by October 7th, 2014on
I’ve blogged about the personalization failure before. Now it looks like others are catching on to the ultimate failure on their part, even as they harvest huge amounts of private information about us. This article in ComputerWorld outlines the issues. The author Mike Elgan hits the topic of privacy quickly and never lets it go:
Companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon violate our privacy in order to show us relevant ads. So why do their ads miss the mark?
To be honest, he has a point. We do give up a lot of information to the likes of Google and Facebook, but the personalization and ad pushes seem to leave a lot to be desired. Where exactly does all that data go? It doesn’t seem to do a good job identifying our secret needs.
Personal data harvesting for contextual ads and content should be a beautiful thing. Companies monitor what you do, where you go, who you interact with and what your interests are. They do it privately and securely, and it’s all automated so that no human being actually learns anything about you. And then the online world becomes customized, just for you. The ads are always the things you want to buy. The services are just what you’re looking for. The content is exactly the stuff you enjoy.
It doesn’t always work that way, but that’s how it’s supposed to work.
What’s wrong with the public anxiety about this scenario? People are mostly concerned about the privacy violation. But it could be argued that there is no such violation, in most cases. It’s really a philosophical question as to whether your privacy has been violated if no human being sees your data.
The real problem with this scenario is that is we’re paying for contextual ads and content with our personal data, but we’re not getting what we pay for.
After reading the article, I was again left with the same question: How come you have the information, but cannot get the personalization right?