Om says, “But there is a bigger worry. The phone’s GPS can send constant information back to the Facebook servers, telling it your whereabouts at any time.”
Yes, it can Om, you’re right. And how does it do that, exactly? I’ll tell you shall I… Here’s a step-by-step;
You download the app
You agree to the app using your GPS
You open the app
You allow the app to take over the home screen
OH MY GOD! I’ve suddenly realised how awful Facebook is – taking all that information from you without your consent(!)
Justifying his lying on the floor kicking and screaming, Om continues, “Facebook, a company that is known to have played loose-and-easy with consumer privacy and data since its very inception..”
Again, he’s spot on. But rather than make his point this shows how pathetic his argument is. If anything, that should have prepared him for the inevitability that Facebook will use his data. He appears to be saying,
“I can’t believe Facebook is using the huge amount of data about my life that I handed over!”
My response to Om, and anyone else whinging about their privacy within the Facebook wall, is;
If you willingly hand over any data about your life to any company whose terms, which you agreed to, state they can use that data then they will bloody well use it. If you don’t like it, don’t fucking hand over your data, you moron!
My next rant will be about why I LOVE handing over my data! 😉
Update: Instead of of that second rant, just read this which I agree with completely. In fact, I’m already allowing Google to track my every move and loving the benefits I’m getting.
Whilst watching the Olympic marathon I wondered about the length, so I asked Google what 26 miles is in kilometres, knowing it’d give me an instant conversion. A pleasant surprise was that Google figured I was probably watching the marathon given the timing of my query and also showed me the live results, as you can see from this screenshot.
Occasionally I see articles pop up from people (mostly copyright holders) whining about this kind of use of information by Google. The fact is, it’s incredibly useful to the user. These kind of intelligent results show exactly why Google commands such a massive dominance in the search market.
Finally, I plucked up the courage to purchase my shiney new Samsung Galaxy S3 (more on that later) and whilst reading the latest news on the Guardian app I noticed that they (or their ad server people) still don’t know how to do ad targeting properly.
See my screenshot of the app below, taken on my new Samsung Galaxy S3 and showing me an advert for… wait for it… the Samsung Galaxy S3.
Obviously I’m never going to click that ad. I already own an S3. I’m using it!
The worst bit is that it’s easy to detect that I’m using it. They should know that I’m using an SGS3 and remove that ad accordingly. Any marketer wanting to keep their job should be aware of this and be eliminating such horrendous wastage from their marketing budget. You’d think the Guardian would want to make their offering useful, too.
There is no web 1.0 or web 2.0 or even web 3.0. There is only the evolving web. I despise the use of the phrase “web 2.0” when it relates to web design, for example – it implies that it needs to have cool jQuery and Ajax stuff going on. You know what, if you’re building a site figure out your user need and build it using the right technologies. Don’t just build a “web 2.0” site ’cause it’s what all the cool kids are doing.
Okay, rant over. But who’s to say I’m right. Disagree at will using the comments.
The action is stifling digital innovation in the UK and really needs to be freed up. So, in order to combat this let’s free up the postcode data by creating our own version of Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File (PAF).
There’s plenty of discussion going on in Government about putting data out and what to put out and how to put it out and all that nonsense. Especially in local government.
It sounds like there’s concern that releasing data isn’t good enough and that government has a responsibility to put that data into a format that can be consumed by citizens.
This is true, they should be putting information out in a way that is usable and accessible. At the same time though, it’d be good if they just put all the raw data out and let anyone develop their own usable, accessible versions. It’d give government a head start in developing their own versions as they can see all the innovative uses of the raw data and take a cue from them.
Birmingham City Council’s web site is a great example of where it could help. A new council web site finally arrived late and over budget and was subject to a lot of criticism. Subsequently, a bunch of passionate (some would say crazy) brum folks made their own version by pulling the data from wherever they could.
How about if BCC had put their data out there and invited the brum community to do their worst? I have no doubt BCC would have a whole host of examples of good uses of that data. Examples that they could then adapt and build into the new site. Let’s call it data democracy, shall we?
Potentially, this could have a knock on impact on a couple of fronts. Hopefully, this will help prove the case for cloud-computing and social media to the commercial sector and increase up take of this next generation of IT.
I’d also like to see this replicated over here in the UK, encouraging local authorities to shake off the shackles of oppression forced on them by their IT consultants and outsourcers.
When we spoke about the e-petitions system Nicky Getgood mentioned The Rainbow in Digbeth which, faced with a noise abatement order, managed to get over 2,500 people to join a Facebook group in support. The local authority wouldn’t accept this as a form of petition, which I can understand as it’s hard to verify. However, I suggested that it needs to be as easy if not easier for people to sign a recognised petition as it is to join a Facebook group.
