A couple of weeks ago I brought up a related issue in class. I had recently visited the Tom’s Shoes website and searched for a couple of outside articles about the company. The next thing I knew I was being followed, smothered even, by Tom’s ads that would pop up on just about every site that I visited. The Tom’s onslaught has since died down but the issue of online tracking and monitoring persists.
These days, monitoring is prevalent on almost every site that you visit and much of it is happening clandestinely, behind the backs of both the Internet surfer and the host sites that they visit. As a result some websites have begun cracking down on monitoring. Is this because they are worried about the privacy of their visitors? Probably not; Many of these sites are recognizing that there is a lot of money to be made in capturing and selling their own site visitor data. Clamping down on tracking can also be a good PR move for companies.
Market research and data is a very valuable tool for virtually every company. It can also be valuable to the consumer as it allows them to receive more targeted advertising that allows them to cut through the clutter in an increasingly informative world. Where should the balance be struck?
See November 9th article from WSJ HERE
More information from NPR HERE