Security vs. Quality: Is Gated Content Worth the #Online Risk?

Gated content has always been a topic of discussion for brands wanting to improve their online presence, which is what initially drew me to #SEOChat. On Thursday, September 29, I participated in this particular Twitter chat by reading the Tweets of other participants and providing my own input on the topic. Gated content requires users to provide personal information before gaining access to a site’s content. The chat was incredibly informative because all of the participants weighed in on the pros and cons of gated content, which allowed me to properly mold my personal opinion on the subject. This practice is widely debated because of its intrusive, yet valuable nature. Each participant made incredibly valid points during the Twitter chat, and the most persuasive of these points are listed below.

Some of the pros include:

· Tailors the content to match the interests of online users

· Allows access to individuals who are genuinely interested in the content

· Collects information on the people gaining access to the content

· The content is typically of better quality than most other online sources

Some of the cons include:

· Online users are typically hesitant to provide personal information

· Security concerns are problematic

· The content is limited to only certain individuals

· Individuals are heavily concerned with the speed in which their content is provided to them, preferring to avoid disruptions (i.e. questionnaires)

· Those without a vested interest in the content are unlikely to take the time to provide their information

The general debate on gated content involves measuring the cost-benefit relationship between privacy and relevant content. Online users are wary of sites that request personal information. According to Twitter user Laura Lee, the privacy component is a major shortcoming of gated content. “There’s an element of trust too. I don’t know you. I don’t trust you yet. Why give you my info before you prove yourself?”

The other side of the debate advocates for the use of gated content because of its ability to match the relevant content to the relevant audience. When you fill in your personal information on a site, you are essentially inputting data that will enhance your user experience. The content that you receive is more likely to appeal to your interests. According to Twitter user Vivian Tang, one of the main advantages of gated content is the “higher quality of users [that are] invested in your content.”

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