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Twitter Advertising Businesses Privacy Social Networks The Almighty Buck

Twitter's New Money-Making Plan: Lead Generation 82

jfruh writes "Social networks like Twitter and Facebook have long hoped that the information they've gathered about you will help them create better targeted and more lucrative advertising, even though advertisers never see your personal data directly. But now Twitter is upping the ante, creating a new kind of card that encourages you to give your contact information directly to people who want to sell you things. For instance, Priceline has a new card with a 'sign up and save' button that saves you 10% on a hotel — and, though it isn't made explicit, adds your Twitter handle and contact information to a Priceline mailing list. There's nothing to stop Twitter from handing this info — including your phone number, if you've registered it with the service — to salesmen."
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Twitter's New Money-Making Plan: Lead Generation

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    You mean "not RoHS compliant"?

  • This is why (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24, 2013 @05:53AM (#43810731)

    This is why parties like facebook, google, twitter, and all the other oh-so-social sites want your contact info. Of course, you knew that.

    But it's actually rather deceitful to say one thing and to actually do another. And there is a fundamental problem, where information given in good faith for one purpose gets (silently!) repurposed for another. Doesn't really matter that it's because they wants moar monies, it just isn't what you signed up for. Same with "updates" to privacy policies: Same thing, regardless of what lawyers say, or even if laws exist to explicitly allow such a thing: Such repurposing is always disingenious.

    It happens all the time, of course. And you can't realistically legislate against it with privacy laws, that can do no more than say "now be nice with that valuable sensitive personally identifying information, y'hear?!?". So people keep on giving false information. It isn't so much retalliation but far more a protection mechanism against the inevitable exploits of marketeering. And then there's parties with a lot of power in the market trying to force you to give far too much and actually correct information, even try to get laws passed to force you even worse.

    So I say there ought to be a law allowing the use of pseudonyms wherever you like. If the government is still there for the people, that is.

    • Then the question is: why aren't there services like facebook's, google's and twitter's that are honest and let you be the customer, instead of commercial third parties?
      I don't mind paying a reasonable fee, if the company treats me like I expect them to.

      • Re:This is why (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Friday May 24, 2013 @07:26AM (#43811011) Homepage

        An individual profile is probably worth (far) more to advertisers than an average person would be willing to pay.

        • Looking at figures for Facebook and and Tumblr, it seems somewhere between $5 to $20 per user is a ballpark figure.

          • I might pay $20/year for Twitter if that money bought me meaningful privacy protections. Unfortunately, I don't see that option becoming realistic. It's doubtful there are enough potential customers who value their privacy, and it would be a huge expense and a huge risk to re-configure the data centers to handle those customers.
            • You are missing the point that you'll be the one in 10 who normally would be willing to pay "money" for "free" a service. So make it more like $200/year, and then Twitter will happily make it happen for you.
          • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

            per day/week/month/year/forever?

            • That's market cap for Facebook and purchase price for Tumblr, so that is "per user" (for the lifetime of the user/company).

      • by Threni ( 635302 )

        There's, but nobody (statistically, I mean) uses it. Twitter works because they got there first and loads of celebs, industry leaders etc use it. If you could convince them to switch then it might work, but you'd need people to go first and pay for the ability to post once into Twitter (for now), and again into the new system.

        It's a bit like Windows - you don't have to be best, you just have to be first. Well, eventually this breaks down, but this current issue won't kill Twitter because if people

        • Have to keep in mind that when Twitter started, smartphones were not as common. The whole 140 characters is because SMS was the primary access method (and still is for many). Hard to get a text without giving them your phone number.
        • "It's a bit like Windows - you don't have to be best, you just have to be first."

          Sure, but that's for stuff people _need_!

          You can't run a computer without OS, but running a life without Facebook or Twitter is actually fantastic.

        • you don't have to be best, you just have to be first

          This apparently does not apply to telephone companies.
          Why should it apply to Twitter etc.?

          • by Threni ( 635302 )

            If you switch your phone company, nobody else knows. You keep your number, you still call other people on their number.

            If you dump Twitter you have to try and convince people to follow you on your new network, you need to add their new ids to your new account (assuming they switch), and you don't even get the chance to ask people you don't know to switch networks - not they would if you did.

            Twitter may have been really cool in the early days - I don't know, I joined fairly recently. They seem to have done t

        • I'm not sure what any legitimate company would do with your phone number anyways. Most people register with the do not call registry, and the only people who don't follow the do not call rules are breaking the law to begin with. I think twitter would be in for some nasty PR, possibly legal trouble, if they were caught doing business with such an organization.

          Unless they're politicians of course - they put specific rules in to allow themselves to spam you in both email and phone calls. This is one reason why

      • Then the question is: why aren't there services like facebook's, google's and twitter's that are honest and let you be the customer, instead of commercial third parties?

        Probably, because no one who thinks that enough people are willing to pay enough money to make that a profitable business model has started a business in that space. If you think it would be viable, go ahead and start a firm working on that model and prove it.

