Big Brother Amazon

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog -
Rich Tehrani
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Big Brother Amazon

If you stop and think about it (something at the top of my to-do list), you realize that Amazon is the one online destination that may know more about you than your family and friends. Is there any better way to profile someone than to analyze the books they read and think about reading? How about their electronics, home accents, apparel, etc?

I started to think about this a lot when I read about Amazon and Privacy on the Call Center CRM blog. The entry discussed how Amazon also has a search engine A9 that can remember your past searches. Now this is getting a bit creepy. Imagine my entire personal profile; My books, electronics, other purchased items and now what I search is being catalogued by a single company that can use this information to try and sell me stuff.

Well I am not a privacy alarmist so this really doesn't bother me too much. Perhaps I will spend less time shopping if Amazon can make better product purchase suggestions.

But I understand why many are upset by these developments. And it gets even worse.

What the entry didn't point out is that Amazon also owns Alexa which makes a popular toolbar that does much of what the Google toolbar does but has been doing it for at least four years longer. The toolbar tracks where users go on the web and there was some controversy regarding this toolbar a number of years back as I recall.

I did some research to find the specifics but decided the past controversy isn't so important. What is more important is that Amazon is in an amazing situation. They can truly understand better than anyone else, many of the online activities of their user base. I haven't delved into the privacy policies of the various Amazon companies but I can't fathom it being easy to recreate such an amazing array of sites that are able to truly profile the Amazon community.

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