The Personalization Privacy Paradox: Mobile Customers' Perceptions of Push-Based vs. Pull-Based Location Commerce

The Personalization Privacy Paradox: Mobile Customers' Perceptions of Push-Based vs. Pull-Based Location Commerce

Heng Xu (Pennsylvania State University, USA), John M. Carroll (Pennsylvania State University, USA) and Mary Beth Rosson (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-611-7.ch078
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Abstract

Recent advances in positioning technologies, such as global positioning systems and cellular triangulation techniques, have not only provided consumers with unprecedented accessibility to network services while on the move, but also enabled the localization of services (Bellavista, Kupper, & Helal, 2008). Locatability, that is, the ability of mobile hosts to determine the current physical location of wireless devices, is thus the key enabler of an alluring mobile business operation (Junglas & Watson, 2003). In the literature, commercial location-sensitive applications and services that utilize geographical positioning information to provide value-added services are generally termed location-based services (LBS), marketed under terms like ‘Location-Commerce’ or ‘L-Commerce’ (Barnes, 2003).
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Introduction

Recent advances in positioning technologies, such as global positioning systems and cellular triangulation techniques, have not only provided consumers with unprecedented accessibility to network services while on the move, but also enabled the localization of services (Bellavista, Kupper, & Helal, 2008). Locatability, that is, the ability of mobile hosts to determine the current physical location of wireless devices, is thus the key enabler of an alluring mobile business operation (Junglas & Watson, 2003). In the literature, commercial location-sensitive applications and services that utilize geographical positioning information to provide value-added services are generally termed location-based services (LBS), marketed under terms like ‘Location-Commerce’ or ‘L-Commerce’ (Barnes, 2003).

Despite the growing attention given to LBS, little is understood about the differential effects of alternative protocols for locating client devices on the mobile consumer perceptions and behaviors. To offer personalized services that are tailored to mobile consumers’ activity contexts, LBS providers deliver information content through mobile communication and positioning systems in two ways – push and pull mechanisms. In the pull mechanism (i.e., reactive LBS), individuals request information and services based on their locations, e.g., a user might request a list of nearby points of interest. In the push mechanism (i.e., proactive LBS), location-sensitive content is automatically sent to individuals based on tracking their locations. From the consumer perspective, the pull-based L-Commerce entails a higher level of control, but consequent time and cognitive investment to manage personal information are relatively high. The push-based L-Commerce, on the other hand, allows for the regular canvassing of information sources for updated information and automatic delivery (Edmunds & Morris, 2000): less control but also less effort. Although the push-based L-Commerce may reduce consumers’ information processing and retrieval efforts, it increases the amount of potentially irrelevant information that consumers have to deal with as well as the amount of personal location information that they have to disclose to service providers (Eppler & Mengis, 2004).

Will the push-based L-Commerce be experienced as more intrusive to individual privacy and/or as interruptive to the mobile consumer’s activity? How will mobile consumers make the tradeoff between privacy concerns and instrumental values of L-Commerce? In this chapter, we attempt to respond to these questions by discussing the differences between push and pull mechanisms and discussing how these differences may lead to different mobile consumers’ perceptions of push-based and pull-based L-Commerce. In what follows, we present the conceptual analysis, describing the personalization privacy paradox, and discussing the different impacts of pull and push mechanisms on the privacy personalization paradox. This is followed by a discussion of the key results, directions for future research, and theoretical implications.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Push-based LBS (proactive LBS): is the location-sensitive content sent by or on behalf of service providers to a wireless mobile device at a time other than when the subscriber requests it. In the push-based LBS, service providers send relevant information or content to users based on users’ previously stated product preferences, and by background observation of their behaviors through tracking physical locations of their mobile devices.

Pull-based LBS (reactive LBS): is the location-sensitive content sent to the wireless subscriber’s mobile device only when the subscriber explicitly requests for. Such pull-based LBS may be seen in some ‘on demand’ services where the user dials or signals a service provider for specific information / service such as the nearby points of interest. In this approach, location information is ephemeral and useful only to complete the transaction requested.

Location Commerce (L-Commerce): refers to commercial location-based services that utilize geographical positioning information to provide value-added services to mobile consumers.

Personalization: refers to the ability to provide content and services that are tailored to individuals based on the knowledge about their preferences and contexts.

Information privacy: refers to the ability of the individuals to control over how their personal information is collected and used.

Locatability: refers to the ability of mobile hosts to determine the current physical location of wireless devices.

Location-Based Service (LBS): refer to the network-based services that utilize the ability to make use of the geographical position of the wireless devices so as to be accessible with wireless devices through the mobile network.

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