Opt Out

One click and you are done. One click and you are saved from the pop-ups, the banners, and the data tracking…or so you think. With the growing awareness of advertisers and companies using personal data and individual online activities, there has also been a growing misunderstanding that the one-click opt out option on websites and digital ads results in total protection.

The Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) has created an Opt-out tool that has been developed with input from NAI members with the “purpose of allowing consumers to ‘opt out’ of the behavioral advertising” delivered by the NAI member companies. As stated by the organization’s website, the NAI is a coalition of over 80 online advertising companies committed to complying with tough self-regulatory standards that establish and reward responsible business and data management practices.

In the words of the NAI (and please note the carefully crafted language):

The NAI Opt-out Tool replaces a network advertiser’s unique online preference marketing cookie on your browser with a general opt-out cookie. It does not delete individual cookies nor does it necessarily replace other cookies delivered by network advertisers, such as those that are used for aggregate ad reporting or mere ad serving purposes. Such cookies allow network advertisers to change the sequence of ad banners, as well as track the aggregate number of ads delivered (impressions).

So what does this actually mean for the everyday user? Rumor has it that opting out may stop physically seeing the individual tailored digital advertisements, but the tracking may still be continuing. All of this has become confusing for users and has caused the opt out option to be highly misunderstood.

According to a 2011 Carnegie Mellon University study, tools, such as the NAI Opt-out Tool, were either ineffective or too confusing for the average user; this included those tools of third-party blockers, browser tool options, and the opt-out tools from advertisers. Their results have shown that:

The current approach for advertising industry self-regulation through opt-out mechanisms is fundamentally flawed. There are significant challenges in providing easy-to-use tools that give users meaningful control without interfering with their use of the web. Even with additional education and better user interfaces, it is not clear whether users are capable of making meaningful choices about trackers

All is not lost when choosing the opt-out options. First, it’s a good start. But users have other privacy options besides changing privacy browser settings or clicking on the privacy icon on digital ads. The company PrivacyChoice has developed a system which will score company websites on a 0 to 100 scaled based on how the site collects and uses personal data.

 In a statement, founder of PrivacyChoice, Jim Brock said, “For the first time, Web publishers and their users have a way to easily compare privacy practices across the Web…This transparency not only allows people to make smarter decisions about their own data, it also will spur more protective privacy practices by sites and tracking companies, which is long overdue.”

Although the one click opt-out tool may not save us all, there are other options available and dedicated to individual user data protection.


The Layout of it All

During our meeting today we discussed some ideas on how the final project will look.

1.) Student profiles- we thought it would be a good idea to include a
“profile” page which will include a picture of each student and description of who they are, what they’re studying, etc. These pages, hopefully, will look exactly like Facebook profiles do.

2.) We are still thinking about what Topics, Players, and Examples will look like but we have thought that our personal projects will look like the new profile on Facebook’s timeline- a large cover photo at the top to represent the company (for example: sharpie- large sharpie graffiti art, chick fil a- the cows, etc), with a profile picture of company logo, some quick facts and under info- everything about our individual projects.

3.) We’re going to bring physical ideas about layout to class next week- such as different magazines. If you all have some layout suggestions please feel free to let us know!

4.) A Cover page is in the works…

5.) What we need from you: eventually we will need all of your reports and photos to use- this will be based on what editorial suggests

Consumers Union

As consumers become more aware of online terms such as tracking, cookies [not the good kind you eat], data mining, and other invasive expressions, privacy advocates have been stepping in and creating a voice for the people. One of those organizations who has taken initiative and has stepped forward to challenge numerous issues [both online and off] has been the Consumers Union (CU).

Founded in 1936, when advertising started to rule the airwaves and consumers lacked a reliable source to help them determine between hyped of bad products and quality ones. On the Consumes Union’s website they define themselves as, “an expert, independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers to empower consumers to protect themselves.”

Throughout its existence, the CU is provided consumer information on a broad range of products. In a continual growing technological world, the most recent CU stand has been at the forefront of the online privacy war.

This past March, the CU offered up praise for the final report on a framework for online privacy by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC report concludes that companies need to address consumer privacy by implementing a “Do Not Track” option which should be operating by the end of 2012 and takes a focus on mobile applications as well. The idea behind the “Do Not Track” is to be industry designed [but if companies cannot get their own technology rolling by the year’s end, ideally, lawmakers should be able to force those companies to figure out a different option, quickly], but an easy way for users to opt out of online tracking.

