It's much better than Forbes' click-bait re-packaging of it, by the way.
1. Identify the habit's reward.
Ex: going to a cafeteria to eat a cookie could be to satisfy hunger, get a burst of energy, take a break from work, socialize, etc.
2. Identify the habit's cue.
Ex: location, time, emotional state, other people or the immediately preceding action.
3. To shift the routine, replace the habit, but maintain the cue and reward.
Ex: If you eat a cookie everyday around 3:30 as a way of taking a break to socialize, stay current with office gossip and talk to friends, then continue taking a break at 3:30, but instead of hitting the cafeteria, look around the newsroom for someone to talk to. This way, the benefits of the habit are being preserved (taking a break and socializing), but the unwanted aspects are being replaced.
Of course, these examples are lifted directly from the article.
It's one thing to tweet about it, but to reprint numerous chunks of the original article? Wrapped in your own ads? How is this journalistically sound?
Perhaps Ian Ayres' book Super Crunchers would have been more widely read had it begun with the pregnancy angle.
The reality is plenty of parents are very uninvolved in their childrens' lives.
Surprising that they mine data, and act on potentially sensitive information? Somewhat.
Worrisome that they effectively took it upon themselves to disclose to her father that she was pregnant? I find it shocking that anyone would think it's not.
> Worrisome that they effectively took it upon themselves to
> disclose to her father that she was pregnant? I find it
> shocking that anyone would think it's not.
1. girl gets pregnant
2. girl gets pregnancy coupons
3. father gets angry, goes to store and complains
4. store manager has no clue why the ad was sent,
and apologizes to father
5. girl admits to father that she is pregnant
6. father apologizes to store manager
"2. Based on girl's purchases, company sends flyers - not private mail - addressed to girl by name, advertising specific types of products directly to her."
That her father didn't immediately put 2 and 2 together is besides the point. I think in his position, I might well have figured it out.
Perhaps its a function of age (I'm 37), but I am genuinely surprised at someone not finding this a clear violation of privacy.
[EDIT: Afterthought - it might be quite interesting to plot HN's attitude towards this against age. Would the younger people be less uncomfortable with it because this is the world they've grown up in?]
they effectively took it upon themselves to disclose
to her father that she was pregnant
"They effectively disclosed to her father that she was pregnant"
Like most, you have a naive and non-legal concept of what privacy is. Analyzing public behavior (shopping) and sending mail to your public address isn't even close to the realm of privacy.
> you have a naive and non-legal concept
> of what privacy is
1. This is not a court.
2. Very few of us are lawyers.
3. Nobody is talking about criminal charges or civil suits.
Which is why the parent comment about legal issues is apropo. That, is what will be, and only be, considered.
I think, though, that the relationship to Target isn't like that, because while they know an awful lot about you personally, you don't know them personally at all - they're just a corporate face, not a familiar one behind the counter.
In fact, you've just helped me figure out a bit more specifically what I found vaguely unsettling about it.
In the end, he's another person (not 'person' like target) who lives in your community.
Who, perhaps, is Target? Or Wal-mart?
7. father reacts violently and girl is injured (with potential loss of child)
or is killed.
1b. girl is looking to escape current situation
If I had a business that could gather this type of information, I would be very careful about how the full extent of my company's knowledge is presented to my customers. It is worth looking into the presentation to make sure you will not be the subject of a tabloid article with the words "Killed" or "Spying" in the title.
I'm 38 and I don't know that it's a clear violation of privacy. They presumably didn't realize that she lived with her father and that he would have access to her mail. To me, this one is a bit of a gray area.
That is to say the store sent coupons but that doesn't imply knowledge of anything other than a name and an address. Given the number of ads that they mail it seems almost impossible for this to not happen just by random chance. I know I get baby ads from target and I don't have a baby. Wait, does this mean I knocked up an ex? Should I start calling all of my exs to verify pregnancy status? Oh wait that would be stupid, ads might be targeted but it is more shotgun targeting than laser targeting.
That's not to say I don't find things creepy, but if the data is obviously collectible, you should assume it's being collected.
