Google to Buy FeedBurner

Is this good or bad?
Todd Cochrane over at Geek News Central seems to think it is BAD, VERY BAD.

Here is my take, kind of rambly, but I only had a moment to write it up…

This happens already on the internet today. Your ISP knows exactly what web pages you visit and the traffic you bring in and out of your network. Most any site out there is going to record information from their users. You have my IP and my location. If I had a user ID, you would have even more information if I were to fill out the questionnaire accurately.

Now, if I wanted to keep all this information away from people, I simply wouldn’t use the internet. That is the trade off one has to make when using the internet. If you are in a public place, you ARE giving people information about yourself.

Google is no different and they collect the data at a much more detailed level because they have a specific use for it. The thing with Google is that they do not intend to use it in a malicious way, but for specific targeting of their ads. They don’t go off and sell their data to spammers, or telemarketers, or anyone really. The only way they DO use your data, is if you use one of their “FREE” services, Google, gmail, google reader, etc, etc.

Now with feedburner, a user may “unintentionally” send some info to google simply because they do not understand what they are really doing when they subscribe to a RSS feed routed through feedburner (and ultimately google), but on the flip side, if that user never decides to use google’s “free” services, that information will never be used by google in delivering targeted ads to that user.

I think one of your previous posts directly relates to this. You mentioned the importance of ROI as well as the ability for a podcaster to pitch a product to their audience. And thanks to your data collection and stats, you know exactly what type of a listener a show has and can sell that specific audience to an advertiser. Would an advertiser buy a spot not knowing ultimately who would hear it? Would google give you a GREAT search engine and other tools without getting information back to deliver you a specific ad?

Google is the same. Giving away “free” products to their users in exchange for more detailed information about that user so that can deliver more targeted ads.

Brian

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05 2007
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