posted on Jul, 13 2010 @ 03:32 PM
Introducing the BI concept
Nowadays, most big business use BI (business intelligence) systems, that get data and transform that in information that will have an impact on their
business. An example: a rental video shop have a lot of data like DATE where a copy of a movie gets rented, its customers, how many copies of each
Ok, but that isnt useful information. So, thought a BI techniques, you get all these data, transforms, and you can create a new database containing
the DATE-TIME where the last copy of each movie was rented, and that would be a valuable information for the rental store.
What about websites
So, ok, and whats the relation between this and websites.
Well, almost all websites you go to already have databases that store information about the actual content. So, imagine what sites like www.imdb.com,
www.cnn.com, itunes could get of useful information? Which movies a certain region of the world prefers? Which type of movies nowadays are getting
more attention? Which news is the most read in EAST-US? Which country buys more digital music? You will analyze the history too, by days, weeks,
months, years, or even hours, everything will depend on your objective.
So you will have valuable information about your business. The big problem is that, not only the website will use information to improve their own
service, but maybe they will sell information to Hollywood industry, music industry, government ... it may be actually a very good way to get money to
Community board example
Lets use a community board as an example: they have information about views, replies, content, category, date about all the Topics, users IP address,
maybe SEX. But, again, that alone is just data, thats not good information.
What kind of information would be good for a community discussion like website? Well, you could profile users by region, and each time a reply, a
view, a create topic action is made, you could get this data and transform that into valuable information.
So, now, as example, you could have information about which subjects are getting more attention in each part of the world and by SEX. And you can
analyze that by days, so, you can know exactly the history and get patterns of usage.
Back to BI
Again, the type of information that a business (an organization, a company, a website) can get is EXTREMELY valuable to them, since they can use to
improve their services, to minimize costs ... But the information is valuable to other business. As I said, a movie website may be able to get
information that the movie industry wants to know.
Everything I said is not hard to do. You have a database, you can redirect information to another so they can process in a different way, no problem,
that wont cause you a lot of difficulties to do if you study the techniques. You wont need to do anything illegal, you will just use the data you
already have and transform that in useful information.
And thats not illegal I suppose, since you wouldnt profile an specific user, but his characteristics like REGION, SEX, AGE CLASS (A - 0~15 ; B - 16~22
...)if you have them available. But its just amazing the amount of information you could get by doing just that.
The Google "thing"
What about Google? If you have a google account, you probably know that they record information about what you search on the web, which videos you
watch, besides all the other stuff they need to record and associate everything to YOUR email@example.com
So, why the heck would Google do that? Why would they record the information by username? Dont get me wrong, they should record what people search,
so they can improve their system, but why would they record that associated to your username? Isnt that a waste of space?
Thats very weird, if they wanted to do a profile about what people are searching around the globe, they wouldnt need to associate searches with your
name, so, thats probably used to sell information to some agencies that want to investigate specific individuals.
So, can I know if they are studying users behaviors and selling that?
No, its impossible to know, and I would say that in the future that would be a must in any big website. It will be used to improve the website, but,
as I said, it can be a valuable way to get money for your website.
So, now the question is, is this legal? Is this ethic ?