> they're choosing to publish the data (their purchasing habits)
> simply by making the purchases
> Similarly, Google and Facebook track you to show
> you more relevant ads, and thus increase conversions.
> if the data is obviously collectible, you
> should assume it's being collected.
It seems to me that this is somewhat analogous to Facebook posting on my wall, "Hey, jgw, would you be interested in buying some of this special topical cream that is remarkably effective on certain types of rashes? Nudge, nudge."
Or Google sending me targeted advertising for anatomical adjustments by email - and casually CC a few of my friends in my address book.
That's a good point, and while I don't think that was Target's intention, the potential is certainly notable.
You get a Safeway club card and you know full well that they're tracking you, because you hand them the card every shopping trip. Or you use Amazon or Netflix, where customers really want to be tracked -- the tracking and data mining are part of the draw, because they have such good suggestion engines.
I had LASIK a few years back and bought dry eye drops from Target - a lot of them, over six months time. Then my eyes healed and I quit buying it. A month later I get a coupon generated by a Target cash register for Systane drops, the exact brand I used to buy. I guess they thought I started buying them at Walgreens instead?
It was only when they gave me a coupon for a specific brand and product, that most of the population would likely not buy on a typical weekly shopping trip, that I realized all my purchases were being tracked and linked by my credit card number.
All that time before then, their prediction engine was selecting coupons for completely unrelated products, and I was using the coupons not even thinking about it.
Amazon at least lets you fine-tune a little bit, but not enough to say, "no you're completely wrong" short of starting over with a new account. Which is a lot harder with physical stores...
"1 - 15 of 534"
Five hundred and thirty-four purchases. Like having a cattle prod jammed into the back of my head.
But in your case, I have no idea. Maybe try contacting them?
Wish I hadn't, 'cause TiVo now thinks I'm gay!
Shop logged out, don't log in until you've decided.
I find that Tesco give coupons for whole cart discount at a purchase price of about 25% above our average spend. That's a good tactic too.
> "We were contacted about two years ago by somebody who runs a security company that had been asked in a request for proposals for ways they could link video footage with customers paying for their purchases," Albrecht said. "Wal-Mart would actually be able to view photos and video of customers paying, say, for a pack of gum. At the time, it struck me as unbelievably outlandish because of the amount of data storage required."
In general, an isolated video is not interesting.
It becomes more interesting and potentially scary once you have a digital, searchable, analyzable history of video customer transactions.
If a cashier has been already flagged and the customer matches up in the network of cashier's friends (Facebook?), possibly in conjunction with another theft deterrent system, be able for managers to watch in real time a potential leakage event (where they don't scan certain items).
(New) wedding ring detected. Commence deluge of in-kind marketing partnerships with Home Depot, maybe even Crate & Barrel.
Customer over the past three months has been showing signs of possible pregnancy relative to their baseline body mass index. Somehow, non creepily, market to them via 3rd party mailing lists who had no idea how you learned she was expecting or more subtly by changing the default landing homepage of walmart.com to reflect more future mother when her cookie is detected.
Kids. If the kids seem hyperactive in the overhead view, email coupons for toys that appeal to ADD-type kids.
Over the last year of transactions, customer's head has been exhibiting signs of male pattern baldness. Send them targeted coupons for hats to see if they think its something they need to cover up.
using Kinect to track customers.
I'd find it creepy and invasive to get something physical in the mail with private medical information.
It's not private medical information. It's an analysis of your public actions. All the coupons say is that many people that bought the things you did are pregnant. It doesn't say that you are pregnant.
On one occasion, some kid in a CVS gave me a high five after seeing me buying a mega-pack of condoms while carrying a bottle of whiskey. Did he violate my privacy?
It's not public for anyone to grab. You have to pay for access to the data. But if you can pay, you can get the data.
My point was that it is crass for a company to send an announcement like that to a woman in her first trimester. And crass in general to send out mailings targeting specific medical conditions. If I had bought hemorrhoid cream at target, I wouldn't want a mailing non-subtly directed at hemorrhoid sufferers showing up on my doorstep.
