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(The Atlantic)   Expectant couple shocked to learn that somehow, companies knew of their impending parenthood and began sending them baby product catalogs   (theatlantic.com) divider line 72
    More: Scary, astronomical catalog, real evidence  
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6749 clicks; posted to Main » on 18 Apr 2013 at 10:55 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-18 08:09:06 PM  
Shocking...
Somehow companies are able to track your behavior and purchases using data, that you are so willingly able to give up, to predict future buying habits and marketing directly to them.
Wow, what a surprising development.....


*goes back to predicting incremental customer growth from permission marketing campaigns*


\honestly I'm pretty surprised they gave up their methods so easily.
 
2013-04-18 08:22:49 PM  
Why aren't these wizards working with the FBI to solve the Boston Marathon case?
 
2013-04-18 09:22:11 PM  

Thelyphthoric: Why aren't these wizards working with the FBI to solve the Boston Marathon case?


Because they won't make (as much) money if they do.
 
2013-04-18 09:58:47 PM  
It's not necessarily the government I fear, it is the corporations.

/they know everything
//and will sell you out in a heartbeat
 
2013-04-18 10:58:41 PM  
Old news...Target did this to a teen mom before she told her parents.   (Hint: pay cash for vitamins)
 
2013-04-18 11:02:48 PM  
Does that mean the commercial Pandora plays for the local clinic as I'm driving past it is just a coincidence and has nothing to do with the throbbing lump on my nads?
 
2013-04-18 11:03:47 PM  
Well, buy.
 
2013-04-18 11:05:03 PM  
I almost never receive unsolicited baby mailings when I'm pregnant.  I don't remember the last one, in fact, though my mother was recently sent one of those idiotic Gerber insurance mailings for my toddler, whom they thought was her child for some reason.

I wonder what makes me such an unattractive target. (I don't pay cash for most purchases.)
 
2013-04-18 11:05:25 PM  
What amazes me is that people are just catching on that we are walking bar codes.  Your credit card purchasing history is sold to marketing companies, as is your Amazon account, your Walmart account, your Google browsing habits, even the seemingly innocuous (but annoying) 'what is your zip code/phone number' at a retailer.  All that info builds a profile on you and it is sold regularly.  Sometimes it doesn't work though.  I keep getting coupons for penis pump lube and I don't even own one.  It's not my bag, baby.
 
2013-04-18 11:05:45 PM  
"You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it."
  - Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems, 1999
 
2013-04-18 11:05:46 PM  
Abort it, that'll show em
 
2013-04-18 11:05:59 PM  

basemetal: It's not necessarily the government I fear, it is the corporations.

/they know everything
//and will sell you out in a heartbeat


It is totally the corporations I fear.

The government could care less what you buy, what you watch, and what websites you visit. They don't make any money off it, and if they need to know, they have other, easier ways to find out if you're doing anything they want to track you for. But Target, Wal-Mart, Amazon and Best Buy....they want to know exactly how to make sure you buy from them and nobody else.
 
2013-04-18 11:06:07 PM  
pay cash for the basic stuff and put only your really weird purchases on your credit card.
 
2013-04-18 11:07:36 PM  
VERY old news, by internet time standards
 
2013-04-18 11:10:45 PM  
Slightly tangential CSB: I started getting "BabyCenter" newsletters the day after a friend told me via email (both of us with gmail addresses) that a mutual friend was expecting a child this summer and me replying to him on the topic. Nothing besides that. I know Google offers ads based on email content, but I didn't think they had crossed over to signing people up for newsletters. I have no other idea how it could've happened.
 
2013-04-18 11:11:34 PM  
Easy fix -- dont buy stuff on credit cards all the time and dont ever sign up for a loyalty program unless you are willing to use fake info.
 
2013-04-18 11:11:49 PM  
Is this a repeat?
 
2013-04-18 11:12:00 PM  
We all need to confuse them by buying weird shiat. Take that corporations!
 
