Flixn Privacy Policy Review

Chris was interested in me reviewing “Flixn”, and the results are below.  As an aside, Chris started a new site called YouMakeMedia – check it out – it’s very young, but it’s off to a pretty good start.  Also check out the Featured Video in the sidebar – it’s an interesting short flick.


My comments are embedded below, in red text (if you are reading this with an RSS reader, you may need to visit my site to see the colored text).  As always, these are just my opinions – your mileage may vary.

In general, Flixn doesn’t gather a ton of information, like your name or address – they aren’t a social-networking site.  Based on their “Privacy Policy”, I’m glad. 

(I think I need to find some type of rating system for Privacy Policies – like a Five-Star to One-Star system or something.  It’ll be difficult determining fair metrics that apply across a variety of sites.  I’ll have to think about that some more.)


Flixn, Inc. (“Flixn”) recognizes that its customers, visitors, users, and others who use flixn.com or other web sites owned or operated by Flixn (the “Flixn Sites”) (collectively or individually “Users”) value their privacy. This Privacy Notice details important information regarding the use and disclosure of User information collected on the Flixn Sites. Flixn provides this Privacy Notice to help you make an informed decision about whether to use or continue using the Flixn Sites.

This Privacy Notice is incorporated into and is subject to the Flixn Terms of Use. (Note that by tying this to the Terms of Use, they are making this more of a legal document – normally Privacy Policy is focused more on what the company promises to do for it’s users than a contract) Your use of the Flixn Sites and any personal information you provide on the Flixn Sites remains subject to the terms of this Privacy Notice and our Terms of Use.

Please note that any video, image, or other content posted at the direction of Users onto the Flixn Sites becomes published content and is not considered personally identifiable information subject to this Privacy Notice.  This is actually a huge problem – basically they are stating that anything you upload, or type on the site is considered to not have any personally identifiable information – as far as they are concerned.  Basically this is their way of trying to remove ANY liability for maintaining your privacy.

The Information Flixn Collects

Cookies Information: When you visit the Flixn Sites or Flixn Hosted API, we may send one or more cookies – a small text file containing a string of alphanumeric characters – to your computer that uniquely identifies your browser. Flixn may use both session cookies and persistent cookies. A persistent cookie remains after you close your browser. Persistent cookies may be used by your browser on subsequent visits to the site. Persistent cookies can be removed by following your web browser help file directions. A session cookie is temporary and disappears after you close your browser. You can reset your web browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, some features of the Flixn Sites may not function properly if the ability to accept cookies is disabled. I really wish people would stop using this “may not function” line without providing details as to what specifically will not function.

Log File Information: When you use the Flixn Sites or Flixn Hosted API, our servers automatically record certain information that your web browser sends whenever you visit any website. These server logs may include information such as your web request, Internet Protocol (“IP”) address, browser type, browser language, referring / exit pages and URLs, platform type, number of clicks, domain names, landing pages, pages viewed and the order of those pages, the amount of time spent on particular pages, the date and time of your request, and one or more cookies that may uniquely identify your browser.

Clear GIFs Information: When you use the Flixn Sites or Flixn Hosted API, we may employ “clear GIFs” (a.k.a. Web Beacons) which are used to track the online usage patterns of our Users anonymously (i.e., in a non-personally-identifiable manner). In addition, we may also use clear GIFs in HTML-based emails sent to our users to track which emails are opened by recipients. DANGER! Clear GIFs are bad – and they are using them in email as well!  This is clearly a case of the company spying on its users.  If they are not trying to hide the fact they are spying, then why employ clear GIFs? 

JavaScript Information: When you use the Flixn Sites or Flixn Hosted API, we may utilize JavaScript to collect information about your web browser. This information may consist of but is not limited to your browser type and language, platform type, domain name, screen resolution and browser plugin versions.

Any personal information or video content that you voluntarily disclose on the Flixn Sites becomes publicly available and can be collected and used by others. Any videos that you submit to the Flixn Sites may be redistributed through the internet and other media channels, and may be viewed by the general public.

We may use both your personally identifiable information and certain non-personally-identifiable information (such as anonymous User usage data, cookies, IP addresses, browser type, clickstream data, etc.) to improve the quality and design of the Flixn Sites and to create new features, promotions, functionality, and services by storing, tracking, and analyzing User preferences and trends.

We use cookies, clear gifs, javascript and log file information to: (a) provide custom, personalized content and information; (b) monitor the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns; (c) monitor aggregate metrics such as total number of visitors, pages viewed, etc.

When Flixn Discloses Information
We provide personally identifiable information and non-personally-identifiable information to our subsidiaries, affiliated companies, or other businesses or persons for the purpose of processing such information on our behalf. We require that these parties agree to process such information in compliance with our privacy policy, and we use reasonable efforts to limit their use of such information and to use other appropriate confidentiality and security measures.

We do share non-personally-identifiable information (such as anonymous User usage data, referring / exit pages and URLs, platform types, number of clicks, etc.) with interested third-parties to assist them in understanding the usage patterns for certain content, services, advertisements, promotions, and/or functionality on the Flixn Sites.

We may release personally identifiable information and/or non-personally-identifiable information if required to do so by law, or in the good-faith belief that such action is necessary to comply with state and federal laws (such as U.S. Copyright Law) or respond to a court order, subpoena, or search warrant.