Personally, I don't find a problem with this at all. It's a life status "pregnancy" and the later status "with children". It's about the same as if I bought a lot of sports gear, so Target started pre-emptively sending me coupons on new sporting equipment for the upcoming season, and telling me of late-seasons sales.
I gave them the information by purchasing there. I know I did, so ... I just can't see why this is bad in the general case.
Everyone would throw their Safeway card into a pile and then randomly select one to keep.
Not even we knew who's card we had.
It must have been odd.."Wow, this vegan keeps buying the cheapest hot dogs ever..."
I figure I'm doing the world a favor this way, since eventually enough cashiers will notice how much time this wastes and how much more effort it takes to hand out a new card to every customer. Hopefully they'll mention this to their boss, and eventually (possibly 30 years down the line) it will sink in that it's a bad idea and they'll stop doing it.
But at the end of the day, it's the store's choice to inconvenience its customers with these cards. They can't possibly be surprised when I don't happily stuff their loyalty card in my wallet.
They've already convinced one person (me in this case) to make a conscious effort to find grocery stores that don't have silly loyalty cards when its convenient. If they start delaying the checkout process every time they sell me groceries by making me fill out a form, they'll start convincing those other people in line that maybe they should go across the street to that other giant grocery store that doesn't require those cards.
I just wish that more people did this. Most everybody I see in stores these days seems perfectly happy to carry around a dozen of those cards.
I'm perfectly happy to get the discounts they provide, as well as occasional targeted coupons. Often times those coupons are appreciated!
My mother gave birth a while ago, and sadly, the child only lived for two months. But for months after his death, we received a LOT of coupons - "20% off diapers for your bundle of joy," etc. It was a sensitive time, and checking the mail often led to tears. After reading this article, thinking back - Target ads. I specifically remember giant, full-paged ads for nothing but baby items from Target.
edit for type, it's =/= isn't
A telemarketer from the bank I used to be with called me on the day of my brother's funeral to try and sell me life insurance.
Terribly bad timing as at the time I was waiting for the car to pick my mother and myself up to lay him to rest.
I'd like to say I handled it well, but I didn't. I vaguely recall some hefty swearing on my part the next day as I closed my account with them.
That's what everyone should take out of this article. Even though doing something is technically legal, it doesn't mean you or your startup/company should be doing it. Always take into account what your customer base will feel.
Aren't they just contributing to the very thing they're trying to scare you about? Pick a side.
Legislation like COPPA that proscribes behavior/activities solely online will only become more obviously non-sensical as the line between online and offline activities continues to blur.
The "Minors aren't people." meme ranks somewhere at the top of my list of annoying beliefs.
Sure, you can make a case that we shouldn't burden the web with these sorts of rules. Or that we shouldn't have to differentiate between adults and young children. (You'll lose that argument.) That's not my point. My point is that legislation that differentiates between online and offline activities—and the information we collect about them—will become increasingly nonsensical as online and offline activities become less distinct.
When COPPA was passed in 1998, Target wasn't data-mining customers' purchase histories. Only websites were doing that sort of thing (or so the story went). Fast forward to today and offline activities (what you buy at the grocery store, where and when you get on the bus) are now being tracked in the same way that online activities have been for the last decade. Whatever limits you believe should (or shouldn't) be placed on tracking these activities, it's apparent that customer/user privacy is no longer an "online" issue. There will be no "online" issues in the future because the distinction between online and offline is quickly disappearing.
O'really? Got a reference for that? I would be stunned if they weren't.
It's a travesty that Forbes glosses over this point. The data mining isn't too surprising, and a habit of shopping at Target is what keeps making them money long after the baby has been born.
I knew Target and other stores were tracking me with my credit card, I noticed it specifically with Target too. At one retail chain I made my first purchase there with a debit card, almost immediately I started getting discount cards in the mail. I can't say for sure how they correlated me to my physical address, but I can guess. They were part of a larger company with other chains, one of which I purchased something from online, using the same debit card.
People seem spooked out by Target using credit cards to track people, what about not using credit cards? Safeway uses Club Cards, and they to it totally in the open by giving people "Just for U" coupons on things they buy (I used two of them yesterday). I'm not at all bothered that Safeway gives me a coupon on the exact laundry detergent I always buy, I think it's pretty nice of them.
