Studies

by Joseph Weisenthal




Get Out Of Town: Study Claims That Online Shoppers Actually Care About Privacy

from the are-you-kidding? dept

A new study claims that internet users will pay more for goods at websites with good privacy policies than at sites with bad ones. The study, like others before it, would imply that internet users actually care and pay attention to these things. Unfortunately, there seems to be a major disconnect between what happens in the lab and what happens in the real world, as companies routinely lose customer data without suffering much in the way of actual consequences. It's not hard to see why these studies aren't good predictors of actual behavior. In a survey, nobody would be willing to admit that they'd risk identity theft to save a few bucks on a purchase. But in the real world, where buyers often come to products through comparison shopping engines that sort by price, and the likelihood of losing one's data seems remote, consumers aren't inclined to pay much attention to a site's privacy policy. Furthermore, in this particular study, the participants were given a tool to evaluate a site's privacy policy, which is already one major step beyond what most consumers take. While it's obviously a problem that retailers (online and offline) don't see much incentive to take customer privacy more seriously, perhaps it should be asked why shoppers don't see an incentive to actually care.

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  • identicon
    Hoeppner, 7 Jun 2007 @ 6:45pm

    I check/glance over the privacy policy on a good deal of sites that I use my E-mail on. and glance over it on all sites that I shop at.

    It's scary what some of the privacy policies say...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    RandomThoughts, 7 Jun 2007 @ 7:49pm

    Pay extra no. Choose not to shop at certain sites, yes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      SailorRipley, 8 Jun 2007 @ 6:24am

      Re:

      Doesn't the second one sort of interferes with the first?

      I mean, if you choose not to shop at site X even though they're the cheapest for product Z you want, won't you be paying extra when you order it from site Y?

      just a thought :-)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Charles Griswold, 7 Jun 2007 @ 10:13pm

    Major Disconnects

    Unfortunately, there seems to be a major disconnect between what happens in the lab and what happens in the real world
    Coding Horror recently had an article related to this subject called Don't Ask -- Observe. One of the points he made was that what people say they want (and even think they want) and what they actually do want are often far different.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jun 2007 @ 7:01am

    Mayor of CCTV city doesn't like to be videod

    'Bust my ass' (a BBC3 program) shown yesterday:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/programmes/mischief/

    They took a camera into the mayor's of Durham's office and videod him. He didn't like it and ordered them to stop filming.

    So even the guy who put a huge number of CCTVs didn't like to be videod in a public office.

    People like privacy. It's why it's a fundamental human right. Even the people who claim it has to be sacrificed in exchange for security, they are the most secretive people of all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    A White, 8 Jun 2007 @ 7:02am

    Few Read Privacy Policies

    Very few people read privacy policies. It's born out in the web analytics. My bet is that it's fewer than the number that read EULAs.

    So when someone says, "I read privacy policies!", they're one of three things: accountants, lawyers, or the group of people that still have their Winnebagos loaded up with supplies from the Y2K days.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Matt, 8 Jun 2007 @ 9:44am

    Privacy Tool

    What is this privacy tool they speak of and how does it work?

    I endeavor to read privacy policies & terms of service agreements, but they are often so ridiculously long and filled with complex legal speak that reading them, let alone understanding the implications of what they say, is a difficult and time consuming task. I interpret insurance policies for a living, and MANY of these TOS and privacy agreements are more complex difficult to comprehend.

    I could drive to the store, pick out my item, and drive home in the time it takes to read one of these agreements.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Cass, 8 Jun 2007 @ 10:33am

    Cost of information

    I can't see how this "revelation" would influence companies that sell or trade lists. Math ain't my strong suit, but it would take a lot of $15/$.60 transactions to make up the thousands of dollars (or more) in revenue that each list sale often represents.

    If there's a lesson here, it might be that consumers and law makers should seek *transparency* in privacy polices, rather than more stringent privacy law. A simplified, standardized privacy statement on every Web site--as easy to read as the nutritional index on any can of beans--would help the market dictate policy norms. And if this study is right, that would probably be a more effective corporate-decision driver than any law.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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