Sunday, March 25, 2012

The internet revisited

A few days ago, I referred to information on-line not always being strictly accurate when I google myself, but since I don't google myself all that often I had some trouble finding any actual inaccuracies other than my middle initial (although I did find quite a bit that was out-of-date, some of it more than 25 years out of date which was odd what with there being no commercial internet in those days).  Later that week a friend of mine sent me a kind of marketing profile.  In short, her firm purchases lists, based on things hundreds of people have purchased on-line, searched on free sites (google, facebook), etc.  By working backwards, it is possible to make generalizations about me based on what lists I am on.  I admit I enjoyed this tremendously. 

There has been a lot, A LOT of talk recently about privacy on-line & I confess I think most of it is bunk.  I mean, honestly people did you really think facebook just existed for your convenience?  How do you think they keep the lights on?   You want your friends to see pictures of your new baby but you're worried the whole world might be watching, well, have you considered sticking them in an envelope & putting a stamp on it?  Before you say "that costs too much" or "that is inconvenient" consider the cost &/or inconvenience of getting those pictures back once they have been used to endorse a product or political candidate or whatever because there they were, free for the taking, where you never meant to leave them.  See how that works?

Anyway.  So this is what I learned about myself:

I like dogs (yes), dachshunds specifically (indeed), also horses (yes), but no mention of cats, cockatiels, cows or any other animal
I have a child (never), in fact I have children (no), at least one of them is in school (still no)
I like food (yes), I eat steak (never, but this might have been confusion about "cow" themed searches)
I am married (yes), I am divorced (no); I have been married (yes), I have been divorced (no)
I read (yes), I read a great deal (yes), I am a high volume reader (Okay we get it, she reads!)
I enjoy movies (yes), foreign movies (yes), indie films (yes), comedies, dramas, classic films (yes, yes, yes & yes), I prefer to watch movies at home (I do) rather than a movie theater (that's right)
I enjoy the outdoors (uhm, Okay), I enjoy camping (absolutely not)
I enjoy traveling (no), I wear make-up (not often),
In the past year I have given money to NPR (yes), PETA (no), a political party (never)
In the next year I will make an electronics purchase (well, A will), an automotive purchase (does an oil change count?), plan a vacation getaway (I doubt it)
I am a protestant (never), I am religiously observant (ditto), I am deceased (not yet)
& my personal favorite:  my estimated annual income is between $0 & $500k (how is this useful?)

Just for laughs, the same person who sent me this looked up that guy we both went to school with currently doing time for stealing cars.  Turns out that while they knew quite a bit about him, they had no idea he had a criminal record.  Actually, they probably don't care whether or not he is in jail so long as they can market stuff to him while he is in there.  I only just now thought to wonder if HE will be making an automotive purchase in 2012.

1 comment:

  1. It amuses me that I can buy a product on line and then have ad after ad coming up trying to get me to buy that same product. How is this smart marketing?