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NEWS26 May 2009

Share and share alike, urges ex-Amazon analyst

Trends UK

UK— Amazon’s former chief scientist says firms seeking to learn about their customers online need to build mutually beneficial relationships with people who share information about themselves.

In a post for the Monitor Talent blog, Andreas Weigend says the rise of social media and user-generated content has transformed how people share information online.

Internet users expect to get some benefit in return for information they give up, he argues, and companies should find ways of offering this if they want people to take the time to share data.

He points to Amazon’s customer reviews as an example – the opinions of other users are valuable for all users of the site, but are also of huge value to Amazon as a source of insight into customers’ likes and dislikes.

Similarly, music-sharing sites can encourage people to reveal what they listen to and rate tracks, in return for building playlists of new music they might enjoy.

By turning information-sharing into a way of engaging people and providing extra value, sites can encourage people to share personal details without resorting to incentives in the form of cash, vouchers, or prize draw entries.

“Customers are beginning to have a voice,” writes Weigend. “They are realising that the data they voluntarily contribute can help them and others with making decisions, providing true value. In turn, they want to be treated fairly as individuals by the companies they pay attention and money to.”

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