Thursday, January 15, 2015

How Much Do Sites Know About Me?

Information about you on the Internet is extremely valuable to companies.  They want to know everything about what you do online and how they might exploit that for money.  I do not really have a problem with this because companies have been doing this forever.  It's really the nature of how business works.  Learn what potential customers want, then try to get them to buy it from you.  With the Internet, we just make it easier for businesses to learn about us.

Last night I had two things that happened that were either a coincidence or clever systems that are tied deeply in to my online life.

First, I visited the Jordan's Furniture site to look up the address of one of their stores.  About 30 minutes later, my phone vibrated to indicate a new email had just arrived.  It was a message from Jordan's Furniture.  Some special offer if I spend a certain amount of money in the next week.  Hmmm....  Now, we have bought from Jordan's before and from time to time we get email advertisements, but the timing on this one made me a little curious.

Second, a few hours later I was looking up store locations from EMS on their web site.  Also, I was looking at snowshoes.  About an hour after that I got am email from EMS offering 20% off Techwick.  Now come on.  This can't just be a coincidence.

Private browsing and things like Tor can help keep you slightly more anonymous online.  It's something I need to dig in to a bit more.

2 comments:

Jay Greguske said...

I posted about this too.

http://jgreguske-brolem.rhcloud.com/2015/01/25/getting-my-data-under-control/

dcantrell said...

Nice writeup. Yeah, I'm not really sure where to start. I think the browser is a good first step, then the phone. I'm interested in documenting what info I can and can't protect and how best to do that.