- What data are you collecting about me? We visit websites anonymously. We think we are anonymous but that is not true. The webmaster can run reports showing your IP address, which will reveal where you are. He can also see which pages you visit, how long you visited and which link(s) you clicked when finished looking at a specific page. When running this report for mine, I learned that outside of California’s big cities, most visitors came from Philadelphia. I am not targeting the Philadelphia market. Maybe I should go there sometime.
- What will you do with the data? We visit websites, sign up for newsletters and click OK. We used to do this without thinking twice. That is no longer the case. We now ask if getting that newsletter will enroll us on someone’s SPAM list or worse, get cold callers bugging us at random times. I recently read an article about a famous speaker. I signed up for an online gift. Within two days, she sent me SPAM. She sent another four SPAM items within the week. I quickly opted-out from her list. She did this to others too. She lost her communication avenue with me and others who enrolled. Make sure you tell your visitors what you do with their information.
- How will you protect our data? We tell you our names, e-mail address and interests. When visiting e-commerce sites, we also present charge card numbers to complete transactions. We want to know what you are doing with that information. One client specifically does not retain charge card numbers after the transaction is complete. He is afraid someone would accuse him of not protecting their information securely enough. On the flip side, other vendors let you create accounts and store charge card numbers. They encrypt data both as it travels and as it resides on their servers. Whatever you choose to do, make sure your website visitors know.
Full disclosure is better in the end.