Targeted Advertising

Who knew! God wants your mobile data too

Cartoon God

So long story short I stumbled across a great site for you to check out privacy ratings called PrivacyGrade.  I actually found this through reading an article by Kim Komando highlighting the cost to our privacy when we acquire free apps.  Of course some apps need our personal information such as google maps, but what about apps like the Despicable Me game or Fruit Ninja? Why on God’s earth do they need this information?  Speaking of God… more on that later.

We all know we don’t read the terms and conditions and unless you are on iOS you can’t set your own privacy settings on a case by case basis. This is where PrivacyGrade can help and it is run by a team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University who have devised a simple grading system from A+ to D.  This grading model measures the gap between our expectations of privacy behavior vs the actual behavior.

For example when you download Google Maps you know they will need access to your location data, or Gmail will need access to your contacts to make sending emails easier, you know what to expect and therefor both these apps get an A.  “It does what it says on the tin” so to speak.

In terms of the low scorers the most surprising was the #1 Holy Bible app which scored a D, the lowest grade.  This app’s permissions require full access to your network, your user accounts, your phone status and identity, can read your contacts and track your approximate location.  Not only that but you also give permissions to third parties such as Flurry, Facebook, Tapjoy, Jsoup and Oauth!  Who would have thought catching up on ‘His Word’  would require so much of your passive data.

Also concerning is the related app Bible for Kids which requires the same permissions. This was graded C which I don’t understand as the details are pretty much the same and I would have thought that our expectations would be stronger around privacy considering the target audience.  Targeted advertising to your kids anyone?

If you can’t be bothered to read the T&C’s check out the Privacy Guide

 

 

 

Ello, Ello, Ello….

ello

 

So after quite a long wait I finally got my invite to Ello!

For those of you who haven’t heard of Ello it is the new social media platform which is committed to being ad free FOREVER.  This is truly exciting for a nerd like me who has a big interest in who owns/controls our personal information.  It has potential to offer a real alternative to other social platforms without the cost of  giving up our valuable information and pushing advertising right into our news feeds.

It does come with a learning curve so for any of you that are interested please be aware of the following

  • It is harder to use at first because it has unfamiliar terminology and navigation
  • You need an invite to become part of the network
  • It is ‘ad-free’ and promises to be forever
  • There are no ‘like’ buttons
  • You can upload photos but not videos (at present)
  • You don’t have to use your real name
  • You have two options for what comes into your news feed ‘noise’ or ‘friends’.  ‘Friends’ are people you have chosen to follow, just like Twitter and ‘noise’ are people you follow without alerting them to the fact you are following them
  • Your profile has limited components right now – a picture, a bio and your name
  • It is still in Beta so it is still growing and evolving – have patience
  • It is  transparent – it tells you what has been developed, what is coming and makes long-term commitments

I am probably a little starry-eyed right now and the proof will be in my network of friends and family being willing to go the extra mile and engage with Ello – currently they are most active on Facebook just like myself and why change?  For me it was their manifesto

Ello Manifesto

WOW 🙂

If any of you are interested in joining me on Ello, Let me know I am happy to send you an invite so that your wait doesn’t have to be as long as mine!

 

The Wonderful Wizards of Advertising

Diet products and supplement advertising is really a sordid and manipulative industry.  I have fallen for it with the Wild Rose diet and I bought the Atkins book (he was a doctor wasn’t he?).  Yes they worked but because there wasn’t much that I wanted to eat from the permissible food list; hence I ate less.  But are they sustainable?  Hell no, I like my chocolate, cheese, bread, pasta…..

What does this have to do with us controlling our personal information?  The more companies know about you the more they can target you specifically through your current emotion or activity.  For example on Facebook you can put in your status how you are feeling (this is coded for easy analysis by the way), reading, eating, watching etc.  If you were to put in ‘feeling sad’ and ‘eating cake’ you are probably going to be targeted for the Garcinia Cambogia pill or chair gym – yep you can look fabulous without leaving your chair!  What we buy is an emotional thing, we are not really the rational beings we think we are when buying stuff, if it isn’t emotional that it is probably habit.

