Privacy for Sale! Trading Free Wi-Fi For Check-Ins


Advertising. Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. We see ads on TV, we see ads in magazines and newspapers, we see ads on our favorite websites. We see billboards. We hear ads on the radio. We can’t escape them.

This inundation of advertisements, however, is a marketer’s nightmare. How can you target your potential customers without wasting money on people who don’t care? When advertising your goods or services, you don’t want to spend money where it’s not going to be effective, but how can you know where it’s being effective?  With so many options — and so many competing marketers — at what point do ads just become “noise”?

Location, location, location

For better or for worse, web technologies have helped marketers learn more about us so that we only see ads that are relevant to us — at least, that’s the theory. There’s still one major piece of the puzzle missing: location.

Monty Python and The Holy Grail

You’ve got two empty ‘alves of coconut, and you’re banging them together!

We still spend a lot of our money on impulse rather than research. We probably shouldn’t, but we do. Additionally, we’re much more likely to buy a product or service if it’s nearby than if we have to make a special trip for it. Putting that “nearby-edness” together with potential customers and sellers is the proverbial Holy Grail of marketing.

But how can advertisers get people to tell them where they are?

Social Networking + Free Stuff = Works all the time!

Facebook, Foursquare, and Google all have some sort of social “Here I am!” functionality. Foursquare was built around telling all your friends where you are. Google is taking the “reviews” approach to get you to divulge your location. Facebook is going to give you free Wi-Fi at the places where you “check in” — at least that’s what they’re testing.

“When you access Facebook Wi-Fi by checking in, you are directed to your local business’s Facebook Page. Some stores may also offer deals or specials when you check in,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNET.

Facebook already knows who you are, who your friends are, what you’re interested in, and now they’ll know where you are. This information will undoubtedly be used to help “improve” your profile so they can better target ads to you — and better targeted ads means more money for Facebook!

I know where you are!

At what point do we say “whoa! that’s enough, no more!” with our privacy? Where do we draw the line? Is there a line? We’re interested in your thoughts.

Where is your “that information is private” line? What would it take to get you to move that line? Is free Wi-Fi enough? Are we just being overly paranoid? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Source: CNET
Image: Monty Python and The Holy Grail

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.