Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Marcus Carey’s On the Marc: No privacy as
marketers master new tricks for new media
Obviously you are a user of the “New Media.” Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article on line. Odds are you also use Facebook, maybe Twitter and might be thinking about using Pinterest. But have you ever wondered how all of these people make money? I mean, after all, you don’t pay a fee for any of this stuff and since this is still America, somebody has to have found a way to profit or these gargantuan websites would have faded by now, right?
Yep, right. There is a way to make a profit and a very big one at that, but it is so outside of the box that you barely notice it at all. Let me give you a glimpse of how they make their money.
Have you ever noticed how, if you were shopping on line for a product, such as a gas grill, that the next time you visit the web, for any reason, that ads for gas grills seem to show up? Or how about those emails you get from companies telling you that your opportunity for “free shipping” is about to expire?
Have you ever noticed that when you go to Google to do a search that stuff related to your prior searches seems to come up in the right side column? Or how about the times when you seem stunned that you see an ad about something you “were just talking about”?
Ad agencies have learned that they can track your on-line behavior and then draw a pattern of conduct for you that allows them to sell your on-line time to sellers of goods and services. They can match your interests with products you might like to buy and charge advertisers a huge fee for having conducted all of this research and targeting a specific audience pre-disposed to buy what they are selling.
Well as if that wasn’t enough, now Facebook has changed your email address in your on-line profile to a special email which sends all of your visitor’s mail to your messages section on Facebook. With the ability of high speed computers to dissect your messages looking for specific words or phrases (thank you Homeland Security) now Facebook might be able to use this technology to figure out what you are saying to people and what they are saying to you so that your thoughts can now be rolled into their analysis of your mind and advertisers charged an even bigger premium for this more highly distilled data.
And everybody up the food chain is making money. Facebook mines the data, they sell it to Google, and Google sells it to marketing firms who in turn sell it to customers who want to sell you stuff based upon a computer model of who you are, where you live and what you like to buy.
All wars have given us new technologies for civilian use, but the war on terrorism has perhaps given us the most insidious kind of technology yet. As a result of that “war” electronic eavesdropping, personality profiling and clandestine monitoring of everything we do is now the norm and privacy is now a hollow word.
As the magic of the Internet becomes more commonplace what we should begin to realize is that by our own behavior we willingly gave up our innocence by allowing ourselves to become mesmerized by the new tricks of the new media.
Marcus Carey is a Northern Kentucky lawyer with 32 years experience. He is also a farmer, talk radio host and public speaker who loves history and politics. He is a prolific and accomplished writer whose blog, BluegrassBulletin.com, is “dedicated to honest and respectful comment on the political and cultural issues of our time.” He writes a regular commentary for KyForward.