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Submission Guidelines

All content submitted to VPN.com must meet our guidelines and is subject to editing. Before you submit an article, you must verify that it meets these guidelines.

Before our editors can get to work, your content must meet the VPN.com Content Submission Guidelines as well as the Terms and Requirements outlined below.

General Overview

In a nutshell, here’s what we’re looking for:

  • AP Style writing, grammar, and spelling, with a few exceptions:
    • Use serial commas.
    • Capitalize the terms Internet, Internet Security, and Virtual Private Network.
    • Headings Should Have Every Word Capitalized.
  • Use serial commas & all caps titles/subtitles.
  • Advice or observations must be related to the article topic and based on firsthand experience in the industry. Avoid topics you have no clue about.
  • Include unique insights and expertise. Avoid generic advice that readers have heard before.
  • Look for specific, tactical, fresh angles on the subject matter.
  • Avoid jargon, long quoted passages, or academic-style writing. Readers prefer straightforward, accessible content that is easy to share and understand.
  • Use short sentences whenever possible. A minimum of 75% of sentences must be 20 words or shorter.
  • Use active voice. A minimum of 90% of sentences must be in active voice.
  • Include a takeaway so the audience remembers your advice. The best way to stay top-of-mind is to offer value. Don’t leave readers hanging.

Requirements

In addition to the guidelines above, every article must meet a few general requirements:

  • Your content must be original and previously unpublished. An article is considered published even if it only appeared on your blog, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Include an introduction and a conclusion.
  • ALL FACTUAL STATEMENTS MUST BE SOURCED (with hyperlinks) and trustworthy (e.g., Wikipedia is not an ideal source). Stick to data from the last 1-2 years.
  • Only links to trusted, authoritative websites are permitted.
  • If you excerpt material first published on a trusted source verbatim, use double quotes and hyperlink to the original source. (Interviews/quotes from third parties are not permitted. Read more in the “Attribution” and “Link” section below.)
  • Fact check everything before you submit it to us. We are looking for advice/expert opinion.
  • No offensive, partisan or discriminatory content. We do not run content on religion or politics, and articles with inflammatory or obscene language will be rejected.
  • No fluff. Every sentence must add value.
  • If you make a recommendation, be clear about why and offer several reputable alternatives.
  • Avoid statements that guarantee success or results (e.g., “these 3 marketing strategies guarantee you’ll make millions”).
  • We do not publish articles criticizing companies or people. Focus on giving positive, tactical insight.

Additional Guidelines

You can find more detailed requirements organized by topic, below:

Editorial Discretion

VPN.com’s editorial staff reserves the right to edit all content submitted for publication, including:

  • Line edits for grammar, spelling and syntax, as well as formatting;
  • Updates to headlines, subheadings and dek;
  • Revisions for length, appropriateness, clarity and style. If substantive edits are necessary we will provide notes and request a revision.

Our editors reserve the right to not accept content until it meets all guidelines.

Short Sentences & Paragraphs

Organize ideas into sections. Break each section into subsections if it makes sense to do so. Each paragraph should convey one idea. Sections should generally be less than 300 words.

Short sentences and paragraphs are much more effective and easier to read. Sentences should be 20 words or less whenever possible. Paragraphs should be no longer than 3-4 sentences. 

Stand-alone sentences and single words can work when used appropriately. 

NO Salesy Language

  • Wrong: “You’ll find peace of mind when your dog finally stops barking!”
  • Wrong: “You can rest easy knowing your dog’s behavior troubles are finally over.”
  • Wrong: Anything else that sounds like it could be in an infomercial

Instead, use conditional language (if, might, could, may, maybe) to make recommendations:

  • Correct: “This might be a good choice for those who want an in-home training option.”
  • Correct: “If it’s important for you to find a positive dog trainer, this may be a good place to start.” 

Focus On Value – Avoid Filler Language

Every sentence should add value to your article; ask yourself if each sentence is necessary and if it enhances the quality of writing.

  • Only add useful/valuable information. 
  • No BS’ing.
  • Wrong: “If your dog is acting up, you might need a dog trainer” (…duh). 
  • Wrong: “This company teaches your dog to walk politely. They also offer leash training.” (…says the same thing twice).
  • Wrong: Anything that doesn’t add information to the article.

Accuracy, Copyrights & Fact Checking

It is your responsibility as a writer to do your research, check the accuracy of your facts and ensure that you have permission to post or quote any copyrighted or confidential information. Our editors will verify accuracy where possible and easy to do so, but it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure the material you are presenting is credible and correctly attributed.

Plagiarism

Our editors use a plagiarism checker for every submission to ensure content is 100% original. Plagiarism is never tolerated, in any form. Do not submit plagiarized work under any circumstances, or you will be subject to automatic dismissal and we will not work with you again. If you are uncertain what constitutes plagiarism, explore the resources here.

Attribution, Credit & Sources

You may excerpt (quote), paraphrase, or reference another reputable published work to support your points and/or edify the reader provided you clearly cite the original source of that information. Use outside sources sparingly to ensure fair use. Failure to do this may be considered plagiarism.

We do not permit writers to solicit quotes or interviews from third parties. For that reason, writers should not approach third-party sources for quotes, mentions, or insights within their articles. This includes even very brief quotes, article-length interviews, or “features” of other experts/professionals. Here are two examples:

  1. DO: Obi Felton, a director at Alphabet Inc.’s X, told Bloomberg that problems like climate change represent “trillions and trillions of dollars in market opportunity.”
  2. DON’T: I spoke to an employee of X by email, who told me, “This is an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.”

For more detail on properly attributing sources, read below:

  • Provide links to corroborate any study, statistic, excerpt, or research that is not common knowledge. (If you do not have a citation, delete the statement, or make it clear it is your opinion and not fact.) Links should point to the actual information you are citing (e.g., do not link to a news article referring to a study, but to the study itself), and all data should be recent (within the last 2 years) and from a reputable source. Just link the relevant words (e.g. “a January study from Gallup,”), not the full sentence. 
  • When you quote exact material that was published elsewhere, whether in written, audio, or video form, link to the source and put the material inside double quotes.
  • Indirect quotes are when you paraphrase someone’s written or spoken speech. These do not require quotation marks, but they still require a citation. You can read more about the difference here.
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