Seth Godin: There’s been a lot of noise about privacy over the last decade, but
what most pundits miss is that most people don’t care about privacy,
not at all.
f they did, they wouldn’t have credit cards. Your credit card company knows an insane amount about you.
What people care about is being surprised.
If your credit card company called you up and said, "we’ve been
looking over your records and we see that you’ve been having an
extramarital affair. We’d like to offer you a free coupon for VD
testing…" you’d freak out, and for good reason.
If the local authorities start using what’s on the corner
surveillance cameras to sell you a new kind of commuter token, you’d be
a little annoyed at that as well.
So far, government and big companies have gotten away with taking
virtually all our privacy away by not surprising most of us, at least
not in a vivid way. Libertarians are worried (probably with cause) that
once the surprises start happening, it’ll be too late.
This leads us to Ask.com’s new Eraser service, which promises to
not remember stuff about your searching. The problem they face: most
people want Google and Yahoo and Amazon to remember their
searches, because it leads to better results and (so far) rarely leads
The irony is that the people who most want privacy are almost
certainly the worst possible customers for a search engine. These are
the folks who are unlikely to click on ads and most likely to visit the
dark corners of the Net. If I were running a web property, I’d work
hard to attract the people who least want privacy and want to share their ideas with everyone else
Make promises, keep them, avoid surprises. That’s what most people (and the profitable people) want.
Via Seth Godin