posted on Mar, 13 2008 @ 12:49 PM
I haven't posted here for many moons, but thought this may be of interest to those who wonder - or for that matter not even know - how they are being
targeted and influenced by the boys on Madison Avenue.
I have worked in the Advertising industry for over 30 years. Recently I was approached by a well known Multi National Ad agency to possibly go work
with them. During these discussions I was shown an office that they had recently built. It contained wall to wall flat screen monitors showing various
live feeds from several Internet websites that were related in someway to products that the Agency promoted for their clients. Each screen had an
inset window that showed numbers tabulating in real time. This I was told reflected the activity on the pages being displayed - Click through's,
hits, referrals,avg time at location etc etc -.Sadly there is nothing unusual or novel about data mining. It is with us and will never go away,but
thats just the tip of the iceberg.
As part of the minning process, every "Hit" has it's incoming IP address captured and cataloged. Every RSS feed IP is similarly captured,
processed, and cross referenced with several other "search engine" portals, all with the intent of identifying patterns of travel from the
incoming IP address. Again no great revelation there. I'am sure most people know its going on, but don't really see it as a issue.
The information derived from these excersises is where it gets interesting.
IP addresses, for a price, can be readily converted to real world addresses. This is incredibly useful for an advertiser as it allows them to Tag
consumers, customize what they see, and prepare them to be unwittingly led to market.
It works like this....Consumer X is looking to buy a new car. He has been looking at sites containing information on BMW cars (It could be any make of
car but i'll use BMW for the sake of of this post). Infact he has visited several automotive Internet sites including the official BMW site. We know
this because his IP has been tagged and tracked as illustrated earlier. Over the years Consumer X has purchased various cars in the price range of a
brand new BMW. We know this because we have bought the mailing lists for New car buyers that are readily available at a price from the myriads of
marketing companies that provide those services. We know that consumer X fits into certain demographic groups that are favourable to the purchase of
high priced automobiles. This information is harvested from Census records, marketing surveys, credit card limits and transactions etc etc. This cross
pollination is still in its infancy, but is already the most powerful tool available to those who wish to sell you their product. Shotgun marketing is
now a thing of the past. Pinpoint targeting has become the rule of the day.
Once Consumer X has been identified, and is seen to meet the criteria to be able to buy a high end vehicle, the "Round-up" commences.
Everytime he logs on to the Internet he will be shown at various times sidebar ads for BMW, if his email address has been captured he will start
getting BMW spam, he will start to receive brochures via snail mail. He may even get phone-calls from Bombay or Calcutta telling him that as part of a
"Special" promotion he has ben selected for preferential financing if he is looking to buy a BMW. He'll start to receive flyers from the local BMW
show room suggesting Test Drives and incentives. If there is a TV/Press campaign underway he'll start to identify with them as they quietly massage
his ego. In short he will be bombarded with enticements that keep him moving in the "right" direction.
My colleagues in the industry will argue that all of this is a SERVICE to the consumer and in no way manipulative. I will argue that if I caught
someone outside my house looking through my window to see what I was doing on the Internet, I would greet them with a Snub-Nose and demand to know
what the @#$% they where up to.
The Internet has provided the manipulators with anonymity and carte blanche access to certain aspects of our daily lives, from that vantage point
they can influence your thoughts and desires. For people that worry that the Internet will someday be regulated, worry no more. Those who want your
money will never ever let it happen.
[edit on 13-3-2008 by Seeker PI]