Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Surprise! Marketers will sell you out!

You've got bigger problems than privacy violations if you needed to be told that marketers want as much of your personally identifying information as they can get their hands on. Strangely enough, the consumers providing that information would rather not give them carte blanche to track their myriad personal details. Who would have guessed?

A UMass Amherst study shows that marketers and consumers have differing expectations of "privacy." I'm not surprised. Most of the consumers would rather choose or control what information that marketers had access to. Most marketers didn't expect consumers to be bothered by the fact that they were harvesting as much data as they could get their hands on.

I don't understand why marketers don't get this, especially after the backlash generated by so many embarrassing incidents. Google took a hit by pre-emptively connecting people through Google Buzz. Blizzard provoked fan outrage by trying to get everyone in their forums to post using real names. I can respect the fact that they want to grab as much information as they can to increase their sales, but I wish they'd be honest about their motivations instead of lying to us (and possibly themselves) about how they just want to use this information to make our lives better.

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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