I think many of us believe we are being tracked in one way or another on our web activity; Is this a good thing or a bad thing? How are attitudes differing in the USA vs the Rest of the World.
Privacy laws vary dramatically from country to country. The ability to track behavior either for commercial, social or government reasons has been radically enhanced over the past 20 years via the explosion of web tools and services.
We have had a number of studies pointed at us at how effective Behavioural Targeting (BT) is. Personally (living in the USA but traveling frequently across countries - spending a lot of time in Europe) I find that attitudes to this are pretty polarized. In countries with strong privacy laws (e.g. EU stalwarts like Germany) the attitude is negative. In the USA its pretty laissez faire.
Finally some independent studies are beginning to appear.
eMarketer has just put together a little piece which is based on an independent study (when are studies not independent!!!).
It appears that actually many Americans don't like it. Frankly I don't like it and I really think that its bad enough being spammed with a lot of stuff but I find BT somewhat creepy.
I was chatting to an Australian friend of mine this week and he explained how annoying he felt getting "targeted" emails which then when he wants to use them he is told - US residents only.
So this is the other part - BT that is sloppy and the spill goes out to completely non-possible respondents.
So BT should indeed be more careful. You cant have it both ways - IE deliver BT tightly to a group and then not check basic things like their email addresses or any other items that would clearly identify them as "foreigners".
But at the end of the day - I think that BT is here to stay. I just hope the metrics and the use thereof are better than the somewhat poor implementations today. This is definitely a version 1.0 product category.
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