I've enjoyed the recent series of posts by IDEO on Fast Company's design site. Their recent article entitled "Why Would Trade Away Your Online Privacy? 6 Case Studies" is a terrific explanation of the trade-off with some relevant examples of companies doing this well. Personalization at most any level requires the input of some information (often provided as behavior at the least, and explicitly provided data at the most) and then we hope there is value in return. Think of a astute sales person who you have done business with over time. And that relationship, whether virtual or personal, establishes trust. To borrow IDEO's succinct explanation:
As people share more, their expectations are evolving from archiving services to personalized services that adapt to them, and even anticipatory services that nudge them in positive ways. This has resulted in services that capture people's history, filter their information, and turn it into tailored recommendations, options, alerts, and connections.
And then provides 4 tenants of trading data for personalization:
1. Make people feel safe
2. Support the moment of decision
3. Nudge, don't push
4. Don't be obtrusive
This list could be lifted from a recent Sales 101 training brochure but is well articulated for use in the online world. Sounds so basic but so difficult to execute, particularly in the online world. The article proceeds to give some great examples of new apps or sites that utilize these tenets to craft a more personalization user experience--mint.com, flickr, Netflix, FoodFlex, and Zumelife.