If you’re a company like Echometrix that sells parental control software, you’re sitting on a whole bunch of data about what teens and children say and do on the Internet. What to do with that information? Use it to make your software better? Well, of course. But why not sell aggregate data to marketers, too?
In addition to notifying parents if their kids are doing something questionable, the company also sells summary data based on this information—in the aggregate—to other companies. A press release on its Web site describes a product called Pulse “that reads digital content from multiple sources across the Web, including: instant messages, blogs, social environment communities, forums, and chat rooms.” The company says that it delivers the unsolicited raw conversations in real time. It gives marketers immediate, unique information about what teens are saying in their own words.”
Greene says that the service can let companies “in real time, find out what the kids are saying about your product and all your competitors’ products…I can’t tell you who said it, I can only just tell you that a lot of kids said it.”
Parents can opt out of this data collection while installing the software, so it’s not entirely evil. Still, would this feature turn you away from the product as a parent? Or is the sale of our aggregate data just something we need to take for granted once we venture out on the interwebs?