Online Data Mining #fail

Stacey Vanek Smith Jul 20, 2012

Our data seems to be everywhere, but who do we trust with that data?  Apparently, it’s good old bricks mixed with good old mortar.  A new survey from Placecast found that we trust our local grocery store more than Facebook, Amazon and Google.  The survey found that 81% of customers were comfortable with grocery stores using information about past purchases to issue coupons tailored to our shopping habits. but only 33% were comfortable with Facebook, Amazon and Google doing the same thing.  This is really interesting. I feel like I understand this on a visceral level, but there is something decidedly less creepy about the one-to-one data/grocery store example (i.e. I buy Cap’n Crunch every week and I now have a coupon for Cap’n Crunch) and the weird conclusions the online guys draw (like can someone please tell me WHY Facebook has been trying to sell me men’s jeans relentlessly for the past few days?)  Because data plays such an enormous role in the business models of online and offline companies. and because our data is so out there these days, it would be really interesting to take a look at where our own comfort levels lie and why.

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.