ValueClick, please see ValueClick's privacy policy at http://www.valueclickmedia.com/member_privacy.shtml.

Merriam-Webster's ad server, AdTech, uses cookies to prevent you from seeing the same ad too many times. You can opt out of Ad Tech cookies by following this link: http://www.adtechus.com/privacy/

To manage or delete browser cookies, please see your browser's privacy settings.

To manage or delete Flash cookies, please use the Adobe Flash Player Settings Manager here: http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager06.html

Security

Any personally identifiable information collected through this site is stored on limited-access servers. We will maintain safeguards to protect these servers and the information they store.

Surveys

We may occasionally conduct on-line surveys. All surveys are voluntary and you may decline to participate.

Copyright

All of the content on Merriam-Webster.com is copyrighted by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, 47 Federal Street, P.O. Box 281, Springfield, MA 01102, and it cannot be redistributed or used for commercial purposes. More detailed information about Merriam-Webster's copyrights and trademarks is available on our Copyright Notice page.

Contacting Us

If you have questions about Merriam-Webster or its products, visit our Contact Us page to find e-mail addresses and other contact information for the appropriate department. To correct, update, or remove personally identifiable information, please email us at privacy@m-w.com.

Links to Other Web sites

The Merriam-Webster sites each contain links to other Web sites. Merriam-Webster is not responsible for the privacy practices or content of these third-party Web sites. We urge all Merriam-Webster.com visitors to follow safe Internet practices: Do not supply Personally Identifiable Information to these Web sites unless you have verified their security and privacy policies.

Data Retention

We retain your information for as long as necessary to permit us to use it for the purposes that we have communicated to you and comply with applicable law or regulations.

Business Transfers

As we continue to develop our business, we might sell or buy subsidiaries, or business units. In such transactions, customer information generally is one of the transferred business assets but remains subject to the promises made in any pre-existing Privacy Policy (unless, of course, the customer consents otherwise). Also, in the unlikely event that Merriam-Webster, or substantially all of its assets are acquired, customer information will be one of the transferred assets, and will remain subject to our Privacy Policy.

Your California Privacy Rights

If you are a California resident, you are entitled to prevent sharing of your personal information with third parties for their own marketing purposes through a cost-free means. If you send a request to the address above, Merriam-Webster will provide you with a California Customer Choice Notice that you may use to opt-out of such information sharing. To receive this notice, submit a written request to privacy@m-w.com, specifying that you seek your "California Customer Choice Notice." Please allow at least thirty (30) days for a response.

Acceptance of Privacy Policy Terms and Conditions

By using this site, you signify your agreement to the terms and conditions of this Merriam-Webster.com Privacy Policy. If you do not agree to these terms, please do not use this site. We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to change, modify, add, or remove portions of this policy at any time. All amended terms automatically take effect 30 days after they are initially posted on the site. Please check this page periodically for any modifications. Your continued use of Merriam-Webster.com following the posting of any changes to these terms shall mean that you have accepted those changes.

If you have any questions or concerns, please send an e-mail to privacy@m-w.com.