The privacy dilemma

The privacy dilemma

By Michael Gaffney

When it comes to privacy, the needs of consumers and those of merchants are, on the surface, opposing forces: merchants need detailed information about consumers for personalization while consumers desire control over their personal information and how it is used for marketing purposes. This is, in a nutshell, the privacy dilemma.

Merchants want to know as much as they can about consumers because that information guides and directs the kinds of products to build for consumers, the messaging around those products and increases the conversion rates of those marketed to. In a 3,000-channel world, the merchant is desperate to gather and use information to exactly target a single individual. This is called personalization. Personalization is the process of tailoring communications and product features to individual users’ characteristics or preferences.

Personalization requires detailed information about the consumer. Currently, most of this information is collected without the consumer’s permission. Consumers think that they have opted in to share only a ‘little bit’ of themselves – how little we know! The advent of single sign on (“SSO”) has increased convenience while dramatically increasing privacy invasions. Using your Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin account to sign into a service creates a security risk. Using SSO makes it easy for one site to show the consumer’s actions and activities to other websites.

Using SSO opens a window to your privacy. Identity management should be a critical concern of all consumers. Online reputation is becoming more and more important, for both the consumer and for the merchant. ‘Big data’ is upon us and having correct information about consumers has an increasing monetary value.

Consumer concern about privacy is well known to be the number one issue of online consumers but consumer behavior regarding privacy is often contradictory to that fact. We claim to worry about privacy but we willingly surrender personal information all the time without really understanding where it goes and how it will be used.

How do I protect my privacy and still get the things I want on the Internet? Use a Dodoname whenever you need to register with a merchant. Since a Dodoname is not connected to any private information, there is nothing to be leaked or hacked. The opt-in persona function is your personal ‘marketing avatar’ that merchants can research and review to send offers without invading consumer privacy. Thanks to Dodoname, the privacy dilemma is solved.

(Image: Flickr, Mosier J., link)

Posted in: Blog, Persona, Privacy

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