Special Session: Privacy Research and Educational Issues This special session will consist of three privacy topics that are currently being debated in industry and hence are of interest to direct marketers and direct marketing educators. The first topic addresses personal identifying information that is available on online white pages and the implications for identity theft and information control. The second topic compares consumers’ information sensitivity of data now, with the same set of data examined in a paper 10 years ago. Changes in consumer sensitivity levels are discussed in terms of how risk levels have shifted overtime with changes in technology and the move from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. The third topic, examines the dialectical tensions between branding and privacy when individuals try to brand themselves online using social network tools. 1. The Personal Branding and Privacy Tradeoff. Dr. Lauren Labrecque, Northern Illinois University, Ereni Markos, Quinnipiac University, Dr. George R. Milne University of Massachusetts Amherst. Personal online branding is growing in popularity and importance. This paper examines how individuals manage online personal brands in a Web 2.0 context using a novel multi-method approach. With consent, we generated digital brand audits of 12 participants and have these anonymous profiles judged both qualitatively and quantitatively by undergraduates and by a HR professional. We compared these judgments to respondents’ judgments of their online profiles. Long interviews are conducted to understand how individuals manage online profiles, and how they feel about others judging the content they post online and on social networking sites. Our results are interpreted in a personal branding framework that draws upon branding theory, self- disclosure, impression management, and communication dialectic theories. The results support that individuals engage in personal branding and that efforts are often misdirected or insufficient. Personal online branding is reported as challenging, especially when managing the self- disclosure and information privacy dialectic. 2. Opting out of the Online White Pages. Dr. Joseph Phelps, University of Alabama; Brent Franson, Senior Director of Advanced Client Solutions, ReputationDefender Personally identifying information, such as name, address, phone, picture of house, ages, neighbors, and so forth is displayed on websites known as online white pages. This information is published without consumers consent and in some cases can result in severe loss of privacy or identity theft. This presentation, based on research conducted by Public Defender, examines this phenomenon by (1) cataloging the type of information housed on such website, and (2) documenting attempts to remove 30 consumers (who volunteered) information from 39 online white pages sites through opt out mechanism over a six month period. The findings reveal that despite concerted efforts, removal of such information was not entirely successful. 3. Consumers'' Willingness to Provide Information: Changes Over the last decade. Dr. George R. Milne, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Ereni Markos, Quinnipiac Univeristy, Dr. Joseph Phelps, University of Alabama, and Jason Gabisch, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Growing participation in blogs and social networks is seeing a surge in information sharing and virtual profiles. These changes in the online environment call attention to the following questions: What types of information do consumers perceive as sensitive? In which context is this information sensitive? Addressing sensitive information in the changing marketplace is an important issue for the FTC, consumers, educators and public policy makers. Limited research has focused on the construct of sensitive information and even less so on anonymous information. This research examines what consumers consider sensitive information and compares today’s findings to those of a decade ago (Phelps, Nowak and Ferrel 2000). The sensitivity of information is shown to vary by type of risk. Moreover, information sensitivity is shown to mediate the relationship of perceived risk and willingness to provide information.
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