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Don McLagan - Standing in the Clickstream

Don McLagan, CEO of Compete, is on stage with Esther Dyson and others at PC Forum 2006. The panel is "Behavioral Targeting 2.0: Transparent Spyware?". He mentions that the company has over 2 million internet users who permit the company to monitor their clickstreams, and are open to receiving (and responding) to the company's surveys, which then are used to coordinate behavior and attitude or intention.

This starts to get scary in a big way. The services sold start to look like arbitrage for large companies who can (based on analytics), understand and target (based on profiles) customer base. He mentions that competitors, for example, have been able to look at individual and group behavior to accurately predict "flipping" from one service to another. (Think Sprint users about to move their business to Cingular.)

I know that it's "opt in", and that these "Nielsen familys on the internet" have provided the information willingly, but I wonder how many of them know to whom and in what form their information is provided to vendors?

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