2013-04-18 11:12:29 PM  
Am I the only person that doesn't have a problem with this?

It's nice to live in a time when content (of any type, even marketing) is specifically targeted towards where my interests lie.

I'd much rather a corporation track my habits with the information that I am clearly giving up, then receive ads or promotions for things I'm *never* going to use.
 
2013-04-18 11:13:06 PM  

Nuclear Monk: Old news...Target did this to a teen mom before she told her parents.   (Hint: pay cash for vitamins)


Yeah, they linked to the story in the article.
 
2013-04-18 11:15:33 PM  
I already feel sorry for this guy's kid. He and his misses seem way to self involved to be good parents. Better raise your kid off the web. Its only going to get worse!
 
2013-04-18 11:15:35 PM  
FYI man, alright. You could sit at home, and do like absolutely nothing, and your name goes through like 17 computers a day. 1984? Yeah right, man.  That's a typo.  Orwell is here now.  He's living large.  We have no names, man.  No names.  We are nameless
 
2013-04-18 11:16:01 PM  
FTFA:Right Start and Marketing Genetics lucked out. We're not parents (yet), but we've looked like them on paper in data since the last holiday season. And it just so happens that we are now in the market for baby stuff.

If they had gotten the same catalog three months earlier, they would have just thrown it out and not thought twice about it.

That was a very long way to say "there is no story here"
 
2013-04-18 11:18:13 PM  
I was surprised when my 5 year old son started getting mail for his Prostate Problems.  But I suppose it's my fault for naming him "Stanley".
 
2013-04-18 11:19:58 PM  

basemetal: It's not necessarily the government I fear, it is the corporations.

/they know everything
//and will sell you out in a heartbeat


You know what's funny. The U.S. Census performs quality checks on its enumerators by using a third party database that already has everyone in it.
 
2013-04-18 11:20:27 PM  

ZackDanger: Am I the only person that doesn't have a problem with this?

It's nice to live in a time when content (of any type, even marketing) is specifically targeted towards where my interests lie.

I'd much rather a corporation track my habits with the information that I am clearly giving up, then receive ads or promotions for things I'm *never* going to use.


Not just you... though just like my gen-1 Tivo became *convinced* I was gay because I recorded a lot of stuff on Bravo (West Wing, goddammit), there's potential for it all to go horribly, horribly wrong.
 
2013-04-18 11:21:42 PM  
BUY OUR SH*T!BUY OUR SH*T! BUY OUR SH*T! BUY OUR SH*T! BUY OUR SH*T! BUY OUR SH*T! BUY OUR SH*T! BUY OUR SH*T! BUY OUR SH*T! BUY OUR SH*T! BUY OUR SH*T! BUY OUR SH*T! BUY OUR SH*T! BUY OUR SH*T! BUY OUR SH*T! BUY OUR SH*T! *breathe*   BUY OUR SH*T! BUY OUR SH*T! BUY OUR SH*T! BUY OUR SH*T!
 
2013-04-18 11:23:49 PM  
This is old news. I remember reading about a couple whose baby died but continued receiving baby product
come-ons in the junk mail. Thanks for the reminder
 
2013-04-18 11:25:28 PM  

Faarkieboy: Abort it, that'll show em


No, that's just step one. In order to reach profit, you have to claim emotional distress when the catalogs continue to arrive.
 
2013-04-18 11:25:37 PM  
Looks like SOME doctor is sending word back to his pharma company overlords in violation of doctor-patient confidentiality.
 
2013-04-18 11:27:49 PM  
Send some pictures of you burning the catalogs back to the company.
 
Slu
2013-04-18 11:29:44 PM  

ZackDanger: Am I the only person that doesn't have a problem with this?

It's nice to live in a time when content (of any type, even marketing) is specifically targeted towards where my interests lie.

I'd much rather a corporation track my habits with the information that I am clearly giving up, then receive ads or promotions for things I'm *never* going to use.


You saved me some typing.
 