So with the US government pushing tools like Facebook to federal agencies is there now a case for government at all levels to build things like Facebook and Twitter apps that allow people to engage on their platform of choice?
Thanks to Pez I get a DM reminding me to put my bin out. How about a Facebook app that does the same thing for those not on Twitter? Or a Facebook app that shows me planning applications in my area as part of my news feed?
There are more possibilities that will come to me after another cuppa but that’s a start.
David Stuart suggested at LSMC that we shouldn’t make it easier for people to do things like sign petitions. Maybe there is a lesson to be learned from Daily Mail polls?
So is giving local authorities that freedom really a good thing? And while we’re all going on about digital engagement, is this level of digital engagement a good idea, or giving a voice to those ‘busy-bodies’, or another why for government to provide a good service to citizens?
Google’s contextual advertising doesn’t get a lot of love from anyone; publishers or advertisers. Publishers slam the low revenues and advertisers are disappointed with the high-cost, low-return they seem to get when choosing to advertise on the content network.
Having spent years managing campaigns through Google’s AdWords program (the advertising platform that supplies ads to contextual service, AdSense) I’ve experienced advertiser’s frustration over the content network. Indeed, one of the first things I did when creating or optimising campaigns would be to turn off the content network, ensuring that my client’s ads only ever appeared on Google search results.
This was the thinking;
About two years ago I re-visited the content network and figured that actually, it’s not that bad at all. You can target very effectively. I began taking a more traditional approach to online marketing. I researched the target market and found the sites that my target market was frequenting. Then, I pumped those sites into AdWords and it told me if they ran AdSense as well as some similar sites that definitely did. I could then easily create a campaign targeting only those sites that I’d identified. The situation then looked very different;
It’s a very crued way of demonstrating the point, I know. What it does make you think about as well is the amount of wastage you get from search. I’ve always had great difficulty dealing with ‘keywords’ because it’s impossible to know what searchers are thinking when they type them in. Let’s take the common example of ‘mp3 players’. Is someone searching for ‘mp3 players’;
Looking to buy an MP3 player?
Researching MP3 players with the intention to buy at a later date?
Trying to figure out what an MP3 player is?
Looking for a supplier of MP3 players?
Searching for a local shop selling MP3 players?
Attempting to find software that will play MP3s?
Researching in-car MP3 players?
I could go on… Imagine you are selling portable MP3 players by Sony. You find an MP3 player review site, add that to a Google AdWords campaign and target keywords including Sony. Your ad will only display on Sony MP3 player reviews. The great thing about that is you are catching your target market right at the point where they are trying to make a purchase decision. If they’re happy with the review there’s a good chance they’ll want to buy that MP3 player and conveniently, your (hopefully well-written) ad is sitting right along side.
I liken it to being able to cherry pick people off the street to pull into your high street shop. It really can be that powerful. So is it really the case that Google’s contextual targeting is flawed? Or is it just that advertiser’s aren’t taking full advantage of the system?
Well, it’s a bit of both. Google’s system needs to be smarter – showing ads for hotels in Lichfield isn’t very relevant on a site who’s target market all live in Lichfield. Google is also just doing what it can with the ads it’s been given though. Advertiser’s need to get smarter, too, and realise that this power is at their fingertips if they only look. Having said that when Google updated the AdWords interface a while back they manage to bury all the features I’ve just told you about. It took me ages to actually find them again!
Google make a big song and dance about how quickly and easily you can be up and running with AdWords. It’s true, anyone can do it in less than half an hour. It’s rarely successful though and to make a success of AdWords you need to really know your stuff, to the point that you can pass their certified professionals exam.
So what’s the solution? Pay a pay-per-click agency thousands to do it for you? Spend hours learning AdWords inside out? Well, yes ….and no. Why not KISS?
When we put AdSense on The Lichfield Blog we weren’t surprised that it didn’t generate a lot of revenue. After something like 3 months we switched to the much simpler and easier Addiply system. In the first month we had secured £42.50 of advertising revenue, beating those 3 months with AdSense by miles. It took some phoning around and it’s by no means a living but it pays some costs and considering it’s very much a ‘suck it and see’ effort, it’s gone very well.
There’s still some ground to be covered… Addiply is simple and easy to use, AdSense is feature rich and powerful once you know what you’re doing. There’s a middle-ground somewhere and in this period where local media is looking for ways to make the web pay, that middle ground is going to make publishers and advertisers everywhere very happy… as well as a small pot of gold for the person who gets to that middle ground first!