One of the commodities in the commercial world has become access to data, specifically
personal information. The Internet has rapidly expanded a company s ability to access
consumers and individuals personal information, however consumers privacy-concerns
regarding the disclosure of their personal information have continued to increase. Using
an e-mail marketing campaign, this research explored the impact of using third-party
privacy seal (lock) as signals to facilitate consumers disclosing private information.
The study employed a live experimental randomised two-group post-test only design,
whereby an e-mail advertisement, identical in design except for the image of a third party
seal (lock) placed on the non-control group s e-mail. The test explored whether the e-mail
advertisement containing the third-party privacy signal (lock) had an impact on whether or
not the recipient behaved in a certain way in comparison to the e-mail advertisement that
did not contain a lock.
The results showed no real significant difference of the third-party seal (lock) on the
consumer s preparedness to disclose personal information. Whilst the lock may be used
as a trust symbol it is not enough, within the online advertising context, to entice
disclosure of personal information. To remain competitive, companies will need to
reassess their advertising strategies and further research will need to identify high value
signals to encourage consumer disclosure.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2015.