“The peddler now speaks to the countess
Who’s pretending to care for him
Saying name me someone that’s not a parasite
And I’ll go out and say a prayer for him.”
Visions of Johanna
Once a week, like clockwork I get a short newsletter from Bob Hoffman at the TypeA Group in San Francisco. Bob is what’s known in the marketing business as a contrarian, which is a benevolent term for cynic.
Bob has authored a couple of books that lay out his various points of view beautifully. He also travels far and wide, talking to all kinds of groups, I assume getting well paid for it, trying to straighten out the mess created by the digital marketing community in their efforts to get you to believe all kinds of nonsense about digital media.
This week’s newsletter was about privacy and it tells a pretty revealing tale about how little of it any of us who spend a lot of time online actually have.
In truth, we have virtually none. And we have had none for so long that most of us probably don’t even think it about it all that much.
But I do. Or at least I did this weekend.
I’ve been writing publicly on line for close to 20 years now. And as much as I would like to say that I have felt my privacy has been invaded and I have been stripped naked for all the world to see, I can’t, in all honesty, do that.
Not because I don’t think its true. But because I really don’t give a damn. And the reason for this is that I’m not really any sort of a criminal type. I’m just a regular guy for the most part. Any profiling information one might glean from me would likely be dull as dishwater.
And because I’m in advertising I don’t really mind that somebody is taking all the info that they can gather about me, whatever that might be, and sell it to marketers so that they can send me ads for things I might be in the market for. Because, for some of us, that actually turns out to be kind of helpful.
Do I think it’s weird that they do all this stuff without telling you? Yeah, sure. But I have always believed that’s part of the price you pay for being on line in the first place.
Should I be worried that there’s anything more sinister involved here? Well maybe, but unless I’m conducting some sort of serious criminal activity here online, (and there are those who say might my writing could qualify), all I really have to worry about is the amount of spam I’m ending up with in inbox. And the occasional dill weed who manages to hack my email.
A lot of people whose main computer is a smartphone have a little more to be concerned with because mobile advertising is a bit of modern day epidemic.
My solution to that was simple. I have this little LG flip phone that I only use for, you know, talking to people. It has a texting function but it’s such a pain in the butt to use that I just never bother.
The gathering and packaging and selling of personal information is one of the core business functions on the Internet. And we’re all kind of easy pickin’s because technology is so addicting. Once you have a better way to get something done, you almost immediately start to view the way you used to do things as antiquated.
It’s like my little white Mac Ibook that runs OS 9 because it doesn’t have enough Ram capacity to run any bigger system. But my MacBook Pro makes it look like something from the ark…so after a while I just stopped using it and it sits on a shelf somewhere.
If the technology of getting on with the mundane things in your life, like buying stuff, paying bills and ordering drugs or takeout etc, are all a lot easier to do in your computer than they are by another other means…what do you do?
Well there’s a price for all of that, which is measured in terms of information and loss of privacy.
So my best advice is not to back the truck up to 1985, but just to keep your nose clean and your spam filter updated. Because, after having thought about this on and off for a couple of days, that’s all the solid advice anyone who is not trying to con you somewhere, could give.
Oh sure you could go out and research privacy tools, hire some propellerhead to shore up your firewall and download ad blockers for your smart phone. But the simple fact is that if you’re in any sort of marketing demographic group, which pretty much all of us are, these measures are the digital equivalent of closing the barn door after the horse has escaped.
The world can be a scary place. The digital world even scarier because a lot of it is run by people whose main agenda is to get you hooked on whatever they are selling. And we’re talking mainline heroin style hooked.
Why? Well because if you get hooked then the effort of squeezing information out of you becomes that much easier.
At the end of the day, information is all they want. Once they have that, the rest of the process pretty much takes care of itself.
Post Script: Here’s a good example of what I have been talking about. It’s an email I just received this morning. Here’s the lead in:
<For the past week… the whole internet and JVZoo audience have been buzzing about a new marketing technology that’s making your regular (traditional) sales funnels obsolete.
It’s called customer-driven funnels and if you’re not using it for your business already then you’re already missing out on a lot of income online.
Today @ 11am EST… the cloud platform “Mints App 2.0” that makes it possible will launch and if you’re smart then you’ll hurry and lock in your access to the early bird offering the moment the doors open up. And the reason is very obvious…
The people that got in when the version 1 of this marketing platform was released last year have already generated over $2.6 million in sales and collected over 500,000 email leads – just think to yourself if you had only 1% of that success?
Now, with the all new version 2.0 launching today with new performance-driven engine and producing 10x better results than the predecessor – you’ll now become part of the most successful internet marketing platforms to ever come on JVZoo.>
I don’t know what JVZoo is, or even how I got this email in the first place. But you can bet your life if you click on one of the links they provide, your information will be sucked out of you lickety split, and who knows, they might even plant some adtech or a spyware bug in your computer so they can keep track of you forever.
I guess Bob Hoffman would have at least 5 good lecture minutes on this one email alone.
I strongly suggest you check out Bob Hoffman’s site and get on his email list. This guy speaks the truth and makes it almost easy to handle. TypeA Group
I’m Jim Murray, the guy who wrote this. If you like it,
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