mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Get the digits, take her home...

Bill Collier hates registration and fears data mining.

The registration thing is a nuciance. I don't really have a problem with it - media has to pay the bills somehow, and it's easier to pay the bills with targeted advertising than untargeted advertising. I'd rather give up some personal info than pay for content. Although as a result of registering for certain websites, I get ads that are unrelated to me - the Minneapolis Star-Tribune emails me about local stuff there because I signed up to read Lilek's BackFence column. I get emails from a Jewish newspaper offering me discounts on Menorahs because I signed up to read an article a while ago - even though I'm not Jewish.

I'm more amazed that companies don't use all the info that they supposedly have at their fingertips. For example, I have never carried a balance on any of my credit cards, ever. Yet every day I get at least one ad for low interest balance transfers, despite the fact that I've never carried a balance and have no intent of doing so, and thus am an unlikely customer for such an offer. With all my financial info available to these companies, why can't they target their market a little better?

Sometimes the mismatch can be funny. My favorite is when I'm surfing the web on my Mac and get one of those fake popup Windows designed to look like a Windows system message telling me I have spyware. It's simple to find the OS of a computer - I'm surprised advertisers don't bother doing it.

One thing that is funny, though, is that like him I have someone else's grocery store membership card. Not out of some brilliant plan to decieve big grocery, but rather I somehow accidently switched cards with one of my roomates when I was in college. What is funny is that the roomate was a Dutch foreign exchange student, so Ronald saved $17 on sale items yesterday despite not having been in the country in nearly 4 years.


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