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ECnow.com 1999 trend #01: "While consumer-based security concerns continue to decrease, privacy concerns will increase leading companies for focus on the non-monetary forms of currency (time, attention, trust and convenience)"
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Prediction: While consumer-based security concerns continue to decrease, privacy
concerns will increase leading companies for focus on the non-monetary forms of
currency (time, attention, trust and convenience)
As we are mid-way through the last business quarter of the 20th century, ECnow.com's number one top trend prediction for 1999 is only partially on target. This prediction is that "while consumer-based security concerns continue to decrease, privacy concerns will increase, leading companies to focus on the non-monetary forms of currency (time, attention, trust and convenience)". In short, security concerns have decreased, privacy concerns have increased; however, not a lot of attention is being paid to the non-monetary forms of currency.
There are a number of organizations that are focused on privacy. See the chart below:
Privacy sites worth visiting:
As the pioneer in getting businesses to adopt Web privacy practices, TRUSTe appears to be the industry leader (see the feature article this month by Dave Spear).
It is clear from readers' comments this month that there is still a lot of concern and disagreement about the importance of Web security and privacy. More importantly, there are a number of readers who feel that the average consumer does not distinguish between security and privacy.
Once again, what is missing here is education. It is important to educate consumers about privacy statements and to encourage consumers to look for one on every Web site they visit. It is significant that some of the largest advertisers on the Web -- including Microsoft, IBM and Intel--have stated that they will require the sites they advertise on to have a privacy statement. But does the average consumer know this fact and understand its implication? I think not.
I would like to make a call to the press to spend more time educating the public on security and privacy. Security is the easy part and as more consumers successfully purchase online, transaction security concerns will continue to decrease. As time moves on, concern about transaction security will become a thing of the past. But concern about corporate use of personal information will be an on-going problem online and off-line. Posting privacy policies on Web sites is a good first step online, however more action to protect privacy in general is necessary. Expect privacy concerns to be an ongoing issue in many aspects of life.
As more and more valuable content is made available and as we are inundated with different vehicles to communicate with each other, we are finding that there is less time in a day. Sites that help save time, capture attention, quickly establish trust and provide convenience not only quickly win my praise but also my business.
First there were Hotmail and Yahoo that offered free e-mail to users who were either exposed to upfront advertising or to an advertisement in the e-mail's trailer message. Then there was Cybergold.com that recognized the value of someone's time and attention by paying registered users to view banner ads. More recently, there has been a slew of companies paying people to surf the Web (such as Alladvantage.com) or receive free access or a free computer, while judiciously subjecting the user to sponsorship information or advertisements. In return for receiving a product or service for free, the user pays with a little bit of time, attention and "in-convenience" by being exposed to a constant barrage of advertisements.
These companies have realized what a large percentage of the current-day click-and-mortar and dot-com companies have not: it is important to focus on the non-monetary forms of currency. Here is a suggestion: Grade your site and those of your competitors with the non-monetary forms of currency as a barometer and see how you do. The exercise my surprise you.
Let me leave you with a couple of my favorite quotes this month:
I hope you enjoy this eZine.
See you in cyberspace,
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