Exclusive! Daily Mail actively using “prying” technology to influence reader behaviour


Visitors to the Daily Mail website are having personal information about themselves captured for the purpose of influencing their behaviour to purchase goods and services, we can exclusively reveal. The Mail also admits that it will use information gathered on individuals to “deal with” comments made on the site.
Extensive research carried out by a crack escherman web team can reveal that the Daily Mail deploys an array of sophisticated web analytics and tracking technologies including Omniture, Sophus3, Google Analytics and ComScore.
According to Andrew Smith at escherman: “It took us all of 15 seconds to identify the full scale of the Daily Mail’s arsenal of monitoring technology. Some of these tools can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and clearly demonstrates how seriously the Daily Mail is prepared to invest in prying into the online behaviour of its readers.”
The sales literature for Sophus3, for example, makes no attempt to obscure its true purpose:
“Sophus3 has the capability to identify visitors who come from online campaigns, how they behave on your website and whether they turn into a lead or buy after that. With our analysis tools we can determine the effect of online advertising on consumer interest.”
In addition, the Daily Mail’s so called Privacy Policy brazenly asserts that it will use visitor information to: “Deal with, and respond to you about, a comment you have submitted for or on our message boards, blogs and other such user generated content facilities.”
Concludes Smith: “The amount of information that the Mail is gathering about its online readers is immense – everything from the kind of browser they are using down to their IP address. There can be no doubt that they are openly using this information to try and personalise their readers experience – or worse – co-erce them into buying third party products and services. We can only hope that their own journalists will apply the same rigorous approach as they’ve used with other organisations to write a follow up story to expose their own colleagues questionable behaviour and flagrant disregard for privacy.”

IT Week – James Murray interviews Hyperion CTO John Kopcke


James Murray – IT Week – interview with Hyperion’s John Kopcke

The trackback facility for stories on VNU’s website has set me thinking that this is another avenue yet to be fully explored (exploited?) by those of us working in the Web PR 2.0 world. In the past, once a story appeared, you had no further means of continuing the conversation around it – or at least not in a way that was open to public scrutiny. For example, what if someone felt they were misquoted? Rather than write an angry letter to the Editor asking for a correction, you can put your case in the open and let people make their own minds up.

And before anybody asks, James has written an entirely faithful record of his conversation with John at the Gartner BI Summit of a few weeks ago. For those interested, more of John’s insights into the whole subject of business intelligence and business performance management can be found here:

Hyperion Executive Thought Leadership Perspectives

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