Monday, June 25, 2007

Privacy: Dealing with Quaint Local Beliefs

It doesn't matter what I think and feel, it's what others think and feel that matters: at least when in comes to getting along with customers.

I was reminded of that fact of life in a bit of informed opinion, titled "Behavioral Marketing and Behaviorally Targeted Advertising" by Nikole Gipps. Gipps's post said that this technology might not be a good idea for small businesses.

And said it in the lead paragraph.

That got my attention, since I expect technically sophisticated folks to be gung-ho over new sorts of gadgetry.

Gipps gave several good reasons, including high cost, the need to advertise on a large site or a network of smaller sites, and possible "privacy" worries on the part of visitors.

The only reason that I don't really understand, at least on an experiential level, is the concern over "privacy." Which brings me back to why I'm posting this thing.

Despite having lived in metropolitan areas, I'm basically a small-town guy. I expect people I see, or who see me, to know who I am, and remember when I was there before, and again when I return.

When I go into a store, I'm not surprised when someone recognizes me. It's not a shock when someone with the store remembers that I bought a particular item, looked at another, and asked about a third last week.

And I'm not offended when that person brings some product or service to my attention, based on my previous behavior.

In fact, I like it. At one time it would be called "customer service," not "invasion of privacy."

Why some folks get worried about that sort of information gathering, I don't know. And it doesn't matter.

Contemporary English-speaking cultures place great importance on the sort of anonymity they call "privacy," and anyone operating in such cultures had better pay attention to that concern.

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