Clicking on Trust
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Companies' privacy policies and reputations are the two biggest influences on consumer trust when providing personal information online. That is the major conclusion of a recent study just released by Vancouver-based Internet solutions provider Columbus Group and Canadian market research firm Ipsos-Reid.
Although the study took a look at Canadian Internet users, it is fair to say that the results can also be of help to companies outside of Canada.
One of the interesting results of the study is that a fairly large number of Internet users, 82%, said that they ey had provided personal information to a Web site. However, among those who have shared personal information with Web sites, the reasons for doing so are varied.
For example, 62% have completed site registration forms to access premium content, 57% have entered personal information for purchasing goods or services, and 55% have provided online contest entries.
However, the study did not just reveal positive information. The Columbus Group/Ipsos Reid study also found that as more Web sites are gathering information from users, the misuse of this information is becoming more apparent.
According to a survey in the study, 18% of Internet users who have shared personal information claim to have experienced a breach of their online privacy ranging from unwanted e-mail marketing to the transfer of their information to a third party.
Columbus Group's Privacy Advisor Christopher Burke is encouraged by the findings. "For e-business to succeed, companies have to establish trusting relationships with their online customers. This survey has provided us with more evidence that online privacy concerns can be mitigated though clear and open communication," says Burke.