Ioana Rusu, member of the Regulatory Counsel for the Consumers Union, has had a long stand for online privacy and data security laws. In light of the release of the FTC final report, Rusu said, “This is a good report that reflects the growing concerns about online privacy, especially the fact that we need better tools and information to decide how our personal information is used.”

Rusu continued, “When we talk about online privacy, we’re talking about trust. A company needs customers to trust that their personal information is going to be treated with respect. If you don’t trust that a company is going to use your information responsibly, you’re going to be much less likely to adopt new services, and that hurts innovation.”


The Best Vacation You Have Ever Taken…Planned by Your Friends?!

With summer quickly approaching, the one thing on many minds is vacation. When it comes to such trips, besides the money [it costs to actually go and the money lost when taking time off from work] and time [it takes to plan and the time lost from jobs], one of the most important details is personalization. Vacation-goers know what they like, and when the time comes to pack their bags and jet off, they want what they like.

Tapping into the ultimate personalization trip planning experience is TripAdvisor. This travel website, known for providing and gathering travel information, reviews, opinion-related content, and travel forums, has integrated Facebook with travel as it became one of the first eight approved partners to take part in Facebook’s Open Graph launch.

Article writer Jeff Ente [author of One Year Later: What Mrketers Have Learned About Facebook’s Open Graph] further explains this idea behind the Open Graph: “The cutting edge for Open Graph integration is Instant Personalization…If a user is currently logged into Facebook, Instant Personalization allows sites to use Open Graph data without an additional login.” In taking advantage of this new idea, TripAdvisor has created an interactive app that appeals to their users and in return gains user data from the app which shapes the website.

Welcome to the world of Trip Friends, the latest and greatest way to think about, plan, and dream up vacations that meet all of your likings. With this app from TripAdvisor, information from a user’s social graph on Facebook will be collected and those Facebook “Friends” who can tell you a thing or two about that vacation you are thinking, planning, and dreaming about will be identified.

As technical manager for apps at TripAdvisor, Sanjay Vakil, explains the app, “So as an example, I can navigate to the Los Angeles page on TripAdvisor. That page will show me people that I know who live there and people who have visited there. I can ask these people questions, and responses are curated on my Facebook wall.”

All of this data is being taken from the “Cities I’ve Visited” application that has been circulating on Facebook for the past three years. Once users accept and grant permission to the “Cities I’ve Visited” app, they are able to put digital pins into a map showing where they have been and visited. According to Vakil, from the use of this app on Facebook, TripAdvisor has over a billion pins’ worth of data; this is exactly what they are combing Trip Friends with.

This direction TripAdvisor is taking will make vacations more personalized than ever before. Users can now plan trips based on the places and suggestions of the people they trust the most: their friends. In combination with the suggestions, the global mapping feature will allow app users to actually see on a digital map where their friends are actually talking about. And with trust already established for this travel site, customers are willing to hit the accept button and start receiving and sharing their data with their friends and the company of TripAdvisor.

The Double Perspective

This is going to be the year! 8th grade! For the first time, in probably forever, I can’t wait to start the school year because this is the year we rule the school. Not only will I be an 8th grader, which is kind of a big deal, but who doesn’t love new school supplies?! New binders, new markers, new highlighters- everything new! There’s only 3 weeks left of summer and after just getting back from family summer vacation I couldn’t wait to get back on Facebook and check in with all my friends. While I was away Becky, Jen, and Elizabeth all posted on my wall that they just could not wait until we’re all back at school and reunited! We posted on each other’s wall about how we’re going to decorate our lockers, what new clothes we’re just dying to get our parents to buy, and how we have only one more year until high school!

I don’t get to spend too much time on Facebook because of our family rules about the Internet. I’m allowed to play approved games, go on certain websites, and use Facebook as long as my parents can log on and see what I have been up to and I have to be friends with my parents. I’m hoping once in high school they’ll give me more freedom! So when I signed onto Facebook a week later it was almost like Facebook knew I was going back to school! Right on my page Sharpie showed me the absolute hottest school supplies for this coming Fall season! The newest highlighters AND this season’s newest Sharpie limited addition colors! Me, Becky, Jen, and Elizabeth do everything together- and the one thing we absolutely love to do is draw on our notebooks and binders for school throughout the year with our markers but only some markers are the right ones that don’t smudge our drawings and Sharpies are our favorite! I cannot wait to tell my mom about the new Sharpies and highlighters we MUST get before school starts!

