In a previous post I mentioned running across BNET.com, which is a division of CBS Interactive. Yesterday I went back to the site to see if it held any riches, and promptly stepped in this:
The elephant in the room at Advertising Week sessions in New York beginning today is the ongoing reluctance of companies to mine user preferences and other data many consumers are willing to share in exchange for more relevant products and services.
I mean, I thought one of the reasons consumers were willing to share data is because they’ve been told that it won’t be used against them. (I mean over and above the fact that you have to share data in order to use many services or sites — which means it’s really a fee.)
Then there was this:
All the brouhaha [about Facebook’s Beacon initiative] has not deterred Google, Facebook and Nielsen Media from jointly studying how to effectively monitor, decode and act on user data, conversations and even the subtle expression of sentiments without violating personal privacy standards.
Conversations? Subtle expression of sentiments?
And then this:
For the most part, media companies, agencies and advertisers chose to be digital in safe and comfortable ways without without [sic] testing the bounds of revolutionary interactive applications.
Mislabeling something as interactive does not confer a license to eavesdrop. It’s also a pet peeve of mine that people will call any piece of technology interactive, and it’s not an accident that the people most eager to do so are usually marketing an idea or product.
Something is interactive if choices a user makes determine an outcome calculated by an algorithm. When you play computer chess and it cleans your clock in twelve moves, that’s interactivity. When you dial your iPhone or listen to music on your iPod or use any electronic gadget to do something that simply involves accessing already-created or defined data, you’re not doing anything interactive.
What irks me most, though, is the omni-present belief that the pursuit of money validates all options. Including that day in the future when every child starts life with a blank database waiting to be filled with personally-identifiable purchase, search and site data that can be exploited for gain by anyone. Or at least anyone with the guts to face down a senseless taboo standing in the way of exploitable profits.
— Mark Barrett