We came across this interesting article in the Wall Street Journal – exposing how some online quiz providers are harvesting user responses to sell to data-hungry marketers.

Needless to say, we were very surprised.

It’s one thing to focus on making really cool interactive content tools – viral quizzes, personality tests, and the like. That’s our missions at Riddle – and we’re fiercely proud of it. After all, people love learning about themselves (and sharing the responses with their friends).

But it’s quite another for some companies to cynically build this sort of content – purely to collect and sell user information that helps companies market to their users without their knowledge.

(And no – sneakily hiding this information deep in a site’s terms and conditions that takes a legal genius to read doesn’t count.)

I was going to let this slide by without comment – but the more I thought about, the angrier I became.

Sure – marketing can be one of those words that makes us all instantly defensive if we think there is something underhanded going on. However we all use (and benefit) from marketing when we’re presented with the right product at the right time for the right price.

So the right kind of marketing can be incredibly useful. I have often willingly given my details to many companies to get more information, from asking for details about an upcoming trip to Burma to downloading white papers from software vendors we use here at Riddle.

But it’s quite another for some companies to cynically build this sort of content – purely to collect and sell user information that helps companies market to their users without their knowledge.

The key is transparency – and putting the user in control.

At Riddle, we believe that interactive content tools can be a powerful tool in any company’s marketing kit. Using fun, compelling and educational quizzes or other types of Riddles are brilliant at getting people to be active participants on your site. Plus, they often have such a good time that they can’t wait to share with their social circles.

And we let any blogger or website capture this enthusiasm – by adding a simple (free) lead generation form to any Riddle to ask the audience to give their name, email and other information.

The difference is that our users are always in control. Whether it’s signing up for a blog’s newsletter, submitting their test answers to enter a contest, or asking for a follow up conversation about a product, Riddle users know (and are comfortable) with sharing their details.

Riddle will NEVER resort to any type of hidden data collection and selling. Promise.

We do provide each quiz creator anonymous data of how people responded overall but we will never allow to link answers to user names or emails unless we get explicit permission from the user to do so.

(Now if only more companies would join Buzzfeed, Zimbio, and Riddle – the internet would be a much less slimy place.)

</rant>

Did you know that some quiz sites sell your data to marketers?

2017-01-05T19:50:06+00:00