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Digital Destiny » Blog Archive » MySpace and Privacy: Why is Fox Trying to Evade its Privacy Problems?

MySpace and Privacy: Why is Fox Trying to Evade its Privacy Problems?

We have criticized both Facebook and MySpace regarding their expanded data collection & targeting efforts. Incredibly, Fox doesn’t think MySpace has a privacy problem. As reported by Online Media Daily [reg. may be required. our emphasis]:

While touting early results of the social networking site’s behavioral ad platform, which launched last month, FIM Chief Revenue Officer Michael Barrett also assured a packed room at the UBS 35th Annual Global Media and Communications conference Monday that MySpace’s ad strategy wouldn’t run afoul of privacy concerns that have tripped up rival Facebook’s Beacon program. “We’ve heard loud and clear there’s a growing desire for regulation for the Internet in general, and now targeting specifically,” Barrett said. “We are going about [targeting] in a very up-front, opt-out way.”

MySpace’s HyperTargeting platform lets advertisers and agencies more easily create advertising aimed at specific user groups based on the personal interests expressed in members’ MySpace profiles. Unlike Beacon, which broadcasts Facebook users’ activities on outside sites, Barrett said the data mined on MySpace for advertisers’ benefit is from information “freely and openly” provided in users’ profiles.”

What’s that again? Does Fox Interactive believe that just because users place information in their profiles, it’s open season for data collection and hypertargeting? The mining and harvesting of member data is bringing home the dough, it appears. FIM’s Barrett claimed that the new hypertargeting program has “led to a 50% to 300% gain in click-through rates for participating advertisers and a 50% gain in CPM rates.” Here’s a News Corp. Tv series pitch for post-writer’s strike. How about an animated series entitled “Fox in the data collection henhouse.”

PS: Mediaweek reports that “Barrett said… the site mines its vast database of user-reported preferences to produce better targeted ads (reaching self reported travel enthusiasts with travel ads, for example). Barrett reported that the new product had identified 549 specific, targetable groups on the site, and will yield over a thousand by the end of the year…MySpace will also be “able to leverage its database of user-supplied information to sell targeted ads around video.”

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