Interactive websites offer a large number of opportunities for data collection, personalization, and identity profile correlation with other sources. I think, in most cases, this is an intent-neutral technology that’s branded with the goals of those behind the rules.
On the one hand, non-invasive personalization can make the customer experience better, more natural, and tuned to the needs and desires of the individual user. Highly targeted ads, if they’re accurate (which is a big “if"), tend to remove invasive ads for things the user is actually not interested in, as well as decreasing the number of ads overall, because advertisers will pay more for targeted ads.
On the other hand, there are a number of nefarious purposes to which a highly detailed CRM database can be put. Recently, a wrong arrest was made in an arson case based on Safeway affinity card purchases.
There’s constant debate over whether companies should be collecting all this data on users, and whether those practices should be regulated.
There are, of course, many variations. This is one evolution of how a website will get to know users better over time.
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