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Amazon & Behavior – Predictive Targeting

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New Scientist is reporting on patents filed by Amazon on March 8th that will (do?) allow the online retail giant to extract keywords …

… like “birthday” and “anniversary” from searches and online operations and use that information combined with all of the other things they do to email you notification of upcoming events and more.

The information could be used to remind your loved ones of an impending special occasion and offer gift suggestions.

Currently Amazon makes personalised suggestions to customers based on previous purchases by that customer, previous web pages browsed and comparisons between customers who have bought similar products. But the company may vastly increase its predictive capability in the future.

The patent describes software that automatically guesses when a gift is being purchased by extracting key words such as “birthday” or “anniversary” from an attached message. It might also note details such as the fact that the buyer has asked it to be gift wrapped or that the recipient address is different from the purchaser address, according to the patent, which was granted on 8 March.

Amazon could also guess your age, gender and many other things based on your habbits on their website.

Behavioural targeting and profiling is nothing new, but the NS report does conjur up all kinds of privacy issues that could arise from such practices and you’ll see some of those issues highlighted in the NS story itself.

For me, as long as im informed, am opting in, and am aware of everything fully, i think such targeting would be beneficial to me, but not everyone will see this as good news for sure…

Link: Online purchase could give you away

Nick Wilson is the publisher and founder of Threadwatch.org.

Threadwatch is a group blog, or forum if you prefer, focusing on Marketing and Related Technologies – News and discussion for those that make their living on the WWW – Register here to participate.

Amazon & Behavior – Predictive Targeting
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