Just about every website asks you to fill in your details - but are you giving away too much information?
Shy of living like a hermit at the North Pole we will all have filled our details in on an online form at some point or other. But how do we know that the information isn't being passed on or worse still sold on to a third party?
The problem as we see it is deep rooted in a society that seems more hell bent on cash or profit rather than just providing a great service which in turn will give you a good return. Even local councils sell on so-called public information for cash.
We discuss the use of data collected online with all our clients to find out what they are going to do with it. We encourage the correct use of online data capture forms, ie get the information you need to provide the information or service that the person completing the form wants AND don't collect more information than you need.
Something that has always seemed strange to us here is a form which has compulsory information highlighted and other information not. If you don't NEED it don't ask for it - we all hate filling out loads of information. We all detest filling out a form before being able to access a download or more useful details. So be up-front about it, tell someone why you are asking them to fill the form in, eg
"We hope you like what we have to offer and would like to send you useful updates/information from time to time - of course we hope you will buy from us eventually too, so please fill in your details and we'll try not to annoy you!"
In all honesty if we have to sign up do we? most of us don't and move on to a friendlier website. So be friendly - yo may get more than you bargain for.