Apple Wants To Pre-Check Your Spending Power Before Advertising To You

Apple products are popular, but they’re not cheap. There’s a certain cachet that goes with them, a projection of status and class. And Apple’s newest patent isn’t for another high-cost, high-popularity product… it’s for tech that will only advertise stuff to you that they think you can afford.

Mashable points to the patent application, which would target ads to specific customers based on their bank account status and credit card limits.

Specifically, the application says it’s for technology that would target a select group of users more likely to respond to the advertisements, which is basically what all marketing is. But in this case, “The common profile of users may be based on the amount of pre-paid credit available to each user.”

“An advantage of such targeted advertising is that only advertisements for goods and services which particular users can afford, are delivered to these users,” says the application.

In short: if you have financial resources, Apple will advertise their products to you. If you don’t, they won’t.

Customizing ads based on your supposed demographic profile is nothing new. Back in 2012, for example, Orbitz decided to prioritize more expensive hotel listings in results for Mac users, on the theory that users of that brand would be willing and able to pay for a premium experience rather than hoping to find the best deal. And there is now an entire industry based on mining and aggregating and sorting out every detail about every digital profile in order to target advertising in just that way.

But available credit, of course, does not necessarily correlate to “has the money available to spend.” Having a $0 balance on your credit card is not a sign that you should immediately charge a $1300 MacBook to that credit card, nor is a steady income an indicator that you should replace your $500 iPhone with a $600 iPhone as soon as possible.

Similarly, a lack of available credit does not correlate to “cannot be a customer.” Plenty of the under-18 set (who theoretically have no credit) get their families to buy them gifts of Apple products, and adults are capable of saving and managing budgets, and also of receiving gifts or irregular, but significant, income streams.

This is just a patent application, not a finished product, so it’s far too early to get worked up about Apple using your bank account balance as a marketing factor just yet. It may never happen at all. But the fact that companies can now plan to target or ignore consumers not just at such a granular level, but also at such a personal one, seems to be where the future is heading.

Apple may check your credit card balance to show you products you can afford [Mashable]

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