Someone Should Tell the New York Times that April Fools Day Was Two Days Ago

New York Times. So here I am reading today’s New York Times and what do I come across but the article “Every Click You Make, They’ll be Watching You,” and just about laughed myself right off of my chair. Apparently Claria, yeah, your fine friends from spyware company Gator, are betting that you and I will want to volutarily allow them to track our every move on the internet. The reason why? So that they can serve us up more relevant ads.

This is just about the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard in my life. This could totally be an April Fool’s joke.

From the article: “Claria says that because those ads are so closely aligned to the user’s interests and recent behavior, marketers will be willing to pay more than they might on other sites for the ability to reach PersonalWeb users.” Well, duh, yeah that’s right. But Claria is smoking crack if they think that I’m going to:

1. Allow anyone to track my internet useage voluntarily.

2. Install their crappy software (which is a requirement).

3. Change my homepage to their portal (isn’t that what they kept doing on their own the last time I installed Gator?)

4. Ever trust a spyware company for what benefit? So that I can have more relevant ads?

Welcome to the biggest con job ever on the internet. Again, from the article: “Readers would visit the newspaper’s Web site more often as a result, Mr. VanDeVelde predicted, thereby generating more advertising for Claria and the publisher to share. So far, Claria has signed no such agreements with United States publishers, but it has set up a joint venture with Yahoo Japan to possibly implement the technology there.”

Yeah, Claria has signed “no such agreements” because any newspaper caught doing business with this spyware company would be mocked as much as they are. I’m surprised Yahoo! is having anything to do with them.

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4 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    People will give up their privacy for a very low price. For example, thousands of people have installed the google toolbar, which allows google to record and view all the URLs visited when using the browser with the toolbar installed. To Google’s credit, this is fully disclosed in the installation of the toolbar.

    Claria claims to no longer be a spyware company…we’ll see how true that turns out to be.

  2. fergyboi says:

    You just describe what Google do in a nutshell, yet you call it absurd!

    Most people use Google as their homepage (voluntarily), many people use Gmail, you yourself use Blogger, desktop search is increasingly popular…the list goes on. Google collects and stores all this information without disclosing what it will do with it – obviously its main source of income is through targetted advertising – which does exactly what the spyware company is trying to do.

    I really don’t see the difference, except that Google has first mover advantage and covers up its data collection through cool products and free software. It’s believed that Google maintains over 10,000 servers purely to store data on its users. By linking your emails to your desktop search (which indexes your hard drive) and to your Google searchs, they already have a pretty good portait of most of their users.

  3. Thomas Hawk says:

    fergyboi. You make a good point and perhaps I am being over harsh with Claria based on a preconceived negative impression of their spyware business.

    Certainly between Google Mail, Desktop Search, Analystics, Accelerator, Personalization, etc. Google has tons of info on all of us.

    Somehow though (and call me naive) I’m more comfortable with them. On the one hand you have a company with a moto of do no evil (as absurd as it may be) that has been pretty progressive in general and offers you *huge* value as a user in terms of their tools and services and on the other hand you’ve got a known spyware company offering you little more than increasingly relevent ads.

    You make a good point and it may not be entirely rational, but I’ll take Google over Claria any day of the week.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You’re naive.