Monday, November 5, 2012

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Data Mining – the collection of every piece of data someone has ever been able assemble about you that gets bought and sold to create the perfect maneuvers of advertisement.
                At first, data mining sounded like a black market and identity theft to me. It gave me an eerie feeling that someone was watching my every move and could even read my thoughts. To me, it was a huge invasion of my privacy that no one had the right to.
                Of course, now that I know a little more about this important method of marketers, I hold a different stance on it. The idea behind it is for the ads to be tailored to a specific person so that the advertising can be more effective.
                I believe data mining is helpful and useful, especially for the consumer. There is less time spent sifting through ads that are not applicable to your lifestyle, and in place of those useless ads, there are ones that you actually care to read or cut out – if it happens to be a coupon.
                My favorite example of this sort of advertisement by catering is on websites such as Amazon or eBay.  The way they use this technique is by suggesting to you a list of items under the caption “Customers who bought this item also bought.”
On eBay the caption reads “See what other people are watching” (because you might want to watch it too).
While cameras may not truly show you that this marketing strategy actually gets people to buy more, consider if you were buying a book. The suggestions for other books to buy become almost endless. On my Kindle Fire, there is the caption “Recommended For You” that gives me a plethora of other titles that I might consider reading. I enjoy this because the “Bestseller” listing does not usually have much that I am personally interested in. Even under more specific categories, such as “Children’s Picture Books,” there seems to be an overwhelming amount to choose from. Now, however, there is a listing that is especially relevant to me according to my record of past purchases. I don’t have to spend unnecessary time searching through books to find one that I might like; I can browse the type of books that are suited to my tastes. That is the whole reason behind data mining.
                Now, of course, there should be limitations to the intake and distribution of such records. I certainly don’t like getting the random calls from computer generated voices trying to sell me retirement plans, and don’t get me started on the spam e-mails or the junk mail that comes from places I have never even heard of. You may have experienced this as well and wondered how in the world they got your address. Well, sorry my friend, but you’ve become a victim like the rest of us of being sold as data bites to that company that just sent you twenty e-mails about their latest product in the last six days.
                However, I would like to point out the fact that many times we have given permission to these companies to handle our information however they please. Have you ever actually read the “Terms & Agreements” to something? I can honestly say I’ve tried. I only get about a quarter of the way through and only comprehend, “Blah blah blah.”
                Here’s something you might actually have read. On Facebook, when you join a new application of game you have to “allow” it access to your information. Also, did you know that once you post a photo on Facebook that the company now owns that photo? They can have it even after you’ve deleted it off you profile, and they can make use of it if they want. Sound scary? Don’t let it; just be smart about what sites you give you information to and what information you give them.

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