FOR SALE: One soul, slightly banged up
OK – I am annoyed, so I climbing back on my soap box, are you ready for a rant?????????? YEAHHHHHHHHHHHH!
All together now, GRRRRRRRRRR
The web, our loving partners on the info superhighway. Our shopping companion, entertainment buddy, babysitter, and of course, pleasure giver (yep – I found the best ever salted caramel macaroon recipe – woo hoo). Mmmm Macaroons……….
Oops – distracted. Back to the angry abuse.
Like most people, I have hundreds of online memberships these days. Shops, clubs, interests, blogs, social media, appliance brands, banks, it just never ends! Everyone wants to know who you are, as well as every personal detail they can possibly squeeze out of you….. Why????? Because it is a gold mine. Information is power, the power to market to you, to get inside your head and leave a little gremlin nagging away…..buy the supercharged triple head cake cutter with optional hair dryer, you know you need it.
TV advertising is failing to capture people’s attention, print media was given the last rites years ago, radio is sooooooo last century, and iPod/Smart Phones we currently control the content on. So how do brands tell us about the next big thang?
With personalised messaging. By taking as much info they can find out about you and then sending you brand info that will appeal. But with anti spamming laws, they can’t just send it – they have to get a little freaky. They have to offer the poisoned apple in a way that dresses it up as a benefit (or in some cases as just plain no option – accept it or else.)
I read terms and conditions religiously – I was stung in the Lush scam 2010-2011. My details were made public. It was a horrible feeling, and a huge inconvenience. I didn’t know they would keep all that info about me in one easy to hack place. But hackers did. The company didnt protect me properly even after internal warnings. So now I do it myself. Before I sign up, I check what info they keep and what they share.
Most businesses actually want you as a customer and understand we are a bit antsy about Mrs Smith from Dubrovnik (hmmm – probably Mrs Smithovic actually) having our credit card details, so they protect us and have strong privacy policies. Doesnt stop a hacker, but it helps knowing they aren’t sticking the info on ebay………
But other companies lack such morals. They are in the business of sharing, well – lets call it what it is – EXPLOITING – people data for profit. And some of them may surprise you – they look like normal everyday businesses offering a legitimate service – and they are. It’s just that they earn more money from the darker side of that transaction. You see, when you sign up for the service, they make you agree to terms and conditions that are not ethical. And if they happen to be the only option for the service you need, then you are stuck – miss out, or be damned to the spammers.
One such service in my opinion: A certain big Aussie ticket seller backed by a massive news corporation:
Read the T & Cs: now please note – these are NOT hidden but clearly state on the registration page.
The Fine Print:
XXXX collects personal information to assist us in providing the goods or services you have requested, to process your competition entries and to improve our products and services. We or any of our Australian related companies may be in touch by any means (including email or SMS) at any time to let you know about goods, services or promotions which may be of interest to you. We may also share your information with other persons or entities who assist us in providing our services, running competitions or with other companies who provide prizes for competitions or reader offers.
And there is NO OPT OUT choice… you must agree or can not use their service.
Hmmmmmmmmm – interesting. Even if I don’t enter a competition, and don’t want to, if I have no interest in any offer they could possibly lay in front of me because I am a Tibetan nun on a vow of poverty, even if all I wanted was to buy 2 damn tickets to the easter family show because you can’t buy them elsewhere……. I have to sign my privacy away in blood and be annoyed to the end of time with unwanted SMS’s about nasal hair growth serum, because surely I MUST be interested. Errrrrrrr….. NOPE. Not even remotely interested. If I want something I will go find it for myself, not use your pathetic overpriced offers that fleece people blind.
The ethical failure here is simple – THEY are paid to sell tickets. I want to buy said tickets, and I am offering to buy them at full price! I do not want their greedy and arbitrary choice of adverts to invade my life, and since I am paying full price for tickets, I have a right not to be burdened with that. It is not a negotiation, the product is offered, I buy it. End of transaction. Imagine going into the local Supermarket, picking up a bottle of milk, going to the checkout, and having the cashier demand the mortgage deeds and a copy of your drivers licence, then telling you they are going to send someone round to your house each week for the next 2 years to demonstrate products of their choice, and you must attend. (But wait, there’s more – you get a set of 6 free steak knives!!!!)
No, no, no. I refuse to sell my soul and be marketed to without choice. I will be free to choose the brands that sweet talk me. I am feeling the urge to pull on a tartan skirt and smear my face in blue woad……… (the following with greatest apologies to William Wallace).
I am Toldyah. And I see a whole army of fellow internetters, here in defiance of tyranny!
You have come to fight as free media users. And free users you are!
What will you do without freedom? Will you type?” „Two thousand bytes against ten?”
No! We will refuse to register – and live!”
Register and you may shop. Shop and you will purchase at least awhile. And then be swamped and suffocated by spam.
Many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here as users free from spam and tell the marketers that they may take our purchases but they will never take our freedom!”
Get thee back you devil of advertising – take not my soul to feed your coffers. We can live without family easter show unlimited ride passes after all, I think a couple of spins around the washing line wil be a lot quieter on my phone.