Why Do Websites Want Your Personal Details (email, location, phone)
We use so many websites every day and for many of them, we have provided them with some personal details like email. But why do websites ask personal details such as email, phone number, and location?
|4.)Creating a list of potential customers|
|6.)Sending updates and newsletter|
|7.)Resell the info to other companies|
Email is a unique identifier and in combination with a password can be a good way for a site to verify that has to deal with a real person. The websites want to avoid spammers and bots. By using some unique identifiers as email can make it more difficult for spammers to achieve their goals.
For example, if you want to include comments on your site without any need for signing up from other users you will end up with a lot of spam comments that will promote any kind of product or even offending you and your work. If a username was the only condition for someone to join a site then he could hide his identity easily and also create multiple accounts with another username.
Consider if you wanted some honest reviews for some of your products and a spammer was creating multiple accounts to give a fake review. Of course, the email itself as a condition for someone to join a site will not stop the malicious efforts but it will delay the “bad” guys.
Last years it is more common for a lot of sites to ask for additional verification and don’t rely only on email and a password. A mobile phone number is usually a good option for that extra verification. Hackers can easier hack an email and get login details rather than getting access to someone’s phone.
This process is known as 2-step verification and many big sites have incorporated that approach such as Google and Microsoft.
You have also noticed that many sites even ask your location. That helps to personalize the options a site will offer you. For example, if you are searching to order food online then it would be more helpful for you if Google knows your location and suggests places around you.
This kind of personalization can work on other cases like for the weather or even local news.
4.)Creating a list of potential customers
Users that already know a site and they have interacted with it in the past, they should trust it more. Marketers call it “warm traffic” since the user already knows what to expect and what is the site all about.
It is easier to sell a product or service to this kind of audience. So the websites want to have a list and they can push a new product or some potential future offer.
Ads are a big contribution to a site’s revenue so they should be optimized as much as possible. Advertisers pay more per impression or click if they have a targeted audience vs a very generic one with no common characteristic. If you live in Europe there would be different ads vs if you live in the United States. Even within the same country, the location plays a role. If the advertiser is a local services company then the zip code is so important to them. Therefore, more targeted ads bigger revenue for the website owner.
6.)Sending updates and newsletter
Websites want to be in touch with their users or followers. So in some sense, this policy is beneficial for the users too. When there is a new blog post or some important notification/offer a new email is sent. As a result, users are updated for things that they care about.
7.)Resell the info to other companies
The information that websites get is not only valuable for them but for other companies too. So a list of emails and personal details can be utilized by other companies that can send their offers or products to a potential customer email. There is a thin line here about how is that ethical and in every case the website should ask for your consent for that sale.
New ways of signing up and verification
Getting an email from a customer is not an ideal way to keep in touch with them. It is also more time consuming from a user’s perspective since they need to provide also a new password, open their email inbox and click to a link to verify that they own the email. Another bad thing for using emails to send notifications, updates, and offers is that even if the content of the email is legit many of them end up in the spam folder. Furthermore, many people don’t check their emails so often or their inbox is so full that they ignore many messages.
Browser notification is the latest trend and many websites have implemented this approach. A small window pops up and asks you if you want to receive notifications from this website. People spend much more time using their browsers than checking their emails so it is a better solution for the websites to get your attention.
For sign-up, many websites give you the opportunity to use your social media or Google account so you don’t need to create a new password and verify your email. They still get personal details from your bio and description on social media like the full name.
You should be aware that you can always unsubscribe from the email notifications that a site sends you. Check the bottom of the email and you will see an “unsubscribe” option.