Tuesday, February 16, 2010

good morning. this is hal.

Some people get nervous about how companies track personal information of customers and use it to tailor marketing campaigns to them.

I think it's wonderful.

First of all, it's cool to think that hundreds of servers around the world are humming and blinking away, just to discern my behavioral patterns. I assume that everything I do that has a computer attached to it is being tracked by someone. And as long as they don't share passwords to my email and financial accounts, I'm pretty much okay with that.

Second, I get some great benefits from this. Kroger sends me coupons every month that are only for things I purchase often. This week I received $15 worth of discounts on baby carrots, chicken tenderloins, fancy shredded cheese, oats, All detergent, mini-wheats, canned tomatoes, better crocker cake, welch's grape juice, Sauve, meat department purchases, pasta, and parmesan cheese. Last year I looked into coupon clipping as a way to save money and quickly found that combing through pages of coupons resulted in one or two products that I would actually use. Not worth it.

(Kroger, if you are listening to this, thank you for creating a card I can swipe each time I check out so you can give me money.)

Another example is Google History (check yours out here, if you have a Google account). When you are logged in to Google and open other tabs in your browser, Google will track all of your web searches and which hits you visited - completely free of charge! Look at the nifty facts I found about my web searching behavior:

- Mondays and Tuesdays are highest for search activity
- My hourly search activity is a left-skewed bell curve with a high point around 3pm
- My top query is "magic bus" (This has me a little perplexed. The search is for a tracking system for the university buses, which I definitely used, but not to excess - or so I thought.)
- On March 6, 2006, I searched for "red apple attack"
- On February 24, 2006, I searched for "movies 8 provo", so apparently we were going on a date to the dollar theater that weekend

This history tracker has actually been somewhat helpful in finding long-lost websites. Often I know exactly when I was searching for something (or, the approximate month). With this, I can go back to that month and find it.

It's like having a journal that I don't even have to write in.


karina said...

How do you get those Kroger coupons? I want that!

Erin said...

I'm not sure why they started coming to me - I figured they were sending them out to everyone. I don't think I did anything special, other than lay down 20% of my income every month at their register!

Elizabeth Downie said...

Wow, you have such a good attitude about Big Brother! This whole post has me incredibly paranoid!!! lol

Dawn said...

very cool! Kroger sends me emails too. I never open them. Guess I should!