    • This is the price for being "Linked In"... most of these companies are rather unconventional business models. They generally do not charge users for their services, unless you consider that your privacy is the ticket price for the show.
    • And you can't realistically legislate against it with privacy laws, that can do no more than say "now be nice with that valuable sensitive personally identifying information, y'hear?!?"

      Sure you can. Just put some teeth behind privacy policy violation. If a company says it will do one thing and does something else, penalize it. Defining appropriate (and scalable) penalties would require some thought; you need to make sure that it will hurt no matter how big the company is, and you also need to ensure that companies don't get slammed for the actions of one malicious or negligent employee, but that they do get smacked if there's evidence of a pattern of encouraging or even tolerating such em

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Alchemists throughout history have been trying to make gold from lead, not generating it.

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Friday May 24, 2013 @06:18AM (#43810807) Homepage
    There's an alchemy joke in there somewhere, and Dog knows the world needs more of those.
  • Not that Twitter doesn't have the right to do this, but it's not cool. This is good for big money and bad for the consumer, and that's exactly why it got posted at the Dictator's Handbook forum: it's a Dick Move.

    I use Twitter begrudgingly, but this really turns me off. Maybe I'm a grumpy old bastard but I remember an Internet that wasn't just some huge info-gathering and sales pitch scheme. This new internet sucks and I wish I could turn it off but I'm addicted to it :)

    • I have several "tech industry sites" I signed up for because they are relevant to my work. It's not enough that they

      • It's not enough that they are basically spam... that went from weekly, to daily, to several times a day....but at least they were relevant spam. Then they started having "white papers" (with spam) that are clearly adver-blogging...

        What seems similar to this and Twitter is that they started cold-calling whenever you opened a "white paper".. And they'd reference tat you were interested in blah blah white paper... So you must want to buy stuff. I'm probably one more call away from "unsubscribe" and turning on

  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Friday May 24, 2013 @06:25AM (#43810835)
    and I've tried to keep 555-1212 private for so long...
    • My phone number is copyrighted. If they pull tricks like this, I'll send them a DMCA notice.

    • by six025 ( 714064 )

      and I've tried to keep 555-1212 private for so long...

      Jenny 8675309 says this is not a new problem!

  • Delete your history (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zebedeu ( 739988 ) on Friday May 24, 2013 @07:10AM (#43810961)

    I've often wondered about deleting all of my social networking messages older than [$time_frame], say 6 months.
    Social networking like Twitter and Facebook is usually very time-critical: you post something relevant for the moment, but that doesn't really make sense to store for very long (unlike, say, a blog post).
    After a few days your post will be so far down your contacts' streams that it will probably never be seen again by a human anyway.

    So why leave it up for machines to harvest your data? Why keep posts you did when you were younger and which could possibly be embarrassing later? Why leave open the possibility that through some security failure or site policy change your data suddenly becomes public?

    The problem is doing the deleting itself. Going over each post and deleting them manually is a bore.
    Facebook, G+ and Twitter are obviously not going to help you automate it -- they'd rather keep your data.
    What we need is plugin or site like [] but which has a cutoff point instead of simply deleting everything. I wonder how long such a site would survive, particularly if it became popular.

    Then there's the question if you'd trust a third party with that amount of access to your profile.

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Someone is always archiving data like :P

      • by Zebedeu ( 739988 )

        Not if your profile isn't public

        • by antdude ( 79039 )

          If private, then companies and related ones will probably still have the data in their backups. Even if deleted, they probably still have them somewhere. :(

  • Could be Facebook's new moneymaking scheme.


    Could be raining: []

  • Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Flickr should be services which use personal data controlled by their own users. If we controlled our own tweets, posts, pictures, and connected them to our friends via interoperable services, then once service providers pull a fast one, we could pull up stakes and go to the next one.

    Look into the prototypical Tent project for a vision of the future.

  • by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Friday May 24, 2013 @08:03AM (#43811143)
    That's a story as old as the hills
  • There weren't enough reasons to avoid social networking.
  • 'Cause then I could turn gold into lead.

  • There are two types of tech companies. Those who make money by selling you a service or product you pay for directly - an IDE company, a programming company, a game company- and those who sell your personal data to companies =tech and otherwise -who are the first kind of company.

    If you didn't pay for it, then you're being sold in some way as a lead . FB, Google, Huffpo, slashdot, all these companies run on some combination of eyeballs (advertising) and personal information selling.

  • A great man once said, "By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself." His name was Bill Hicks.
  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:03AM (#43811971)

    I suppose you can use it in batteries, for UPS and cars etc. (I just bought a battery for the mower, it was nearly half the price of what I paid for the mower in the first place.)

    But it would be better if you could generate Lithium

  • One of the reasons I don't fear The Omnipotent Facebook is due to their inability to serve up a single ad that is of interest to me. I've been on FB for three years, I post content and links a few times a day, both from a PC and mobile. I live in a city of two million, 'check in' here and there and have a network if probably 100 friends. Yet FB is completely incapable of serving up a single ad that I might click. Ever.
  • They've already mastered the ability to generate energetic CO2 in large quanitites. It seems they're starting to move up in the world.

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."