Flixn also reserves the right to disclose personally identifiable information and/or non-personally-identifiable information that Flixn believes, in good faith, is appropriate or necessary to enforce our Terms of Use, take precautions against liability, to investigate and defend itself against any third-party claims or allegations, to assist government enforcement agencies, to protect the security or integrity of our web site, and to protect the rights, property, or personal safety of Flixn, our Users or others.  Basically they are telling the user that they will use whatever data they get in any manner they decide to use it, whether it’s personally identifiable data or not.  I don’t particularly like the fact that they seem so willing to share personally identifiable data with others, but at least they are being honest about it and telling you (and yes, I think this is different than clear GIFs because the intent of clear GIFs is that you don’t know they are there).

Third-party Advertisers, Links to Other Sites
Flixn allows other companies, called third-party ad servers or ad networks, to serve advertisements within the Flixn Sites and/or Flixn Video Player. These third-party ad servers or ad networks use technology to send, directly to your browser, the advertisements and links that appear on the Flixn Sites or within the Flixn Video Player. They may receive your IP address when this happens. They may also use other technologies (such as cookies, JavaScript, or Web Beacons) to measure the effectiveness of their advertisements and to personalize the advertising content you see.  They WILL receive your IP address.  You can bank on it!

Our Commitment To Data Security
Flixn makes commercially reasonable efforts to ensure the security of our systems. However, please note that this is not a guarantee that personally identifiable information may not be accessed, disclosed, altered, or destroyed by breach of any of our physical, technical, or managerial safeguards.  And don’t forget – they may just decide to share the data with anyone in accordance with the When Flixn Discloses Information section above!

Our Commitment To Childrens’ Privacy

Protecting the privacy of young children is especially important. For that reason, Flixn does not knowingly collect or maintain personally identifiable information or non-personally-identifiable information on the Flixn Sites from persons under 13 years of age, and no part of our website is directed to persons under 13. If you are under 13 years of age, then please do not use or access the Flixn Sites at any time or in any manner.  Of course they do absolutely nothing to prevent children from using the site – this is just here to cover their butt’s if they have an issue with someone under-age using the site.

Special Note to International Users
The Flixn Sites are hosted in the United States and are intended for and directed to Users in the United States. If you are a User accessing the Flixn Sites from the European Union, Asia, or any other region with laws or regulations governing personal data collection, use, and disclosure, that differ from United States laws, please be advised that through your continued use of the Flixn Sites, which are governed by U.S. law, this Privacy Notice, and our Terms of Use, you are transferring your personal information to the United States and you consent to that transfer. All your data belong to U.S.

In the Event of Merger, Sale, or Bankruptcy

In the event that Flixn is acquired by or merged with a third party entity, we reserve the right, in any of these circumstances, to transfer or assign the information we have collected from our Users as part of such merger, acquisition, sale, or other change of control. In the unlikely event of our bankruptcy, insolvency, reorganization, receivership, or assignment for the benefit of creditors, or the application of laws or equitable principles affecting creditors’ rights generally, we may not be able to control how your personal information is treated, transferred, or used.  Since they’ve already admitted they may do just about anything they damn well please with your data, this doesn’t mean much – but normally protections are in place for your data even in the event of a bankruptcy, etc.

Changes and updates to this Privacy Notice

This Privacy Notice may be revised periodically and this will be reflected by the “effective date” below. Please revisit this page to stay aware of any changes. Your continued use of the Flixn Sites constitutes your agreement to this Privacy Notice and any future revisions. I never like it when the user is expected to check back and find changes to the Privacy Policy.  Any change to the Privacy Policy should be noted prominently on the sites main page, or users should be notified via email.

Date Last Modified:
This Privacy Notice was last modified September 05, 2006.


  1. I would like a completely objective view of the terms… If you’ve ever read a terms of use doc, you’d know that all of them pretty much say the same thing. It’s the company’s right to protect their own rear to avoid a lawsuit, wouldn’t you if you had your own company? It’s not the case that these companies innately have bad intentions. They just have a lot to lose

  2. Well done, Paul, well done!


  3. Ok.  added TOU-PP page to my blog!

  4. Deannie – great suggestion!  No reason the big-box stores should be left out of the fun!  Blockbuster is on my list (actually I may do a comparison with them and NetFlix – we’ll see what it looks like after I get into it)


  5. Wow. You have really opened my eyes to the importance of REALLY reading these things moving forward. I just didn’t appreciate just how much of my data I potentially can be giving away on a regular basis for my failure to just PAY ATTENTION. Hmm, I need a new BlockBuster membership…would you mind reviewing what they are going to do with all the personal data I give them by joining? 🙂 deannie

  6. Thanks for the write-up!  Great to see the terms broken down…  I’d ask for YouTube, but I think that BoingBoing has already torn them a new one.  Plus I try not to use it so it really doesn’t affect me.

  7. WTF?  That stands for "Where’s the formula!?!?!?" – something I screamed often at 3am when my kids were very young :)I don’t have a privacy policy because I’m not sure why I need one lazy!Really though, I guess even blogs should have something, even if it’s as simple as,

    "I can’t control what happens to what you type in comments after you submit them.  This site may go away or change to a lesbian-mud wrestling midget coverage site at any time"Rob

  8. Hmm…  This whole thing inspired me to add a ‘Privacy Policy and Terms of Use’-page to my blog as well. Once I have it up, would you scrutinize it for me?Btw… where is YOUR Privacy Policy for this site? Which is publically accessible, including its ‘wtf’ category, even to kids younger than 13! ;-)(just pulling your leg .. as usual .. SOMEONE’s got to do it!)