How advertisers can use your personal info to get you to pay higher prices

“Imagine that you are halfway through the second week of a grueling diet. It’s been going alright – but lunches are always the hardest for you,” Tarun Wadhwa reports for Forbes. You walk out of your office building to get a salad, when suddenly, you get a text message. It’s from a nearby restaurant offering you a discount on your favorite burger, encouraging you to ‘cheat just this once’ and they’ll throw in a free side of fries. Somehow the company behind the advertisement knew what foods you like, when you’d be craving them, how much you’d be willing to pay, and the pitch most likely to get you through their doors.”

“To be clear, companies have some legitimate reasons for wanting to make advertisements more personal. The problem is that online marketing today isn’t very sophisticated,” Wadhwa reports. “For all the information that these firms are collecting, they are not very good at ‘relevance’ – they’re still struggling to get the right ad in front of the right person. But that doesn’t mean it will be this way forever.”

“There seems to be a lot of interest in making ads more ‘useful’ to both companies and consumers, even when it borderlines on being invasive. Apple and Microsoft have already filed patents for ‘mood-based advertising,’ Facebook has expanded tracking into the physical world, and Amazon is exploring how to get customers what they want before they even place an order,” Wadhwa reports. “Companies like Orbitz have already gotten in hot water for steering Mac users toward higher-priced options, and Staples was recently exposed for charging different shoppers different prices for the same items.”

Read more in the full article here.

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6 Comments

  1. Anonymize yourself:
    – Use Tor Browser.
    – Use an Evercookie manager like ‘Cookie’ or ‘Cookie Stumbler’.
    – Fake what your browser’s identity either via the browser’s own settings or an app like Anonymizer.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evercookie

    Also, as usual:
    If a company screws you over, screw them back (within legal regulations). The single best method continues to be to BAD MOUTH the BAD COMPANIES. Anyone who has studied marketing knows bad customer PR is DOOM to any company. It spreads like wildfire and can haunt a company for years. That’s one reason I’ve written two detailed exposés of Time Warner Cable customer abuse via my blogs. Now Time Warner is trying to sell off its crap cable division. HeeHee HaHa! Retribution pays.

    1. Time Warner Cable was spun off from the parent and is not shopping itself around. CONcast is wanting to do to TWC what they did to Adelphia by carving it up for the parts it wants. The DoJ would probably not allow it.

      TWC has some very highly prized franchises.

  2. “There seems to be a lot of interest in making ads more ‘useful’ to both companies and consumers….”
    No. Just to companies, they are paying, the customers are not. period.

  3. Is there anyone else out there in which “ads” generally have the opposite effect than the ad intended?

    I have always been skeptical of ads. For me: “free fries” – I would go the other way. “Lowest price in town” – thats a lie and I wouldn’t go there because that alone means that they are crooks.

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