Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not after you

The Guardian has an excellent piece on online advertising and profiling that details the granularity of contemporary mining programmes. For example, consider the position of Mr Smith, living in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The article tells us he is: (a) slightly overweight; he tried numerous diets and pills, bought home training equipment, and visits weight-loss forums – anonymously he thinks; (b) he has little debt, but he is in a precarious jobs situation; he often visits jobs post sites; he works in the heavy machinery sector, one that is listed as fragile; (c) he lives alone (Smith is tagged as divorced, with grown-ups kids); (d) then he tends to booze and smoke a bit (all of this known thanks to a look at his daily purchases, courtesy of XYZStore where he's an identified coupon-redeemer), etc, etc.

While the aforementioned is fictional, the attention to lifestyle, behaviour, experience and segmentation by deep level profilers is not. Full article here.

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I am director of the Media and Persuasive Communication (MPC) network at Bangor University where I also lecture on political-economy of the media. I am currently working on a book provisionally titled Deconstructing Privacy for Peter Lang and leading two empirical projects in connection with privacy perception and the use of new media for smoking cessation. I am author of Creativity and Advertising: Affect, Events and Process (Routledge, 2013); The Mood of Information: A Critique of Behavioural Advertising (Continuum, 2011); and Digital Advertising (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2009). Please contact me at mcstay@bangor.ac.uk if you are interested in Ph.D supervision or consultancy services.