Online consumers increasingly becoming 'invisible,' says Ovum

Customer habits will become harder to track
Tools

Online consumers are becoming more wary of what information they provide to online miners and are looking for new tools to make them "invisible" to those who want to learn more about their habits. This means trouble for those who have used the Internet as a bottomless pit of consumer information, Ovum's latest Consumer Insights Survey suggests.

It's becoming likely an Internet "data black hole" will open up and disrupt the Internet economy, the researchers said in a press release. This black hole would impact targeted advertising, which uses consumer-mined data, CRM, big data analytics and other digital industries that have grown out of the business of tracking and appealing to consumer tendencies. To support this conclusion, the researchers noted that 68 percent of those surveyed would select a "do-not-track" option if available.

"Unfortunately, in the gold rush that is big data, taking the supply of 'little data'--personal data--for granted seems to be an accident waiting to happen," Mark Little, principal analyst at Ovum, said in the press release.

Consumers don't want to be an open book and "are being empowered with new tools and services to monitor, control and secure their personal data as never before, and it seems they increasingly have the motivation to use them," Little continued.

Internet companies do have a recourse, he suggested, by developing "positive direct relationships, engagement with consumers and the provision of genuine and trustworthy privacy controls."

Even so, Little said, those who live on this wealth of data should be prepared for a big change.

"[D]ata controllers need a better feel for the approaching disruption to their supply lines and must invest in tools that help them understand the profile of today's negatively minded users--tomorrow's invisible consumers," Little concluded.

For more:
- Ovum issued this press release

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