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Breakin’ the Law, Breakin’ the Law: Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, I covered some legal issues confronting the pay per click (PPC) search engine marketing. This installment looks at social media & personalization.

With the surge of social media & personalization how do we address issues surrounding a searcher’s personal profile & their search data? Access to online profiles has allowed marketers to make assumptions about a user’s preferences, allowing for predictive, highly targeted advertising. Growing popularity of social communities and bookmarking tools has raised questions about what’s ethical when it comes to using social media profiles to get the inside scoop on a user’s online activity.

Let’s take this a step further. I’m a firm believer that it’s not always about the end result; the process and the tools used to get there are equally as important. I recently stumbled upon (no pun intended) an opportunity to “practice what I preach.”

So I’m trying out FriendFeed, a new tool (still in beta) that allows you to consolidate and track all of your online activity based on the services you use (ex: Facebook, del.icio.us, Flickr, YouTube, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc.) with a single RSS feed. Here’s the kicker: as a member, you can subscribe to other member’s feeds and track their online activity. Think about this for a minute. All of your online activity is publicly tracked & available to any subscribing member. Friend or stalker?

On the one hand, it does allow for consolidation & efficiency. Be cautious though – nothing is left to hide. It all comes down to moral judgment or as we say in the advertising world – “truth in advertising”. The more powerful the tools, the more effective they are at serving good or ill intentions.

Ben Lloyd

About Ben Lloyd

Ben Lloyd serves as Principal at Add3 and manages the agency’s Portland office.  Ben got his start in SEM way back in 1999 – when there was like, 15 search engines and Google was barely a thing. Prior to Add3, Ben had founded Amplify Interactive in 2003 (which was acquired by Add3 in 2013), and hasn’t looked back since. Ben likes lots of stuff like golf, pinball, food(ie), booze/beer/wine – in that order, etc. Mostly – he likes doing that stuff with his friends. Ben is also co-founder of SEMpdx. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn