Friday, October 3, 2014

Silicon Valley is Devoid of Reason - Ms. Merkel, tear down this firewall!

The Condescending Corporate Brand Page is a page on Facebook that is fond of noting when particular brands go a little too far to cash in on some historic event.

I'm waiting for the page to cast its eye on its host.

This morning, Mark Zuckerberg posted a picture in which he is holding a "25" balloon. It was accompanied by the following text:

Today is the anniversary of Germany’s re-unification. Next month is 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

When people are connected, they can bring down walls and lift up nations.

Let’s keep working so that one day everyone is connected -- and there are no more walls that divide us.

Yes, that's right - a guy who shows ads to people who post cat pictures is saying that the ability to be "connected" to his service is comparable to the ability for an East German to visit his family in West Germany without getting shot.

Um, no.

And why, oh why, would Zuckerberg be so interested in being "connected" in Germany?

Because some German consumer organizations don't want to connect with him:

Called Atlas, the new ad network is supposed to allow advertisers to use Facebook's detailed knowledge about its users to reach their desired customers across devices and target ads at them across apps and websites.

"The secret behind Atlas is the so-called cross-device functionality," said the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV). It allows Facebook to track users whether they use a smartphone, laptop, tablet or PC....

The Atlas group at Facebook says it allows advertisers to connect online campaign data with offline sales. That connection is probably based on a system with consumer loyalty cards containing email addresses and phone numbers, the VZBV said.

"Even though Facebook says it will deliver only anonymous data without names to advertisers, this almost continuous monitoring should leave many customers with an uncomfortable feeling," they said, adding that with such detailed profiles real anonymity can hardly be maintained.

And if enough people follow VZBV's suggestion to install ad blockers, Facebook will start to feel very unconnected with profitability.

And to a Silicon Valley insider, ad blocking is worse than Communism.

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