A recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Your Apps Are Watching You” revealed (shockingly) that smartphone app developers are sharing certain bits of personal user information with third party companies. (To make this post gay-related, one of the apps discussed in the article is every gay’s favorite mobile hookup site Grindr, which sends gender, location, and phone ID information to advertising firms.)
Just today, satellite television provider DirecTV announced it will launch a targeted ad platform beginning in August or September of next year amid cries of “privacy concerns.” Back in October a study announced that Facebook might be revealing private user information to advertisers to help them better target their ads.
The only thing that surprises me about these stories is that people continue to be surprised about these stories. Sharing customer information with advertisers is nothing knew. How do you think the telemarketing industry began? Luckily, laws have been created to protect consumers from intrusive practices like unsolicited telemarketing, spamming, and text message marketing.
What people must realize is that the information that Grindr, DirecTV, and Facebook share will make the ads they experience more relevant to them. Advertisers use this behavioral, contextual, demographical, and geographical information to broadcast ads that will be more pertinent, interesting and useful to the person viewing them.
Yes I’m a marketer, and yes I may be biased, but I for one welcome the opportunity to view ads that are tailored to my interests and lifestyle. If sharing some user information means never having to watch a Monistat 7 commercial again sign me up!