The third edition of the two-day India Digital Summit kicked off in the Capital on January 10. The Summit, being held in partnership with Intel, is the annual flagship conference of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
The keynote address for the session ‘Empowerment of the user and humanisation of the online world’ was delivered by Esther Dyson, Chairperson, EDventure Holdings, USA. Other panelists were Ravi Kiran, CEO-South Asia, Starcom MediaVest Group, and Ashish Kashyap, CEO, Ibibo.
Citing the example of Facebook, Dyson explained that users were creating their own profiles instead of advertisers creating for them. “The issue of privacy, too, needs to be addressed. This is a good feature on Facebook, as you can choose the people whom you want to share profiles with, and how much information do you prefer to share.”
Dyson also explained that users wanted to be known by their individuality, while the marketer believed that he gave privacy by hiding the user’s individuality.
Kashyap added, “The concept of privacy hasn’t sunk in Indian minds. The average person feels very suppressed. The offline world has a lot of barriers. In the online world, people are expressing each self with a viewpoint. And if we create a joint ecosystem, we need to create advantage of that ecosystem.”
Kiran said, “In India, we are still learning. We are willing to share more than what we should. Many companies are giving alerts of privacy information of the users. Cookies should be deleted from the website on regular basis. We take our privacy in a more relaxed way as compared to other countries.”
Dyson said, “The challenge is to read the full document and register in a transparent way. There are a lot of users who don’t read terms and conditions. As a company, it’s important for us to be responsible and be transparent. It is alarming that only some of us are concerned about privacy.”
Kiran explained that advertisers needed to understand that brand advertising would continue, with anyone still wiling to spend big bucks on it. It is hence important to find relevant people.
Dyson further explained that the Internet is much more of a PR medium than advertising. “How many people saw your ad is important. How can a person intend to buy your ad or refer to friends? Intrusion is visible through 30-second commercials on MSN or Google. The issues we need to address are privacy, user empowerment and how much can we keep consumers interest instead of imposing on them,” she concluded.