Today the NY Times had two articles that discuss this. The first was about a Zappos shoe that kept following a woman around on the web. Seemed to her that on every site she visited for a while, there was that same shoe! Even long after she had originally browsed the Zappos site. Sounded scary, I didn’t want to know much more than that.
The second piece was about marketers and retailers using the location capabilities of smart phones. I have written about this on a number of occasions, (just click on the design technology tag, and you’ll see a few columns) but the article mentions one that was new to me, ShopKick.
It sounds like they have combined location functionality, traditional couponing, a retailer incentive program, and a frequent buyer program, and more, into one app.
As the NY Times piece mentions, it will be interesting over time to see how much privacy consumers are willing to give up to gain special discounts, points and other promotional stuff.
My suspicion is that my suspicion is generational. Folks of my age seem to have more value for privacy, (or perhaps just think we have more of it than we actually do) than the millennial generation.
One example comes from the controversial UC Berkeley program that asks incoming students to voluntarily, and anonymously, give a DNA sample which would be tested for several traits. These results will then be shared in a campus wide discussion on personalized medicine. In a survey of faculty (older folks), less than 20% thought that most students would volunteer, while over 90% of students thought, that if asked, they would volunteer.
The article ends with a comment by Sam Altman of Loopt, who supports the notion that sharing, at least in this way, is generational. He says “the magic age is people born after 1981”. That of course was the year Walter Cronkite retired from the CBS nightly newscast.
“And that’s the way it is”
The photo is by Mark Schiefelbein for The New York Times