Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Internet - Online quizzes and surveys

Quizzes and surveys you find online, including those on social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter and others are usually entertaining and may seem like a harmless pastime.

But remember quiz and survey companies are for-profit businesses. So consumer information about you and I are a definite commodity, and I think we should always assume that information that we enter when we are taking these quizzes and surveys, is going to be sold – and also assume you have no idea, and therefore no control, over who the information will be sold to..

Some websites allow users to create their own quizzes and surveys but in most cases they are still making money from the answers.

Just by reviewing the types of surveys or quizzes you take, a criminal may learn a great deal. Answering if you’re Hot or Not, a Fashion Disaster or Diva provides not only businesses in the fashion or teen magazine industries with information, it also provides information to a potential predator about topics that interest you. Some quizzes and your answers get displayed on your social networking sites, which is something to consider carefully if your site is publicly viewable as your answers may expose personal information to a criminal.

Quizzes and surveys on senior social networking sites are typically more financially or medically invasive. For example, the information from a medical quiz may be passed directly to pharmaceutical companies, online drugstores, or insurance companies. After answering a quiz you may find you receive spam targeted to your medical conditions or financial interests.
Make sure you understand the reputation, privacy policies, and terms of use of the site creating or hosting the quizzes.

Before taking any quiz or survey consider the answers to the following questions:

  • Why did the company create this quiz?

  • What will they do with the information?

  • Who will see my answers?

Personally I never participate in any online quizzes and surveys – it’s hard enough to control my personal information and privacy online, and it’s also quite easy to be “tricked”, so I don’t feel it’s worth taking the chance… but it’s a personal choice..

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