And if stores can track you just as easily through credit cards, then I wonder how long it will be until Target offers discounts for using credit cards instead of cash, if that's legal.
(Also, you could be getting those coupons because you don't buy that laundry detergent as much as you could; if you bought it much more frequently they might guess that they couldn't get your purchase volume up much further by dropping the price.)
Yeah, it's all fun and games if shops do it and they apply it to baby powder coupons. But the invasion of privacy and the private dossiers Target or Visa or Facebook are building on every one of us can be used in other contexts.
Is this person likely to engage in extreme sports? Hike his health insurance quota 5x because he is a "risk" to profits.
Does this job applicant fit a union sympathiser profile? Deny him the job, on the "pure" economic reason that he is a risk to our bottom line profits.
I'd much rather ensure that this kind of data collection and targeting is illegal across the board. I'm ready to sacrifice the coupon industry, thank you very much.
This person is likely to remain healthy for a long time, requiring little/no care for chronic ailments. Even in the event of an accident, it's likely to result in either death (free) or a serious injury (a moderately large one-time cost).
The expensive person is the fattie who develops diabetes, blood clots, and all the other chronic ailments of a sedentary lifestyle. Those sorts of things are expensive.
I think this sort of data collection could use some more regulation (in the form of consumer protection). Personally, I prefer to limit info I give to companies, I rarely put real info on those in-store cards, etc
So I see that there are possible bad uses of the data. But I don't see us heading in the direction of those bad uses. Hopefully our lawmakers will help protect our privacy while still allowing useful business analytics happen -- there's a balance to be had.
Bet you'll think twice before clicking Like on that next web page.
If the government wants your data they can get it. Using cash, which providing some theatric value, won't make you un-traceable (commercial banks track serial numbers through their systems).
Not saying privacy regulation has no use - it does (though this example with Target seems innocuous; be wary of slippery slope fallacy). But you aren't protected against a determined counter-party.
Because it was only a 5% discount, and I didn't buy much as a starving student anyway, I only used it for certain, specific items, just to mess with their database. So if you mined my data, I appeared to be some guy who ate nothing, drank nothing but milk, and was an inordinately prodigious consumer of toilet paper.
We have them up here in Canuckistan, now, too.
If you are a developer, and you feel uncomfortable with this sort a tracking, would you work for a company developing or maintaining software or infrastructure that does this sort of customer analysis?
It seems to me that some of the most interesting companies to work for are doing data mining like this. I would guess a large percentage of Hadoop installs are doing analytics on customer data. Are you ethnically opposed to data mining?
While these are simply guiding principles, they are an important measure of what is permitted within the community.
"Please submit the original source. If a blog post reports on something they found on another site, submit the latter."
What determines what HN submissions show up in the RSS fed?
But really, why not have a credit card? If she's not building debt, I don't see a problem with having one.
Minors can legally enter into contracts. Those contracts are entirely binding on the non-minor party. The minor is the one that can repudiate the contract before the age of majority to void it, but otherwise, it's a perfectly valid contract. If the minor remains bound past the age of majority, the contract can no longer be voided, either.
There are credit cards marketed directly to teens.
More common than you think. On the other hand, I was living on my own at the time.
If the manager did not actually know about the ad campaign, how did the anecdote make its way to the reporter?
It sounds borderline "too juicy to be true". That one anecdote makes the story.
I'm not saying I am on one side or the other, but every 'targeted' campaign will have some fallout, you just have to make sure it's a small enough number.
I love that logic. Woah, our customers are getting creeped out by this. Guess we gotta creep harder.
As the technology gets better, it's becoming increasingly difficult to lie, and to live a fake life. Every thing one does leaves a trace in the physical world, a trace that one can't remove. From air vibrations to people talking to behaviour patterns, the trace is there, and year after year we get better and better at amplifying those signals and extracting information. One can not lie and hope it will remain undiscovered forever. In a healthy society this would be a Good Thing.
They can keep their "redcard" for tracking everyone's data.
(I also have a dozen amazon accounts for different stuff)