Stephen Baker

The Numerati
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Would you trade your personal data for free stuff?

May 6, 2009Privacy

It's no secret that a lot of survey results depend on the questions. A case in point is the study by Q Interactive that Steve Smith cites on Behavioral Targeting Insider.

Asked if they would prefer "to receive free online services and information in exchange for the use of my data to target relevant advertising to me," 53.6% of Boomer-aged 45-to-55-year-olds agreed, and 63.2% of 1-to-24-year-olds agreed.

Imagine how they would have answered this question: Would you let companies use your personal data so that they can provide free online services and target you with more relevant advertisements?

Despite that quibble, there's lots of interesting data in this study--some of it a bit worrisome for behavioral advertisers. For example: "The survey found 77.8% willing to give zip code, 64.9% their age and 72.3% their gender, but only 22.4% said they wanted to share the Web sites they visited..." In other words, they're least willing to share the very data that behavioral advertisers scoop up by the terabyte.

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