You may be unaware that you actually do pay for free services on the Web. The form of payment isn’t always obvious: your personal information.

Consider these examples:

  • With Google Analytics, you get a great product in exchange for telling Google about your site’s traffic patterns.
  • Entering your information into Facebook allows for their advertisers to better target their ads to your preferences.
  • Companies offering free SEO keyword research tools more than likely collect your research terms for use in competitive intelligence for other customers.

I believe that there are are a couple lessons to be learned here. It’s been said already, but I feel that we sometimes need to be reminded:

  • Your business can offer free services online in exchange for information. What would be valuable marketing information for you to collect that is often hard to get to?
  • We all need to be careful about what we share on others’ websites. How do you feel about Google Toolbar phoning home and collecting information about you?