Friday, April 11, 2008

Google Filling in Forms - security risks & marketing disaster

Seriously this is scary. Matt Cutts talked about Google filling in forms to get at more data. From an SEO point of view it is unnecessary - if the site owner wants stuff indexed they should make it available. WebMama's clients are all directed this way.

From all other points of view I see this as a real problem.

1. Marketing uses forms all the time to capture lead information. And they measure it. Let’s say Google tries to ‘fill out’ the form and get to the inside information once a day for a month. That is 30 hits on the form that were completed but did not convert. Kind of messes with the data.

2. No matter what they say would you, as a security/risk manager, be satisfied that Google isn’t going to try and ‘guess’ the login or password just because the button or form element has something familiar on it like ‘password’. A lot of personal information (aka healthcare) and business information (aka intranet access) lie behind forms.

3. What if the form is about gathering demographic information. I am not sure that the demographics of a search engine or the demographics of some bot with keywords that are randomly chosen is information an advertiser is trying to capture.

“So now we get GoogleBot instead of Donald Duck as the false name on our forms.”

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 4:00 PM     Permanent Link