There’s a race going on in the tech sector, to see who will make the innovation that makes a generation give up more privacy. I stand with one foot in a generation that is happy to relinquish it and another in one that is still pretty suspicious.
Redpepper is one of the latest companies trying hard to make us give up some of our most private information. Its app Facedeals was featured on CBS5 in San Francisco, which asked the question ‘how much is your privacy worth’? The app scans your photo as you enter participating stores, shares your information with businesses in your network and sends you a deal on your cell phone based on your consumer behavior.
As the reporter above showed, Facedeals is not a Facebook product but uses the social network’s platform and certainly mimics its logo. Being able to ape that brand image will help Facedeals enormously as it tries to gain acceptance.
Hollywood offers a vision that may or may not scare you away from adoption. The movie ‘Branded‘ paints a picture of an America ‘where corporate brands have created a disillusioned population and one man’s effort to unlock the truth behind the conspiracy leads to an epic battle to control the world’. I am frustrated because I read an Australian-set novel that painted the same picture in the early 2000s and can’t remember its title right now!
Scene from ‘Branded’
Michael Del Castillo in Upstart argues: ‘ if you do crave that fleeting sense of privacy, you can leave your phone at home’. TV programmers have made the same argument to viewers who can’t stand their content for years: you can always pick up the remote and change channels. But most of us can no more imagine leaving our phone at home than leaving our door keys.
Even app developer Tim McMullen, whose company created Facedeals, says he’s a little sensitive to being filmed. But he adds: “the more intuitive marketing can be, the more people will appreciate it”. In the end I think he is on to something. Acquiring the information that will be available through Facedeals is an awesome privilege. Wield it wisely and customers will reward you in return. Abuse it and your risk turning them off the whole idea.
I would personally love to receive only marketing that is targeted more intelligently. I can’t wait to see which way this trend continues.