IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

E-privacy: Evaluating a new search cost in online environments


  • Annacker, Dirk
  • Spiekermann, Sarah
  • Strobel, Martin


Electronic Commerce environments increasingly witness a conflict on the subject of e-privacy: While marketers want to maximize their customer knowledge and grasp the identity of their online users, consumers often want to stay anonymous and not reveal private information. The conflict suggests that private consumer information should be respected as a new search cost for consumers in EC environments. The current paper aims to grasp the phenomenon of this new search cost entitled as private consumer information cost (PCIC). The paper aims to evaluate PCIC by identifying its main drivers and their interrelation. An empirical study is presented which shows that three factors, perceived importance, legitimacy and difficulty of online requests made by marketers in a purchase context explain much of the variance of PCIC. Empirical data also reveals how different types of information requests drive PCIC. The types of information distinguished are product information, information on product usage as well as personal information. Results hint at the fact that consumers accept personal information requests to a greater extend than one would expect, but only as long as they improve product- or service choice. It is concluded that marketers incur considerable opportunity cost of information if they do not respect the nuances evident in PCIC creation and do not rely on them for the strategic design of their online communication.

Suggested Citation

  • Annacker, Dirk & Spiekermann, Sarah & Strobel, Martin, 2001. "E-privacy: Evaluating a new search cost in online environments," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2001,80, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:200180

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Punj, Girish N & Staelin, Richard, 1983. " A Model of Consumer Information Search Behavior for New Automobiles," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(4), pages 366-380, March.
    2. Beatty, Sharon E & Smith, Scott M, 1987. " External Search Effort: An Investigation across Several Product Categories," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(1), pages 83-95, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:200180. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.