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How much personal information do you provide ....?

When a web site is interested in your personal information -- just for the purposes of interacting with them, how much of it do you provide honestly? (Of course, there are perfectly legit reasons for needing things like your address and phone if you're placing an order).

Imagine if every department store you walked in required you to fill out a form with your personal information, provide a password, and sign up for a few newsletters? Wouldn't you shop elsewhere?

What If every blog you went to required the following to add a comment:


Would you ever bother?  Or would you provide mostly fake-data?

I'm amazed by the number of members on zdnet (judging by the comments left on some of the blog posts). My interest in adding a comment this morning dropped to zero when I was asked to give out all of this information.

"Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*)." It should have been inverted: non-required fields are marked with an asterisk. The only field that isn't required practically speaking is a second address line.

But, there's more! You get the privilege of being added to their important newsletters!

And, so that you might miss it, down at the bottom of the subscription list (after a long list of unchecked newsletters):


They've handily pre-checked one for "offers from our premier enterprise sponsors." Otherwise known as opt-in spam.

Finally, to sign up you must agree to their privacy policy and "terms and conditions" -- which total 4,863 words.

No thanks ZdNet.

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