Why do you need to know that?
Posted by Greta van der Rol
I just followed a link (from a trusted source) to an online book seller – not Amazon or Smashwords or any of the big sites, this is clearly a personal site. Fair enough. That way the seller gets all the profit. The book looked interesting, so I clicked on “buy now” and a screen appeared, asking me to enter my details. And those fields were compulsory.
- First Name is a required field.
- Last Name is a required field.
- Phone is a required field.
- Email is a required field.
- Confirm Email is a required field.
- Address is a required field.
- City is a required field.
- Enter a valid ZIP/Postal Code.
- State is a required field.
Really? I’m buying an e-book (print wasn’t an option) and paying via Paypal. One of the advantages of Paypal is all that name and address stuff is held in a (relatively) secure database and doesn’t have to be provided to all and sundry.
Sorry, folks, but you just lost a sale.
I’ve been bitten before, you see. I bought some software that looked the goods for something I needed to do. I was expected to register first, as is often the way with software. I did wonder why they needed my home address – but what the hell. To cut a long story short, the software was a scam. It didn’t work and there was no way of getting my money back. I’d paid via a credit card and immediately rang the bank to cancel the card. I’d learnt a valuable lesson. Now, I only provide my REAL address if I think it’s needed, such as when an item has to be shipped to me.
The way I see it, if I go into a bookshop to buy a book, I grab it from the shelf and take to the counter, where the clerk takes my money, no questions asked. If I buy an e-book from the internet, I accept that the vendor needs to verify that I have the funds for the transaction. But that’s where my obligation ends. No, you don’t need my home address, or my phone number. If you insist, then I have to wonder what you’re going to do with it. Sell it to a mailing house?
So what do you think? Are you happy to tell your life story before you’re allowed to hand over your hard-earned money?