19 September 2010

Sneaky quizzes

Ever notice that you are interested in a topic because of a headline or come-on title, and when you click on it, you are asked to take a quiz, short survey, or view some ad before you can read what you thought you had an interest in. Many of the well respected diabetes sites are now doing this, much to my dislike.

This seems to be the new way of advertising and gathering data for studies to help advertisers direct their ads. While this is the majority purpose, there are some less than honorable reasons behind some quizzes.

Why do I say this? Some sites are gathering personal data about you. First they can identify your location and site address as can anyone. Next they gather data through quizzes. When they have collected a good amount of data, they look for your personal and public information and match the two and voila, instant profile. Now they know what to direct at you for identity theft and what scams may be profitable against you.

This is the reason I stop when quizzes are presented and look at the site and view it in another perspective. If I question the honesty, I mark the site banned and never go to it again. If the site is generally okay, I ignore the topic and use my search engine to see if I can find the topic elsewhere.

Does this happen, yes. So some words of caution for people that think all quizzes are fun and challenging. Just be careful about the information they are collecting. Many innocent questions can gather enough information about you to be scary.

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