Amidst all of the recent brouhaha over privacy in the social and professional networking world, many of you have asked Maven about our views on the topic. The good thing about the controversy over Facebook‘s Privacy Policy is that it has shone a clear spotlight on something many of us have long suspected- that “Web 2.0” went a bit too far and that open social and professional networks are giant privacy traps.

Maven is NOT an open network; hence Maven is NOT a privacy trap.

As you can probably tell, privacy is something Maven takes extremely seriously. We understand that many of our members shy away from social networking sites due to privacy concerns, and still more are only willing to participate in Maven if they have absolute assurance that their private data will be used in appropriate ways, protected from sharing with outsiders except under highly controlled circumstances (and then only with the Member’s consent) and screened from those who they would rather not have viewing it. We built Maven from the ground up to be the world’s most secure, controlled, and private professional network.

Rather than bore you with the details of our Privacy Policy (note to Maven lawyers: see obligatory Privacy Policy link), we thought we would point out a few of the key points on how we control your private information.

Who Can View Your Profile

  • You (obviously)
  • Maven Staff (also obviously)
  • Other Mavens to whom you are connected– presently we only allow connection through the Paid Referral System, i.e. the person who invited you to join Maven and anyone you have invited that accepted your invitation. In the future we will allow you to connect to other Mavens outside of your referral “chain,” but this will be done in a way that protects everyone’s privacy and identity. We will NEVER disclose your presence in the Maven network or participation in Maven to anyone (applicable laws and government actions notwithstanding) without your express permission. Nobody will ever know you are a Maven unless you allow us to tell them.
  • Maven Clients– Our Clients use our proprietary search tools to find appropriate Mavens to consult with. However, appropriate screens and filters are put in place to prevent viewing of personally-identifiable information in your profile, in some cases, your full profile from those who should not be viewing it.

Who Can’t View Your Profile

  • The General Public– only those with valid Maven logins who fall into one of the categories above are permitted to view your profile. There is no “public search” of the Maven network.
  • Web Crawlers– sorry Google, we love you, but the vast majority of our Members would rather if we didn’t let you display their Maven profiles in your search results.
  • Your Employer– assuming, of course, that you have been truthful in setting your employment status and current employer information in your Maven profile, and that you haven’t adjusted your personal privacy settings to allow this.

We believe that these standards make Maven the most private and secure professional network in the world. Yes, anyone can join Maven, but once you join we go to extraordinary lengths to protect your personal information. In a subsequent posting we will go into further detail on how you can control your private Maven profile information (hint: visit the “Privacy” tab on your Member Profile…).