Totally agree. Whenever I hit a form instead of direct access to the information I go through a certain process ... 1. I imediately dislike the company for wasting my lifetime ... 2. I rethink my need for the access ... if I can make myself believe that I can do without it I leave, even if reluctant ... 3. I fill in bulls*** information ... wrong info as much as possible while leaving everything blank that doesn't require an entry ... for the eMail I use mailinator or substitute ... when that fails I may invest the time to hassle the webmaster or seek another way to waste the time of somebody at that company by complaining about the not-working dialog ... in the end I remember the company for all this - and I also remember nice companies which give information freely and ask nicely if I would like to volonteer some info about me. In that case I happen to put some info in which might help them, but not working contact info 'cause I don't need spam.
So now ... am I a bad person ? If I go into a shop and have a look at some TV sets and want to get some tech specs from a salesman ... what am I supposed to do if that guy says "Before I give you any info please let me have your conact details, job description and why you are in this town anyway" ? I believe that shopping may very well remain annonymous as it ever was. I'll fight the data-mining where ever I can as hard as I can.
"Anything more than and email and one check box is too much. Why do you need to know my five year project budjet, company size, income, and underwear size for a resistor datasheet?"
I have often asked myself that question when it comes to subscribing to online publications. It is in their best interest to increase legitimate subscriber numbers, so if an interested engineer is in the industry, why do they need to know the annual budget for products he or she recommends or specifies?
Some companies take it to extreme levels. One test equipment company will call me on the phone within an hour after visiting their website for any reason, even if I just accidentally clicked on one of their ads!. I avoid going to their site as best I can.
The title of your original post seems a bit like a flame against engineers but I may be mistaken. At a minimum, I found the title to be somewhat misleading.
I may also be the odd engineer out (or not) by stating that I try to separate my personal life from my professional/career life. As such, I try to reveal as little as possible about my personal vital stats, by nature. This protectionism nature of mine (as an engineer) may rightfully bleed over to my professional life, hence my initial aversion to release such information when asked. Regardless if a marketeer is asking it or a website is requiring credentials.
No: My first name is not Pseudo and last name Id ;)
This is a really good discussion - thanks all for the comments.
David, you said "But registering and signing up to newletters from reputable companies like semi manufacturers (or EET) is a different thing - you get some good info out of it, and they will normally let you easily unsubscribe or change your preferences. I've never been wary of doing this." I think this is a really important point - you will "sign up" with companies who are reputable. Trust is the key - and it develops over time. Marketers who have their eye on this will succeed.
Tony said it a different way: "I'm much less likely to download a "white paper" if it requires registration (unless I'm very interested)". There they key is that the information that's being offered is perceived as valuable enough that you're willing to share your information. It's a give to get exchange.
Several also commented about being able to download datasheets for reference and not agreeing you should have to fill out a lead form for this type of information. I totally agree. What information marketers make "free and available" vs. what they require information from you in order to access is a gray area and an important one to tread carefully so that Technos said doesn't happen:"Lead forms prevent sales."
David, thanks also for the tips on coming up with password schemes that are secure but not so hard to remember.
Thanks for the comment. The key for me in what you said is "The answer is simple, don't ask for too much information up front." There is an indirect correlation between number of required fields and completed forms. There's also great tools out there now in marketing automation software for smart forms, where the first form completed only asks a few quetions (first name, last name, email for example) but the next time the person comes back you ask company name, or product interest, for example. So you gather information over time as the person shows their interest in the content you're offering.
@David I did get tripped up recently, I changed my date-related suffix to something including a $ character, but my bank won't accept $ characters. GRRRRRR....
I hate when that kind of thing happens and it seems that different sites have different rules so it's very hard to come up with a universal scheme. I finally gave up and use Keepass to keep track of the oddball passwords. Now I just need to remember one password that's completely different from all the others and keep backup copies fo the data file on multiple computers.. Still not an ideal solution though.
I'm totally agree with you. I find it highly annoying to have to log in to get datasheets. I have chosen parts on the basis of how obnoxious or easy it was to research parts on-line. When you have to log in to get a datasheet so some marketer can track your interests, I start looking elesewhere. Are you listening TE Connectivity?
This topic has been well hashed out by the marketers of information products. The answer is simple, don't ask for too much information up front.
Anything more than and email and one check box is too much. Why do you need to know my five year project budjet, company size, income, and underwear size for a resistor datasheet?
Yes, some technical companies web sites are actively hostile, and that is a shame for them. The market will show that open, honest communication wins. That is why things like the Beaglebone are a success. There are, I am sure much better projects, boards and processors out there, but not as easy to get, so they don't get the design win.
Engineers are not special. We are actually human beings. If there is trust, based on you, the marketers, web site being informative and helpful, we will give up our email address. Is all this really so complicated someone in marketing can not figure it out?
Mom has unfortunately gotten to the point where she has trouble remembering things (like how to program her speed dial). The landline phone is the one that's already on her speed dial so that's the one she calls. My brother and sister both have my cell phone number a well as my landline. I've been known to forget to turn my cell phone on for days so it's not always a reliable way to get ahold of me....