Popularity of Online Social Networks has been recently overshadowed by the privacy problems they pose. Users are getting increasingly vigilant concerning information they disclose and are strongly opposing the use of their information for commercial purposes. Nevertheless, as long as the network is offered to users for free, providers have little choice but to generate revenue through personalized advertising to remain financially viable. Our study empirically investigates the ways out of this deadlock. Using conjoint analysis we find that privacy is indeed important for users. We identify three groups of users with different utility patterns: Unconcerned Socializers, Control-conscious Socializers and Privacy-concerned. Our results provide relevant insights into how network providers can capitalize on different user preferences by specifically addressing the needs of distinct groups in the form of various premium accounts. Overall, our study is the first attempt to assess the value of privacy in monetary terms in this context.
Krasnova, Hanna; Hildebrand, Thomas; and Guenther, Oliver, "Investigating the Value of Privacy in Online Social Networks: Conjoint Analysis" (2009). ICIS 2009 Proceedings. 173.