Beware the company you keep

An interesting and slightly intrusive change to behavioural advertising was written about in the NY Times yesterday.

Whilst we are comfortable* with the profiling of our behaviour online to deliver a more targeted advertising experience, this is slightly different, and made me stop and think.

Word of mouth is something companies covet and try to enable, getting their customers to recommend and to pass on the great things they do is something that is immensely powerful.

First of all I’ll give this new technology (if it is new), a good name for us. I’ll call it “digitally forced word of mouth (with a bit of stalking thrown in)”. Snappy – we’ll work on that.

The premise is that the tracking looks at who uses and interacts with my social media profile (my friends) and what products I use / endorse. It then uses this data profile to advertise these products to my friends (assuming that they will also be a good target for that company). Hmmm, “I am an individual”.

It will no doubt spawn the occasional forum conversation of a group of friends asking who has exactly been to the pregnancy test website…

Do I want my friends to know what I like? I might not need to tell them soon.

* accepting (in some cases)