How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did
(Please forgive the horrendous ad you need to click through to get to the article)
It gives you a brief intro:
Forbes wrote:Every time you go shopping, you share intimate details about your consumption patterns with retailers. And many of those retailers are studying those details to figure out what you like, what you need, and which coupons are most likely to make you happy. Target, for example, has figured out how to data-mine its way into your womb, to figure out whether you have a baby on the way long before you need to start buying diapers.
I thought that was quite clever, as I work with data collection/aggregation/reports every day at work - and also moving into the coupon world with this kind of data.
But then it gets creepy…
Creepy Forbes wrote:As Pole’s computers crawled through the data, he was able to identify about 25 products that, when analyzed together, allowed him to assign each shopper a “pregnancy prediction” score. More important, he could also estimate her due date to within a small window, so Target could send coupons timed to very specific stages of her pregnancy.
Ok that's fine, but then they get around it by manipulating their customers in a super creepy way..
Super Creepy Forbes wrote:“Then we started mixing in all these ads for things we knew pregnant women would never buy, so the baby ads looked random. We’d put an ad for a lawn mower next to diapers. We’d put a coupon for wineglasses next to infant clothes. That way, it looked like all the products were chosen by chance.
“And we found out that as long as a pregnant woman thinks she hasn’t been spied on, she’ll use the coupons. She just assumes that everyone else on her block got the same mailer for diapers and cribs. As long as we don’t spook her, it works.”
The article goes into it deeper, but that's the crux of it.
Then throw in the personal story about the daughter and father and it makes you think.…
What are your thoughts on this?
We are probably just scraping the surface here - and if this level of creep is legal, what are the more unethical companies doing with our data?