Defining BIG MOTHER: What If Everything We Said Online Became a Coupon?

Defining BIG MOTHER: What If Everything We Said Online Became a Coupon?

the consumer is the targetWhat if Facebook used every status update, every personal message and chat to frame up the pages of their website to sell us stuff. What if every Google search you did was stored and used to profile your likes and dislikes, and even the likes and dislikes of your friends. And what if Gmail was really just a promotional platform for Google, and if you wrote an email about getting a divorce your Google ads would start showing “singles” ads and books on divorce in Texas. And so what if Facebook, the goliath of the online universe decides that everything on your wall and on your friends wall is fair game for becoming a coupon?

Welcome to privacy-free content marketing from Facebook and Google. And it’s not really permission-based marketing, because even if you click every privacy, do-not-share, do-not-cross-promote button you can find, deep down in the fine print, Facebook owns the right to your posts and your friends posts. There’s no opting out of that legal fact. You could leave facebook and delete your account. But guess what, they don’t have to delete your data. Ever.

So is this a bad thing, all of this associated content about you building in the cloud of the Google/Face/Twitter complex? Haven’t we given up all of our privacy when we switch to gmail in the first place? And using Google as our search engine, don’t we really know that they are using and storing all of our historical searches, yes even the x-rated ones, to better market to our tastes. Haven’t you bought into the “data is benign as long as it’s not directly attributable to me.” Or maybe it’s okay as long as my personal data isn’t sold along with the demographic data.

Well, this process continues to evolve into something I’m coining BIG MOTHER.

  • Monitors and stores all of your online activity.
  • Makes enormous interconnections between you and your friends and family using this data to identify and exploit markting opportunities.
  • Knows your friends and what they are interested in. And can make suggestions to you about stuff just because 3 of your friends like it.
  • Friends and family consult her when asking questions about you and how you are doing.
  • Will aggregate your personal data cloud and use it to market to your kids when they arrive on the scene with credit cards and iPhones.

Now, I’m not really a conspiracy theorist, or privacy activist, but I do know about about marketing and the data that is collected online in the name of marketing. And if you want to have a clue about how this data is being used to craft coupons and offers and deals that magically appear in your browser, you might want to look a this book, by one of the head guys at a company called HitWise. Have you ever heard of Hitwise? Unless you are in marketing, probably not, but I can garauntee they’ve got a cloud on you. You may be titled something like: TX-323233-AUS-332, but it’s you alright. And this book will show you how they take that data from HitWise and match it up with the Google Search data where you are known by your gmail address, and they pretty much know what you ate for breakfast this morning and if you are trying to decide between buying a kayak or a road bike this weekend.

I’m comfortable with it, because I know the system is there and I ignore and turn off all the “show like ads to your friends” sort of selections. But until there are more options for opting OUT of the cloud, we’re all up there as a series of likes, dislikes, late-night habits, fetishes, interests, hobbies, relationships, brand affiliations and tastes. We all have our little personal advertising billboard in the cloud displaying our WANTS and NEEDS. And if wants to show me another enticement to use their service, or Blu The Revolutionary new Electronic Cigarette thinks I might be in the market for a new addiction, DING, they’ve got my profile, they pay for the privilege and up pops the ad on my facebook page.

What we need is an OPT-OUT CLOUD. A NO-CLOUD. A DO-NOT-SOLICITE CLOUD. But of course Google, and Facebook and Hitwise would loose millions of opportunities and dollars if we did. But we need the option to tell BIG MOTHER to back the frak off, don’t you think? Until then we’re all in the Friends and Family Plan where the web and the companies that run the web, Google/Amazon/Hitwise, all have unlimited access to our desires and dreams, for a price.

Keep it social and let me know if I can help socialize your business results.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

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