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Fork
A coworker linked me this article and I thought it was quite intriguing.

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?
Shrewmkin
It's either classed as "creepy" or "dedication" when dealing with the customer, it's all about the way the person perceives it and if the business views it as not being creepy, then they will improve and personalise the way they do promotions to their customers so they can increase sales and clientele.

Me personally, it doesn't bother me as I am not one to be suckered into brochure's etc, I find it either goes in the recycling bin or gets used as a cover for the concrete/tables when I have to spray paint. Hell I might even just randomly tear it up because I am bored.

It's actually pretty good on how personalised they can make their promotions to be honest. I mean it's not like they randomly got your posting address from hiring an investigator or just following you back to your place. No these people filled out their own personal details, submitted it and in return are given a card that has all the details which when used is sent to the companies database and recorded for the future.

If you don't want to be apart of this "Creepy/Personal" advertising/promotions, don't give out your god damn personal details when they offer you a "rewards card" or something similar.
Fork
I think you're right in that it can be a very good thing or bad thing.

- If a teenager is targeted nappies because they are deemed pregnant by the system, before her parents know - that's creepy.
- If it was a mother that went into the shop obviously pregnant then got brochures for nappies - that's great marketing.

It is very easy to say "don't want it? don't give out your details!" but in this day and age, most people will give out their details at the drop of a hat.

Not only that, it could be happening without you knowing. In the coupon app I'm working on we are tracking users and the coupons they redeem, even if they haven't registered their details. From those details we could interpret their habits and make assumptions on their gender/age etc and market accordingly.

Where do you think the "suggested items" list on Amazon comes from? It's collecting data on you every time you visit the site. Then all they need is one bit of real information (one registration, login, even guest checkout) to stop you being "anonymous user #123456" but instead someone real - then every thing you do from then on is being tracked and added to that real identity who is slowly learning who you are and what you like.

I remember hearing about similar cunt-tactics being used on airline websites - if you go back and look at certain tickets two or three times the site knows you're desperate for them so it bumps up the price a bit as you're pretty much guaranteed to purchase them.

Crazy fucking world we live in..
Shrewmkin
Fork, mine was more aimed at person to person, so stores like Big W, Woolworths, K-Mart etc all usually require some personal details for those rewards cards or just doing simple lay-by's etc. Which is how information is gathered from you.

Now for online, obviously it's through your internet cookies (nom nom nom >.>). I may not be 100% on this, but it obviously tracks the IP address/Mac address (depending on which one is more unique in the condition), records what your past history of visiting X/Y site and items checked, then makes a comparison on similar items, which then shows up an advertisement (amazon/ebay) suggestions for items the person might want. It's even just tracked by you putting in your email address so you can be a registered user.

What would be creepy is when the person from the company arrives at the front gate and hands me the coupons personally... Surely people would have some series issues about that being creepy, which I would agree on.

You mentioning about the coupon redeeming app is also a great example of how predictable peoples habits are and using that to profit the company is okay, just as long as it's not crossing a certain line, like say those telemarketers who call you at 4 am in the morning... Will your application be able to gather personal info like an email address too? Because getting just that alone allows you to put it on another server and so you can promote future applications.
kiral
This kind of stuff makes up like 50% of my job.

As said it's primarily cookie based and no information on individual users is provided.

If I wasn't on my phone I could go into much more detail, but the way I see it is if any advertiser or company is providing you with more relevant ads/products then that's better for the end consumer.
hekate
kiral wrote:
if any advertiser or company is providing you with more relevant ads/products then that's better for the advertiser/company.

Ftfy
Remedial
The example of the telemarkerter that calls you at 4 in the morning isn't a real good one in this context Shrewm, if you're talking about using good data for smart advertising then it would show that calls at 4am are more likely to result in a reduction of sales.

I heard this story a couple of years ago because they use SAS (where I work) to do the data mining, although the story may have just changed to that since it was someone at SAS telling the story.

The part where they add in the extra adds to make it seem less targeted came a while after the super targeted adds because people found it creepy.
kiral
hekate wrote:
kiral wrote:
if any advertiser or company is providing you with more relevant ads/products then that's better for the advertiser/company.

Ftfy


Would you rather ads for products/services you're interested in, or ads for random things which you aren't interested in at all?
Hunterbob
kiral wrote:
hekate wrote:
kiral wrote:
if any advertiser or company is providing you with more relevant ads/products then that's better for the advertiser/company.

Ftfy


Would you rather ads for products/services you're interested in, or ads for random things which you aren't interested in at all?

Or no ads?
Shrewmkin
Hunterbob wrote:
kiral wrote:
hekate wrote:
kiral wrote:
if any advertiser or company is providing you with more relevant ads/products then that's better for the advertiser/company.

Ftfy


Would you rather ads for products/services you're interested in, or ads for random things which you aren't interested in at all?

Or no ads?


Way to be delusional HB, gawd!
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