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Website Policies

On this page:

Privacy and security

Your privacy and security are very important to us.

SBDCNet.org doesn’t collect personal information when you visit our website unless you choose to provide that information. If you do choose to provide information to us, it is only used to fulfill your request for information.

We do collect some technical information on SBDCNet.org. We explain below how we collect and handle this technical information.

Your personal information

We do not collect personal information for any purpose other than to respond to you (for example, to respond to your questions or provide subscriptions you have chosen). If you choose to provide us with personal information—such as contacting us via email—we only use that information to respond to your message, and to help get you the information you requested.

We only share the information you give us with another government agency if your question relates to that agency, or as otherwise required by law. SBDCNet.org never collects information or creates individual profiles for marketing purposes.

While you must provide an email address for a response to any incoming questions or comments to SBDCNet.org, we recommend that you NOT include any other personal information, especially Social Security numbers.

Technical information collected and stored automatically

When you visit SBDCNet.org, we may store some or all of the following: the Internet address from which you accessed SBDCNet.org, the date and time, the Internet address of the web site from which you linked to SBDCNet.org, the name of the file or words you searched for, items clicked on a page, and the browser and operating system used.

This information is used to measure the number of visitors to the various sections of SBDCNet.org and identify system performance or problem areas. We also use this information to help us develop the site, analyze patterns of usage, and to make the site more useful. This information is not used for associating search terms or patterns of site navigation with individual users. SBDCNet.org periodically deletes its web logs. On occasion, SBDCNet.org may provide this information to third party entities it contracts with for the purposes of analyzing website traffic.

Cookies

When you visit some websites, their web servers generate pieces of information known as cookies. Cookies are commonly used to recognize your computer in the future.

SBDCNet.org uses single-session cookies to serve technical purposes, like providing seamless navigation through SBDCNet.org. These cookies do not permanently record data, and they are not stored on your computer’s hard drive. SBDCNet.org’s session cookies are only available during an active browser session. When you close your browser, the session cookie disappears.

SBDCNet.org also uses multi-session cookies to help us understand how people use the site, and how we can make it better. We use Google Analytics web analytics software, and while we do not collect any personally-identifiable information (PII), Google Analytics uses IP addresses to track what sites and search queries refer visitors to SBDCNet.org. Traffic statistics are collected anonymously and aggregated, and no information is traceable to any specific individual.

Cookies—Tier 1 (single session) and Tier 2 (multi-session without PII)—are used on SBDCNet.org in compliance with OMB Memorandum 10-22, Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies (PDF, 9 pages, June 2010). SBDCNet.org does not use Tier 3 (multi-session with PII) cookies.

You can remove or block the use of web measurement and customization technologies by changing the setting of your browser to block cookies as described on USA.gov’s Web Measurement and Customization Opt-out page.

Site security

For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, this government computer system employs commercial software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage.

Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, no other attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits. Raw data logs are used for no other purposes and are scheduled for regular destruction in accordance with National Archives and Records Administration guidelines.

Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this service are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act.

Disclaimer of endorsement

The information posted on SBDCNet.org includes hypertext links or pointers to information created and maintained by other public and/or private organizations. This site provides these links and pointers solely for our users’ information and convenience. When users select a link to an outside website, they are leaving SBDCNet.org and are subject to the privacy and security policies of the owners/sponsors of the outside website. The managers of this site:

  • Do not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information contained on a linked website;
  • Do not endorse the organizations sponsoring linked websites, and we do not endorse the views they express or the products/services they offer;
  • Cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked websites. Users must request such authorization from the sponsor of the linked website;
  • Are not responsible for transmissions users receive from linked websites;
  • Do not guarantee that outside websites comply with Section 508 (Accessibility Requirements) of the Rehabilitation Act.

We strongly recommend that you review the policies of any outside websites you visit from this site, since you will be subject to the privacy and security policies of those other sites, once you leave SBDCNet.org.

