Growth5 Blog

Friday, August 7, 2009

Did You Know You Are Working as an Unpaid Data Entry Specialist?

Every time you enter your information when registering at a site, making purchases or even just browsing, you are performing the data entry the collectors of this information need to exploit "serve" you better.

This article from the NY Times explores how some companies are combining your offline profile with the data collected online to get to know you even better.
"The technology that makes the connection is nothing new — it is a tiny piece of code called a cookie that is placed on a hard drive. But the information it holds is. And it is all done invisibly.

“Now, you’re traveling the Internet with a cookie that indicates you’re this type of consumer: age group X, income level, urban versus rural, presence of children in the household,” said Trey Barrett, a product leader at Acxiom, one of the companies offering this linking to marketers."
If you trend as a budget shopper you will be given better deals online or via email for products that other consumers will pay full price for because their habits indicate they will buy it anyway.

Not all companies are combining offline and online information.
"In 2000, DoubleClick abandoned plans to connect online and offline data after a huge outcry. Google, which later acquired DoubleClick, has been conducting studies that connect the two areas, but it does not currently collect or serve ads based on such personal information without user permission, Sandra Heikkinen, a Google spokeswoman, said.
Since you know you are contributing to your own exposure, for starters, there a couple things you can do to hold onto some of your privacy. First, you can delete cookies and/or set your browser preference to not accept them. Secondly, you might have to start reading a little bit, but don't just ignore the privacy policy of sites you are registering at or frequenting. Sometimes you are giving the site permission to use or sell your info without knowing it. Read the policy and opt out of the info sharing.

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