Friday, 14 March 2008

Internet Privacy: An Oxymoron?

This post has really been inspired by Phorm's press coverage this week, and Facebook's controversial Beacon application. Phorm is a new online advertising model based on tracking consumer's browsing history through their ISPs to subject them to relevant advertisements. Its quite an innovative model, and at present the only one in the UK. If i'm not mistaken I think i first read about the concept in Chris Anderson's The Long Tail.

The controversey surrounding the company is that certain voices (notably The FT and Campaign magazine - bible of the advertising industry) believe that it is giving away this data without the user's permission. Phorm have retaliated by saying that all the data collected will keep the user's profile and demographic confidential. Whatever, the outcome of this debate is Phorm has enormous potential and if they can turn the PR spin on this I expect them to be a huge success.

Also, whilst on the subject of internet privacy, I was fortunate enough to attend a talk by Garlik founder Tom Ilube earlier in the year. Garlikis a company claims to keep user's online data private. I signed up to their Qtrack service earlier in the year. However, I'm a bit sceptical as the site seemed to want me to add an enormous amount of data to my public profile.

It's gonna be interesting to see where this debate extends to
as the more data available the greater scope there is for marketers to accurately targets consumers...

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