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Amazon & B2B companies are not the bogeymen of online data-capture.

So much fuss is made about social media companies that capture everything about us. They sell everything about us they can learn by our behavior and that of our friends. We know this. We are also familiar with the tracking set up by Marketo, Bronto, click-just-about-anything, Constant Contact, Experian, Salesforce, SalesFUSION, Unbounce, Weblead Tracker, Zendesk, Zappos and the rest of the 380 most common beacons. This doesn't mention the 982+ common advertising trackers, 321+ common analytics trackers, 19+ for privacy and another 292+ of widgets in general. 

You may think that shopping sites are the biggest offenders followed by marketing event sites such as the recent Marketo Summit. (BUZZZZZZZZZZZZ) WRONG! Some of the biggest offenders of tracking, beacons, advertising clutter are local news stations. Think about it, they don't have to really build your trust so you will "BUY" from them. You may advertise with them, so you want all that tracking if you are considering them. The rest of us, we are just going to their sites to "take" from them. We give them nothing, but a TON of data.

This is an example of just ONE site for a Kentucky News station. Newspapers, radio and television news stations are pretty much the same with this lengthy list, although the characters may vary from venue to venue. Where you give your data up is when you want to SEE the video on this page. Why do you think you don't usually need a SUBSCRIPTION to see the news? You are giving them way more than your $12/month or whatever the going subscription rate is. If you want to see it all, you have to PERMIT them to track you and gather your data. This is well beyond the simple gating a whitepaper with an email or demo list signup that you typically share with no one.

  Ghostery-ky3-news-siteI'm not a fan of all of this tracking clutter. Being the geek that I am, I employ a simple tool, Ghostery,which is an add-on to Chrome. I can select which items I permit - as you can see from the list of red and green dots out of the 25 requested for this one page with a video I wanted to see. There are others, but I like this tool. It seems the least invasive. I tried "disconnect.me" and it was too invasive and I felt like I was trading one data pimp for another.

Ghostery-amazon-blockad Ghostery-amazon-incognitoThis is what Amazon has - please see both versions. One is with blockers on - the ad ad right is blocked. the second is an incognito window showing everything - the ad displays. There are a surprising low number of items in the list and pretty familiar players. We all want to help Google Analytics, don't we? We want others to allow our analytics code to gather their data. If so don't we have to be willing to do the same, right?

This goes back to a recent SLMA Radio show with Linda Zimmer: Data is not truth, but it's being sold as truth. 

I bring this up to show what happens for industry shows too, such as  the recent Modern Marketing Experience:

Ghostery-mme15-trackers

 

 

They are not the bad guys. BUT, as blocking and privacy tools become more popular among the general attendee population, I'd like to remind those of you creating these tactics for collecting data that you may want to ensure that all of those going to your site still get the clear message you wish to present. If I landed on a site similar to the KY3 site after searching for a product and the only information about the product was in the blocked content, I'd be disappointed and would leave the site. Please consider this if you rely on these tracking tools to display your videos and other important content. At least accompany it with a story recapping what is in the potentially blocked content so I know I'm in the right place. Even an "alt" tag of sorts: You cannot see this information due to browser blockers you have turned on." or something to that effect letting them know they are CHOOSING to not see the content and can CHOOSE to see it by unchecking a couple of quick boxes.

What are your thoughts on ad tracking, beacons and tools to block them all?

 

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