Invasive Analytics And Big Brother , Part III

April 2, 2006

Many thanks to Dave Morgan of SiteSpect, who swallowed my April Fool’s Day post hook, line and sinker. The first paragraph – where a couple of other blogs commented on this blog – was all true, creating just the verisimilitude I needed to pull it off. My family couldn’t understand why I was laughing so hard as I wrote it Saturday morning, so it was great to see that someone saw how ridiculous the concept of punishing non-converting visitors was.

Let me finish up on invasive analytics, for now. Instant Cognition, which uses many of the same analytics that this blog does, sent me a question. “What do you think of the feature in BlogBeat that lets you tag visitors?” he asked, wondering if that wasn’t invasive. He pointed out that he knows that I live in Pittsburgh and that I use fiber optic, so now he could tag me. BlogBeat actually has a very cool ability that I hadn’t explored until I read the question, i.e. once you recognize the IP address with browser, city, etc, you can attach a person’s name to it.

I played with it, and truly I don’t think it’s any more invasive than creating an Excel spreadsheet with the IP string information in one column and the person’s name in another — it’s just more convenient. Sort of like the Google Maps Satellite View — the satellite view was never confidential, just harder to get before Google put it on all our desktops. And then as soon as the individual changes computers or a dynamic IP address reinitializes, they visit and you don’t know it.

Having said that — it is very cool.