2013-04-18 11:31:38 PM  

basemetal: It's not necessarily the government I fear, it is the corporations.

/they know everything
//and will sell you out in a heartbeat


i plan to get hired as a street samurai.
 
2013-04-18 11:33:28 PM  

ZackDanger: Am I the only person that doesn't have a problem with this?

It's nice to live in a time when content (of any type, even marketing) is specifically targeted towards where my interests lie.

I'd much rather a corporation track my habits with the information that I am clearly giving up, then receive ads or promotions for things I'm *never* going to use.


The question is, who else are they selling that data to?
Your health insurance provider?

"Well...lets see. In the last 3 months, ZackD has stopped buying condoms, and has moved in with Shaelyn the stripper."
The insurance premium algorithm requires an 18% price increase.
 
2013-04-18 11:36:23 PM  
drongozone:
I remember reading about a couple whose baby died but continued receiving baby product
come-ons in the junk mail.


Wow.  That's awful.

Oddly, we must have avoided this somehow, we've bought a ton of baby stuff with credit cards and we don't get any of this crap.  Maybe it's illegal in Canada.
 
2013-04-18 11:36:42 PM  
Only time I've run into this sort of thing was shortly after my divorce paperwork was filed, I started getting junk mail for divorce attorneys and "resources for divorcés."  I thought it was kind of funny since I probably had the most drama-free divorce in the history of the world.  It was basically:

Her: "We're just not working.  We fight too much, and we really just want different things from a spouse."
Me: "You're right.  Divorce?"
Her: "Yup.  I'll pick up the forms and such from the courthouse tomorrow."
Me: "Alright.  Let me know what the fees will be and we'll split it."

The actual process got a little complicated because we have a kid, but we're much better friends now that we're divorced than we ever were as a couple.
 
2013-04-18 11:40:06 PM  

YouPeopleAreCrazy: ZackDanger: Am I the only person that doesn't have a problem with this?

It's nice to live in a time when content (of any type, even marketing) is specifically targeted towards where my interests lie.

I'd much rather a corporation track my habits with the information that I am clearly giving up, then receive ads or promotions for things I'm *never* going to use.

The question is, who else are they selling that data to?
Your health insurance provider?

"Well...lets see. In the last 3 months, ZackD has stopped buying condoms, and has moved in with Shaelyn the stripper."
The insurance premium algorithm requires an 18% price increase.


In my defense, she said she was on the pill.
 
2013-04-18 11:54:39 PM  
what is terrible is that months after my miscarriage, I got all sorts of free milk and stuff for my baby that was supposed to be due. Was a terrible thing for me to go through. Especially the cards congratulating me on my new baby that was no longer alive.
 
2013-04-18 11:56:42 PM  
What's really fun is our youngest kid was 5 and my wife had a hysterectomy, so she was a bit surprised when they started sending me baby formula coupons suddenly.  She asked me if I needed to tell her anything as she handed me the mailer...
 
2013-04-19 12:03:30 AM  

FunkOut: We all need to confuse them by buying weird shiat. Take that corporations!


Whenever I use my Safeway rewards card I always give them my old San Francisco phone number.


TV's Vinnie: Looks like SOME doctor is sending word back to his pharma company overlords in violation of doctor-patient confidentiality.


Looks like SOME Farker is jumping to odd conclusions without reading TFA.
 
2013-04-19 12:07:20 AM  

Grave_Girl: I almost never receive unsolicited baby mailings when I'm pregnant.  I don't remember the last one, in fact, though my mother was recently sent one of those idiotic Gerber insurance mailings for my toddler, whom they thought was her child for some reason.

I wonder what makes me such an unattractive target. (I don't pay cash for most purchases.)


Shop at Target, or any other member-card store (and use a member card.)

