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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : June 07, 2007

Online shoppers will pay premium for privacy protection

A new study has found that online shoppers are willing to pay extra to protect their privacy.

by Helen Leggatt

privacy%20finder%20logo.jpgUsing a shopping search engine called Privacy Finder, which automatically assesses a website’s privacy policies and displays the results along with the search results, the Carnegie Mellon University study showed that privacy does matter.

"Our suspicion was that people care about their privacy, but that it's often difficult for them to get information about a Web site's privacy policies," said Cranor, an associate research professor of computer science and of engineering and public policy.

Each shopper was given $45 to purchase two items and could keep the products and any remaining money, so there was an incentive to seek out low-cost items despite inadequate privacy policies. However, results showed that the participants were willing to pay an additional 60 cents on a $15 purchase to protect their privacy. This goes against previous studies which found that many people fail to protect their online privacy, preferring instead to bag a bargain.

"Many people express concerns that unscrupulous online merchants might misuse credit information, target spam to their e-mail addresses or otherwise violate their privacy," Carnegie Mellon states in a press release. "But a number of previous studies have found that many people still fail to act to protect their privacy online."

Tags: online shopping, privacy, privacy protection

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