Online Shopping and Big Data

Written by: Levy Online on

What shopping online is likeIt’s possible to learn a lot about someone just by watching them shop.

On the internet, depending on where you go and what you do, a lot of different entities can learn about you.

This has been happening for some time now, and it’s not as scary as it was made out to be.  What companies do with all this data and intelligence is try to sell you more stuff.  That’s really about it.  Sure, our more paranoid friends are worried about the government and big corporations tracking their movements at all times, but it seems likely that out of all the people in the world that a big organization would want to follow, our paranoid friends would make the least attractive targets.

So, more companies than ever before are paying attention and trying to sell us more stuff.  This is also not as bad as it seems.  Twenty years ago, more companies trying to sell more things meant more advertising everywhere.  More billboards blocking the view.  more commercial interruptions in TV shows.  More logos slapped on everything.

Now, thanks to this mountain of data, a company doesn’t need to ever show you an ad for a product that you don’t want, don’t need, and will never buy.  Instead, they can meet their customers where they are, spend less on ads, enjoy selling to happy customers, and leave you alone.  You see ads for stuff you like.  Your friends see ads for stuff they like.  Your paranoid friends see ads for surveillance systems and underground bunker kits.  And everyone is happy.

The future is here.  And yes, it’s creepy.  But it’s not as creepy as some of us imagined.

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