I was being completely irrational and very emotional when buying the Wild Rose and Atkins books.  I have never believed in diets, I don’t like diets and I always scoff at others who do them so what made me do this?  I am so bombarded by images in advertising that makes me feel bad but gives me hope, there is a wide range of feelings that weight loss advertising evokes in me.

1 – Fear, although not overweight I am a bit of an apple shape which apparently puts me at higher risk of heart disease!  I don’t want to get heart disease

2 –Insecurity.  Images of young, beautiful and happy girls with the perfect body!  Yep I want that!  I want to wear a bikini and run down the beach with confidence without feeling my belly rise and fall at the opposite time to the rest of my body

3 – Living the dream.  These ads make me feel like I can’t be truly happy until I get down to that perfect weight (for me that is 115lbs – ridiculous).  Anyone who doesn’t think they would be happier if they were thinner are in the minority.  For me it’s like buying the lottery ticket and imagining what I will do with the winnings.  With being thinner I imagine all the wonderful clothes I would wear and all the places I would wear them.  Super happy and super confident.

4 – Dazzled by science.  There is always a new study or a new specialist out there who wants to tell us a new quick fix to getting the perfect bod!  It must be true its science; these pills really will speed up my metabolism or absorb the fat so that it isn’t absorb into our bodies and I get to eat what I want.

5 – Trust– Well Doctor Oz said its true so it must be right?  Celebrities and celebrity doctors are in our homes through the TV, we think we know them and we think we can trust them.  We have either seen them work off their own weight and have found that miracle or they are doctors who we have already put on the pedal stool of honesty.  This was never more perfectly ripped to pieces than by John Oliver on Last Week Tonight.  I hope you watched the video not only because it is so hilarious but also because ‘Morning Joe’ so beautifully epitomizes how irrational we are.

 

 

 

Reach Out and Touch Someone – Can advertising get a little more intimate without being creepy?

Following from my previous dismay at having so-called targeted advertising with the personal touch of adding my surname keep calmCosta to a terrible hoodie,  I have had another very dodgy attempt at getting my attention.  This time, same jumper but my first name!  Hideous.  We have been able to get tops with our names on them since the 80’s, really is the best that can be done with our personal information?

I really don’t mean to be negative about tailored advertising because I believe there are good opportunities to build relationships with us.  The problem is these examples where advertisers don’t yet know how to touch us as individual people rather than a group demographic.

I was recently in London and soon got back into the routine of reading the metro newspaper which is free for all commuters, and one of my favourite pieces in the paper are the regular ‘Rush Hour Crush’ and ‘Good Deed Feed’.  These are pages where commuters can talk to each other to either give a ‘thank you or a channel for someone to pluck up the courage to let another commuter know they have a mega crush on them.  People write the most touching and kind things to each other and all of us commuters as a community get to share a snippet of these  personal stories.  Truly I find this an uplifting start to the day and I look forward to reading them in the knowledge that my mood will be raised. Here are just a couple of examples

 “You’re loud mouthed, dark-haired and petite.  I heard you on the phone saying you would love a rush hour crush to be about Rush Houryou.  If you would only glance up from these pages and notice me I could show you that you already have one and maybe we could get to know each other away from the constraints of the commute.  You make my heart skip every time you get on from Surbiton to Waterloo”.

 

 

And on the ‘Good Deed Feed’

“Thank you to the drivers and guards who take the time to wave to my train obsessed two-year old as you go through Earlsfield station.  You make a little boy very happy”Good Deeds

 

 

This is how people connect with people and is a perfect example of a community who use personal information in a way to touch others and build relationships from afar.  Imagine a company who could harness this type of communication with us through better understanding (provided through our personal information and behaviour).  Not only would they connect with us on intimate human level but they would be building a story that others could be part of.  Surely there is a better way than just putting my name on a piece of clothing.

Do you think this is possible?  How do you think companies can connect with us in a more intimate or human way?