—–Perspective Change—–

Back to reality- Coming home from family vacation is always a drag, but all good things must come to an end, right? Three weeks lefts of summer, where has the time gone?! And those three weeks means back to school shopping- Oh the mayhem! Being back in the real world means catching up with work, emails…all that technology that I go on vacation to get away from. I don’t really get on Facebook that much, I’m still actually trying to understand what it really is and why apparently I absolutely need to have one (according to my daughter), besides the fact to keep an eye on her Internet activities. So far it’s been a good tool for my secret spy mom activities as well as keeping up with my friends from college and high school.

A couple of days after getting back from vacation, I was on the computer searching and making shopping lists for the dreaded back to school shopping that needed to be started sooner than later. While procrastinating on my list making I signed on Facebook and immediately saw a post from Sharpie letting me know about their new supplies and what store near me had which markers and highlighters in stock. I immediately though- Had Sharpie just been watching my endless supply searching and list making? A little creepy I suppose, but hey let’s go with this- What they were showing were their new and old favorite products for this coming school year. Once I saw those limited addition colors I knew my 8th grade daughter would go nuts over having them in her marker collection for this year- What a great back to school surprise those would make for her!

But still, I just didn’t understand…How did Sharpie know? By scrolling down on my newsfeed I saw my daughter received the same msg and had began talking about these new Sharpies back and forth with her friends. I went to her Facebook profile page and saw that she had liked some application of some sort from Sharpie. Usually I don’t like her accepting applications and games with out our consent. I know that sounds a little over protective, but hey I’m a mom. I still don’t really know what she accepted, or liked, or what this application (if that’s what it’s called in this day and age)- but we’ve been buying Sharpie products for years and if it’s a brand I trust, so then I think that’s ok for my daughter to be interacting with them. It’s just kind of amazing though (and creepy) but more so amazing that Sharpie knew what I would be looking for this time of year! And if I hadn’t gotten that update about the new limited addition colors, I would have never known to look for them when we go back to school shopping, let alone know where to actually GO near me to find the special colors!

Have you gotten yours?

I know some people who don’t mind them, I would hope no one would like them, but I DESPISE them. SHOTS. No, not the ones that fulfill your libational weekend needs- the ones where the room is cold, white walls around, some medical health awareness poster framed sitting on a single nail, and the only thing between you and some leather materialed half medical bed looking contraption is a thin layer of tissue paper- Nurse enters, cold hands and OUCH- it’s over, finally.

Obviously you get my point, I hate shots. And for this reason I have never gone out of my way to get or even find out if I even should be getting flu shots year after year. Recent events have caused me to rethink my fear, and maybe it is too little to late, but I’ve decided to research the hype around the annual “Did you get your flu shot yet?” in order to prepare for the coming years:

So This is what I found (As explained by the CDC):

The shot itself:  The “flu shot” — an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.

Types: There are 3= Regular (6 mo +), High dose (65+), and intradermal (18-64) OR NASAL SPRAY FLUE VACCINE- there is a hope for those deathly afraid of needles!

When can you get it: August-Sept/Oct or until the vaccine has been distributed


  • severe allergy to chicken eggs.
  • People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination.
  • Children younger than 6 months of age (influenza vaccine is not approved for this age group), and
  • People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever (they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated.)
  • People with a history of Guillain–Barré Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness, also called GBS) that occurred after receiving influenza vaccine and who are not at risk for severe illness from influenza should generally not receive vaccine. Tell your doctor if you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Your doctor will help you decide whether the vaccine is recommended for you.

This article put out by CNNhealth.com goes into detail a little more.

I’ve always heard different opinions about the Flu Shot- Get one, don’t get one, It’s a necessity, it will make you sick as a dog, so on and so on..
Maybe next year I will brave the cold, white room in order to be on the safe side, or maybe I’ll be back to my dangerous ways of playing my cards- if I get sick, I get sick, Oh well…time will tell..

An extra four…

Explanation of Data

  • Structured/Unstructured
  • Open/Closed
  • Permeable
  • and how and where Facebook & the Open graph fit in the mix


  • the difference between just having data and using that data
  • giving examples- such as the use of Triggers, previous searches, using information voluntarily dispersed on Facebook such as location, occupations, likes, favorites, etc


  • What the Facebook IPO means for the REALLY GETS ME movement


  • Using Moneyball as the prime example
  • Spelling out the Really Gets Me
  • Making the Data work