Are consumers Willing to Give up Some Privacy for Personally Relevant Content?

Are consumers Willing to Give up Some Privacy for Personally Relevant Content?

Capital One is using a technology from a personally relevant company called x+1 that allows them to serve up special credit card offers by where you live, your income, your sex and what you drive. They don’t have your name but by classifying you into one of 66 Nielsen demographic segments they believe they have a pretty good picture of you. Will consumers check at this and will members of Congress demand to know what’ going on here ?

According to some recent research women, who are the predominant household money managers of the household, want the brand to get to know them better so that they can get more personally relevant offers and promotions from brands. Articles in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal showed how they had asked some consumers to visit the Capital One site to see what X+1 got right about their segment and what they got wrong. Some of the data were spot on, some of it way off.

The data matches up web behavior with a behavior matrix and classifies people based on tracking information. Through analysis of your ISP, for example, they can tell where you live. The data is not personally identifiable in that they don’t have a name, address or phone number your just consumer number 8765 but with privacy issues gaining more and more traction you have to wonder what consumers are willing to give up to get personally relevant data.

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In the case of some brands consumers first, elect to have a relationship with that brand. In the case of Capital One, you get a whole host of tracking data the minute you go to their website. In fact, recent research from the WS shows that tracking data is used by a lot of the top sites often without people every aware that they are being tracked.

My guess is that there are going to be some consumer groups who are going to see this as a threat to privacy. However if we are going to evolve to Web 3.0, the semantic web, consumers are going to have to give up some privacy to get personally relevant content and ads. The issue becomes access to that data and the possible ability to marry data to names and addresses.

Personally, I don’t mind getting served up personally relevant ads and content based on what I want and need. If they know about me and can help me cut through all the content on the Web than it helps me become a better manager of the one thing I really care about, time management.

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