“Got kitesurfing on the mind, mixed with some search & classification tech, and a dab of political ranting”

Google/BSkyB deal, living up to my prognostication

Posted by direwolff on December 7, 2006

Mind you, I don’t actually believe this was much of a stretch to guess, but I found it funny how little time it took to manifest some comments I made in passing. On a post I wrote back on August 28th titled Is Google trying to compete with God?, I closed by making the following statement:

As a side note, if I were TACODA, Revenue Science or Blue Lithium, I’d be getting worried and perhaps looking for an exit soon, especially [if] there’s anything useful or truly worthwhile in behavioral targeting. I suspect that if there is, Google will launch the premier service in this area given how much information they already have to draw on from all of these sources.

Well, today’s news about Google entering into a services licensing deal with BSkyB, talks to this very matter. The relevant section of the article says:

The companies plan to extend the partnership to BSkyB’s core television platform, however, by replacing traditional 30-second television adverts with targeted commercials stored on hard drives in BSkyB’s set-top boxes.

Google’s AdSense technology, which brings up adverts relevant to search terms of users, would be deployed alongside BSkyB’s knowledge of its customers’ profiles and interests.

Now if I recall correctly, wasn’t there a big hubbub when DoubleClick acquired Abacus Direct back in the day? It’s likely to be a sign of the times that nothing like that will happen this time around, opening the doors for more and more intrusive consumer information mining to take place. Tacoda, Revenue Science, and Blue Lithium had better get their butts in gear getting into partnerships with (or acquired by) database list marketers and credit bureaus (you know the bunch, TRW, ChoicePoint, Experian, infoUSA, Equifax, etc.) that can link their behavioral data to real people in the physical world otherwise they’re going to be left in Google’s dust. Having said that, it’s a real shame to see our privacy being subsumed to business interests with little to no oversight for how it’s kept, used, and collected, nor how its quality and accuracy is maintained.

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