Internet Marketing, Advertising and Online Privacy

Advertising and Online Privacy

The do-not-call-list absurdity meant the default setting for phone marketers was “its OK to call everybody.” Persons had to request telephone marketers NOT to call with whatever advertising message they were hired to give. Why was this so completely backward? Why wasn’t there simply an op-in list of persons and households who wanted to be called and solicited for a variety of products and or causes? Of course, the answer is, that list would be very small. Think of all the “phone banks” and the highly educated (reading the “canned” script) telephone representatives forced to find other jobs. Perhaps to the friendly ranks of the DMV.

Now comes online privacy and its impact on advertising.

Marketing / advertising has always been about “targeting.” How does the marketing message reach the exact audience with the strongest potential for making a buying or “action” decision? When Callaway sponsors a show on the television Golf channel it knows a majority of viewers will be golfers and as such, interested in the Callaway line of products. This is an example of “direct targeting” as opposed to a Super Bowl commercial where the audience is certainly greater, but with huge divergence in interests. The Super Bowl commercials are the best example of “throw it on the wall and see what sticks.” Of these two advertising opportunities, I believe Callaway to be better off by directing its efforts to an audience it knows is interested–this is “laser targeting,” and it dosen’t cost $3million for a 30 second commercial.

Selling your personal information:
The search engines want to sell your search viewing habits and internet research topics with marketers for delivery of “Targeted Messages.” They evidently cannot generate enough revenue through their “targeted” search advertising business models. Many privacy pundits cringe at sour taste that monetizing web search statistics and viewer search habits leave in their mouths, but offer no reasonable solutions.

Government trying to get into policing technology should scare the entire Internet viewing community. While many members of Congress have the latest and fastest computers on their desks, their secretaries are the ones who have to read, and then print the emails for the member. There doesn’t seem to any politician that really knows how the Internet works.

On Thursday 2-23-2012 President Obama said, “American consumers can’t wait any longer for clear rules of the road that ensure their personal information is safe online.” A group of 36 state attorneys general sent a letter to Google on Wednesday with concerns about the search giant’s plans to begin sharing users’ personal information across Google products on March 1 without giving consumers an opt-in option.

In reference to “Do-not-track” buttons located in major Internet Browsers “It rings hollow to call their ability to exit the Google products ecosystem a ‘choice’ in an Internet economy where the clear majority of all Internet users use – and frequently rely on – at least one Google product on a regular basis,” the National Association of Attorneys General said in the letter.

Instead of forcing consumers to locate and activate the do-not-track feature (which can be ignored by advertisers) why not make the default Browser settings information-non-collectable, and a special button for “yes, do whatever you want with my personal information? In the event the search giants are able to deflect this reasonable and simple step as being too costly it should be mentioned Google reported revenues of $10.58 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2011. Or how about conducting your search business with a search engine who will NOT collect, sell or share your personal information with anyone? For those of you that thought “no such animal” exists, let me reasure you one does. Its name is

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