Advertisers Data-Mining on MySpace

Chris Hoofnagle is attending the Ad:Tech San Francisco conferences on new advertising technologies, where he has found “several trends that have serious privacy implications.” Among these is the gathering data from social networking sites like Friendster and Myspace for marketing and advertising. Chris quotes from an article covering the conference that notes matter-of-factly how “Internet social networks like MySpace.com and blogging phenomenon are creating millions of self-reported consumer profiles for potential targeting of products and services.” Scary stuff.
Chris also reveals how values can be embedded (or not embedded) in the design of these Web 2.0 sites. Rather than protecting user privacy, these sites are designed to encourage users to give up personal information:

Life online leaves a trail of data for marketers to follow on an individual level. Instead of gathering and tracking data on consumers’ responses to offers, marketers can design the features and functionality of social networks that nudge users to add more personal data to their profiles, which in turn can be used for targeting ads.

“This generation is growing up under surveillance in such a controlled environment; it’s an effective way to connect with them,” Gold said.

Surveillance in the spirit of efficient advertising…gotta love Web 2.0!

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