Linking

SBDCNet.org links to other websites that provide additional information and practical tools to help government agencies serve customers. We primarily link to other government sites, but will also link to non-government sites for information not available elsewhere within government. We’ll choose links that go directly to useful pages, not necessarily to organizational home pages. SBDCNet.org, which manage the site, evaluates links using the following criteria:

  • Does the suggested link point to an official government-owned or supported website, or a reliable and trustworthy non-government site?
  • Is the recommended website’s content relevant, useful, and authoritative?
  • Does it complement existing information, products, and services on SBDCNet.org?
  • Does the information appear to be current and accurate?
  • Does the recommended website’s approach to the privacy of personal information appear to be consistent with the government’s privacy and security policies?
  • Is the recommended website user-friendly, accessible, and applicable to the SBDCNet.org audience?

In addition, SBDCNet.org may from time to time organize links to government and non-government sites in order to help small business stakeholders quickly locate relevant web resources. SBDCNet.org may do this using listings of links, web guides or other formats SBDCNet.org deems appropriate, according to these selection criteria which are in addition to the linking criteria listed above:

  • Viability. Does the web resource represent a legitimate going concern that is actively selling real products or services? Start-ups are generally not good candidates for this guide unless they have high profile reference customers who can attest to the company’s proven capabilities.
  • Motivation. Is the intent of the website content clear? Is it intended to deliver meaningful information, products and/or services? Or is it only intended to collect website visitor information for unrelated uses? Phishing sites or sites intending to gather information under a false pretense are automatically ineligible.
  • Relevance. Does the site have a clear small business focus? Are its produts and/or services applicable to the special needs of small businesses? Does the company have a sales channel, sales team or other dedicated resource to address the needs of a small business?
  • Credibility. The Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility ) are applied in helping determine the credibility of a website (accurate information; organizational expertise; honest, trustworthy reputation; real people to contact; easy to understand and use site; frequently updated content; more content than ads; professional appearance with minimal errors).
  • Recognition. Is the website commonly referenced as an industry leader in listings on relevant trade websites, business publications or other generally recognized media channels?
  • Ranking. Is the website consistently ranked highly among its peers on commonly used web traffic monitoring services such as Google, Alexa, etc.?

SBDCNet.org may also embed (incorporate) content from social media websites (such as YouTube videos or Twitter feeds) to provide a richer experience for our visitors. Such tools are always used in accordance with OMB Memorandum 10-23, Guidance for Agency Use of Third-Party Websites and Applications (PDF, 9 pages, June 2010).

If you click a link to an outside website, such as Facebook or YouTube, you will leave the SBDCNet.org site and are subject to the privacy and security policies of the owners/sponsors of the outside website. If you have concerns about how these other websites handle privacy and security issues, we strongly recommend that you review the policies of any external sites you visit.

SBDCNet.org uses images that are available on the web via a Creative Commons – Attribution License. The owner of each image may be identified by following the link entitled “Photo Credit” found at the end of each article. SBDCNet.org can not grant any rights to use these images.

Accessibility

SBDCNet.org is committed to providing access to all individuals—disabled or not—seeking information on SBDCNet.org. To provide this information, SBDCNet.org has been built to comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (as amended). Section 508 requires that all individuals with disabilities (whether federal employees or members of the general public) have access to and use of information and data, comparable to that provided to individuals without disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on us.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader, Braille reader, etc.) and have trouble accessing information on SBDCNet.org, please contact us with the nature of the problem, the URL (web address) of the information you tried to access, and your contact information. We will contact you as soon as possible, and do what we can to provide you with the information you need.

Accessing documents in different file formats

Some documents on SBDCNet.org are in Portable Document Format (PDF), so you can view publications in their original format regardless of the type of computer, browser, or operating system you use to access the Internet. In order to view, navigate through, and print PDF documents, you must first download the free Acrobat Reader software. For best results, you should install version 3.0 or later. Visit the Adobe Reader Help and Support page for troubleshooting tips.

If you use a screenreader, you may want to visit Adobe’s Reader accessibility page, which has a user’s guide for accessing PDF documents with assistive technology.

Prohibitions

SBDCNet.org will not link to any website that exhibits hate, bias, or discrimination. SBDCNet.org reserves the right to deny or remove any link that contains misleading information or unsubstantiated claims, or is determined to be in conflict with SBDCNet.org’s mission or policies.

Contact us

If you have questions regarding these policies, please contact us

Photo Credit