Is your privacy being violated?
As an online publisher that offers a number of online advertising opportunities for suppliers, we are often asked how we can deliver leads (actual contacts) from their advertisements. I respond by turning the question around and asking, “What can you as a supplier offer an engineer that will make them want to give you their contact information?”
I’m an engineer, who became a publisher. And I always try to think about things from an engineer's perspective. Would I want to be inundated with phone calls from suppliers just because I viewed or clicked on their information? The answer is a resounding NO!
As you may or may not realize, there are web sites and e-newsletters out there that report your personal contact information to advertisers if you view and/or click on their ads. Some of you may have been victims of this tactic. You went browsing on a web site and all of a sudden you started receiving phone calls from suppliers asking if they can sell you something. I know that it’s happened to some of you because it’s also happened to me. Of course, I have to chuckle because the supplier thinks they have a hot lead on the phone. I’d have to give the suppliers kudos on their responsiveness, if I had a valid interest in their product(s).
If you want to avoid being a victim of this “sneaky” tactic, beware of web sites that force you to register before you can use them. Once you register, they have you; and it may or may not be clear that you gave them permission to give your personal information to advertisers. After all, who actually reads the web site terms and conditions and privacy policies?
Automation.com does not require registration to access any part of the site. It’s intrusive and I’m fundamentally opposed to it. Sometimes, we implement information request forms for our advertisers. So, if you want to request more information about any product, you can, by filling out the form. Or, we give you access to the supplier’s web site where you can find more information or contact them on your terms. There are cases where we ask you to submit a form before you can access a white paper or software download, but we make it clear that your information will be sent to the supplier. You are in control, not us. The same goes for our e-newsletters. Your information is only sent to the supplier when you submit an obvious form.
Some “online savvy” suppliers are now hip to those publishers who use the slimy lead tactics and they are starting to back away from them. After all, what good are hundreds of leads if all they do is waste their time and your's? Some suppliers in this industry are just starting to do online promotions and they are blinded by publisher’s promises of big lead numbers.
Not us. I'm very honest with suppliers by telling them that if they want to generate leads, they need to offer something of intrinsic value to our audience; i.e. white papers, software downloads, etc. I attribute much of our web site’s success to our free-access and privacy policies. I want to thank all of you for your loyalty. Because of your frequent visits and e-newsletter readership, we can continue to grow and better serve your automation information needs.
As always, we appreciate your feedback on what we are doing. If you have any suggestions, comments or thoughts, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Enjoy the rest of this Automation Weekly!
Vice President, Publisher