The majority (90%) of Americans want more control over the information that is available about them online, according to a new survey by Harris Interactive for Intellius.
Because people use websites and search engines to find out information about others, 80 percent believe their online identity is now as important as their “offline” personal or professional reputation.
"We believe 2011 will be the 'Year of the Online Reputation,' because consumers are realizing how much information about them is online and that this information is impacting how others view them," said Prakash Kondepudi, Senior Vice President of the Consumer Services Business Division at Intelius.
"The Harris Interactive survey confirms what we are hearing from our customers, which is, controlling and managing their online information is becoming increasingly important to them."
Other highlights of the survey include:
*78% said they believe it is very important to look up information about people and/or businesses online before deciding to interact or do business with them;
*74% claimed they would most likely refuse to interact or do business with a person or company if they found negative information about them online;
*69% stated that they would be much more likely to interact with someone on a personal level if they found positive information about them online.
"The Harris survey found that 40% of consumers are more aware of their digital footprint today than they were this time last year," said Jim Adler, Chief Privacy Officer at Intelius."
“But that awareness comes with concerns about the lack of controls available to manage it. We're realizing that as society grows more comfortable using the web to learn about each other, our public records, data, photos, videos, and blogs may paint a picture that is less than safe, accurate or flattering."