Link
 
2013-04-19 12:07:50 AM  
I got through three pregnancies without ever being sent any ads or coupons for baby stuff -- I'm still not sure how that worked out. However, a few weeks ago I ordered a copy of "Taking Charge Of Your Fertility" (old secondhand copy was lost) and now I'm getting all kinds of online coupons and junk from Amazon, much of it for stuff I no longer need. I've also gotten a few things in the mail. That book is such a juggernaut that I think of lot of companies just take a shortcut and target anyone whom they know has bought it.
 
2013-04-19 12:18:16 AM  
Just use cash a lot.

Oh, and if you've already got a car, house, and are set financially, just declare bankruptcy.  (People are frequently denied jobs or even promotions at their job based on background checks, in which a bankruptcy will appear.)

Off-my-lawn story:  I recall telling many people around 1995-2000 that they should use a fake phone number, especially for "loyalty" cards.  They didn't link it to a phone number for your convenience, I said.  Continuing, I'd say that this was because a phone number is a unique identifier, which they just wanted for consumer-profile correlation purposes, because stores are (or were) legally forbidden from storing your credit card number, which is also a pretty unique identifier.  I also recall every single person that I told this, many of them highly educated, that I was just being paranoid.  Oh, the good old days. . .
 
2013-04-19 12:20:08 AM  

fusillade762: FunkOut: We all need to confuse them by buying weird shiat. Take that corporations!

Whenever I use my Safeway rewards card I always give them my old San Francisco phone number.


TV's Vinnie: Looks like SOME doctor is sending word back to his pharma company overlords in violation of doctor-patient confidentiality.

Looks like SOME Farker is jumping to odd conclusions without reading TFA.


Then what's YOUR explanation as to how it happened?
 
2013-04-19 12:23:03 AM  
This is why I try to keep my internet search history interesting, especially when I've been watching Criminal Minds or something like that.

That and as smart as these things are, some of them seem to think my mom is still alive, 17 years later. Suckers.
 
2013-04-19 12:25:44 AM  
Hmm... wonder if the v1.0 and v2.0 shirts purchased for a friend of mine were the reason (4 years later) that I am now receiving pre-school and kindergarten advertisements.

I'm not even going to start on why a grocery store near me keeps spitting out tampon coupons at the register.
 
2013-04-19 12:28:09 AM  
SCARY tag?  Really?  I hope you stay the hell away from google then.  Because you might see an ad that is actually geared towards your interests.  And then you will need therapy.
 
2013-04-19 12:31:13 AM  

SirHolo: Just use cash a lot.

Oh, and if you've already got a car, house, and are set financially, just declare bankruptcy.  (People are frequently denied jobs or even promotions at their job based on background checks, in which a bankruptcy will appear.)

Off-my-lawn story:  I recall telling many people around 1995-2000 that they should use a fake phone number, especially for "loyalty" cards.  They didn't link it to a phone number for your convenience, I said.  Continuing, I'd say that this was because a phone number is a unique identifier, which they just wanted for consumer-profile correlation purposes, because stores are (or were) legally forbidden from storing your credit card number, which is also a pretty unique identifier.  I also recall every single person that I told this, many of them highly educated, that I was just being paranoid.  Oh, the good old days. . .


You'll find this crazy, but I've done software for these companies that do the underlying systems for tracking you(not the actual tracking, just the data structures), and the trackers readily have deals with banks to track the origin of bills by scanning the ID codes on them, as they go out of ATMs and out of cash registers.  You're still being tracked.  The only safe money is money you get from a real person.
 
2013-04-19 12:31:13 AM  
A friend of mine started getting free samples of formula after she had an abortion.

It was a scene, man.
 
2013-04-19 12:31:15 AM  

TV's Vinnie: fusillade762: FunkOut: We al...

Then what's YOUR explanation as to how it happened?


She bought a bunch of stuff expectant mothers buy? The store tracked her purchases and associated her with a group of people who bought the same things and started sending her ads for stuff other people in her group were buying.

Makes mores sense than someone who spent 8+ years in university and whos job requires extreme confidentiality and discretion calling up a shady drug representative every time some lady gets her snootch infected with jizz.
 
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