Should you care about profiling?

This post is a short preview about a subject I have been thinking about quite a lot lately: Targeted advertising. Should you care about the fact that Facebook is selling your profile to advertisers? Or Google?

I’m not quite sure to be honest. The fact is that we (as consumers) have been a┬ávictim of targeted advertising for quite some time already. This game was played long before Google or Faceook. It is only now that ‘digital companies’ such as the ones mentioned before can build ‘profiles’ until a level that was unthinkable before. And what do they do with it? Serve an ad based upon the location you have been? Show some ads that might be relevant because you liked Nike on Facebook. Or even worse; Throw in some banner of hotels because I googled for ‘Hotel in Wherever’. Is this wrong?

In the past, even during my studies, at least ten years ago, I had websites running that gathered profiles. I am talking about the period before AdWords, and before Facebook. It wasn’t a big thing back then, nor were there clear rules or at least people didn’t bother much… I had tens of thousands and I knew a lot about those people. Age, Gender, Where they lived, what they liked (within a certain context (horses)), Email etc.

It was (and still is) so easy. But I pulled the plug out of my websites and deleted my databases. (In a later post, I will tell you all about the sites/projects I had back in 2003).

Facebook is worth a lot of money right!?! Well, at least we (the people) are worth a lot of money to advertisers. Lets pretend that I am an advertiser and: “I want to reach people that are located in Zurich, work in technology and are over 24 years old….

And thus, this advertiser reaches me instead of my mom. Is this bad?

I guess it is if you look at unethical parts of markting in a broader perspective but besides that, I don’t think so. At least I won’t get bothered with advertisements of baby-day care because I never Googled for it or liked Pampers on Facebook.


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