Priorities for private information

I recently worked an event where my company held a drawing.  People filled out cards to enter the drawing, and we asked them for name address, phone number, email address, and age (for legal reasons).

Some people asked about what we plan to do with the information, but most didn't.

What puzzles me is the fields people left blank.  If someone was going to leave a field blank, more than 85% of the time (rough guess), they left the email field blank.

They had no problem giving us their physical address, or their active phone number, but they felt the need to protect that email address at all costs.

Spam annoys me.  A little.  But I would much rather get 500 Spam messages a day than get one telemarketing phone call in a day.  Or 10 pieces of junk mail.  Spam is easy to delete -- it's just one press of the delete key. I don't have to listen to anyone or be jarred out of a contemplative state by a ringing phone.  I don't have to pick up and carry anything.

And yet many people feel compelled to protect their email address as all costs.  Have those of us in the industry been so loud in our warnings about security issues that people are now more wary of sharing their electronic mail address than they are about sharing their meatspace address?

1 comment:

Alan said...

I'm inclined to agree that spam is easily deleted and gmail continues to be really great at filtering out spam. However, I am somewhat cautious about distributing my primary e-mail address. Also, it is extremely easy to set up additional e-mail addy's which can be regarded as disposable. I probably wouldn't hesitate too much to give a company my snail mail addy to enter a drawing. But nobody gets my phone number unless I REALLY want them to call. (And that is very few people.)