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Re: AM: email marketing; opt-in or out?

To:     "Ross Stapleton-Gray" <director@embassy.org>
Subject:     Re: AM: email marketing; opt-in or out?
From:     "Andrew Forbes" <andrew.forbes@redbridge.com>
Date:     Mon, 12 Jan 1998 23:18:10 -0500
Cc:     <ad-marketing@netpreneur.org>

Ross:

I think there is a difference between using publicly available
demographic data, and profiles built by monitoring people's
Internet usage.  Your comments below seem to indicate that
you believe AOL will build profiles by monitoring the Internet
activities of their users.  Is this what you think they would do?

I ask because my intent has been to connect dynamically 
assigned IP address to publicly available demographic
data e.g. EquiFax etc.  Perhaps it's the pot calling the kettle
black, but I admit to being somewhat troubled by the idea
of ISPs tracking and logging everything I do on the 'net.

I wonder what a record of everything I did on the 'net would
look like.  Of course, I only use the 'net for work purposes
and would never take a look at the alt.binaries.pictures.erotica
newsgroups <g>.

It is not terribly difficult to build a system to monitor all Internet
activities of an ISPs users (and, in fact, such a system has been
built by at least one local ISP).  I gave this exact idea some 
thought a few years back, and concluded that as soon as IP 
traffic monitoring by ISPs became pervasive, most web sites 
would go to SSL (or a variant) and the monitoring systems 
would be rendered, if not pointless, certainly less than useful.

Let's say that the worst fears of the privacy advocates come 
true, and all ISPs start logging all IP traffic.  How would users
fight back?  And is there a business opportunity in resisting the
onslaught of data collection for marketing purposes?

Andy Forbes

-----Original Message-----
From: Ross Stapleton-Gray <director@embassy.org>
To: Andrew Forbes <andrew.forbes@redbridge.com>
Cc: ad-marketing@netpreneur.org <ad-marketing@netpreneur.org>
Date: Monday, January 12, 1998 11:02 PM
Subject: Re: AM: email marketing; opt-in or out? 


>On Mon, 12 Jan 1998, Andrew Forbes wrote:
>
>> I'd add the 10 million? HotMail users that accepted free email in
>> exchange for having to deal with marketing collateral to the list
>> of people that don't seem too troubled by Internet privacy.
>
>The whole HotMail phenomenon would be worth some investigation.  Is there
>a final number for what MS paid for them?  I'll confess to having been
>surprised that the service worked as well as it has--a better mousetrap,
>at least for the time being (in a couple of years, the ISP market will
>look nothing like it does today, and I suspect that the idea of an "E-mail
>account" will be similarly mutated in some wonderful direction).
>
>> BTW, I got a call from someone that wanted to chat about AOLs
>> demographic targeting plans; the conversation was not very 
>> detailed but the gist was that they were headed in that direction.
>
>I'm sure they are, and that's an enormous force waiting to be unleashed. 
>While they *have* been relatively behaved, they do own billions of
>factoids about many millions of Americans, and there are very few
>statutory requirements to maintain a customer's information as private
>(e.g., the so-called "Bork bill" that makes it a federal crime to reveal
>what video tapes someone's rented).  I've found it useful to imagine
>analogs in other businesses... what if, for example, Bell Atlantic decided
>to get into the financial investment market on the strength of mining its
>call logs and running profiles to determine which businesses might be
>under SEC scrutiny, or which companies might be intending a merger?  
>
>There are some delicate issues here, regarding common-carrier vs.
>publisher status, and the trust a service provider enjoys from those it
>serves.
>
>Ross
>_____________________________________________________________________
>Ross Stapleton-Gray                     TeleDiplomacy, Inc.
>director@embassy.org                    2503 Columbia Pike, Suite 118
>Director, Electronic Embassy Program    Arlington VA 22204
>


Replies
Re: AM: email marketing; opt-in or out?, Ross Stapleton-Gray

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