P3P Primer

Are your online customers balking at providing their personal information in order to purchase products online? The problem could be your privacy policy.

P3P Primer

While most organizations have a privacy policy in place stipulating how they deal with customer data, whether they keep information private, sell it to business partners or some combination of the two, many fail to make these policies clear to consumers. And consumers who are unsure of how their information is being used are less apt to make purchases online.

In fact, according to research conducted by Harris Interactive, 64% of online consumers decide not to purchase on a site because they are unsure of how their personal data is being used. And according to The Customer Respect Group, an online research firm, this uncertainty is often due to the fact that no privacy policy exists. Of the 450 sites the group researched for its study on privacy policies, 17.7% did not even provide consumers with an online privacy policy.

P3P Primer can help

Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) is an emerging standard, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), that provides a simple, automated, clear way for sites to provide their privacy policies to their online visitors. P3P-enabled Web sites fill out a standardized multiple-choice form that details their privacy policy. Then, that information is made available via XML to site visitors using P3P Primer-enabled browsers, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0, Mozilla and Opera. The P3P-enabled browsers “read” the information and compare it to the consumer’s own set of privacy preferences. This puts privacy policies where users can find them, in a form they can understand, and, most importantly, gives them the confidence to make purchases online.

For more information on P3P, go here. For a step-by-step guide on how to P3P-enable your site, go here.