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MySpace Pt. 5 – tracking sequel

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Friday June 2, 2006 )

Tish’s harmless prank also provided an important lesson for marketers bear in mind – MySpace members may appear to reveal a lot about themselves on their pages, but there is a line that many of them don’t wish for others to cross.

Again, I think it was a very good move by the MySpace team to ban/block 3rd party tracking applications – there’s just way too many “interesting” people out there that could cause havoc with access to that kind of information. “Interesting” not only includes some MySpace members, but the third party services supplying these applications who would also have access to the same data – and that’s equally as frightening.

Just a word of warning though – not all social networking services have the same policies as MySpace. There’s quite a few packages/services out there now in use which include this feature, so if you’re concerned about your privacy, check out the features of any social networking site carefully before signing up.

Related:

More posts on MySpace and social networking

Free MySpace layout generator

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The MySpace Profile Tracker issue continues to stir up all sorts of reactions, from those who fruitlessly seek such an application, to striking fear in the hearts of those who feel they may be tracked.

Given the reaction to my writings on the subject, I was mistakenly under the impression that the vast majority of MySpace members were really eager to lay their hands on a tracker; i.e. an application that will show them the member IDs of people visiting their profile. Even after reading my post on the subject of trackers, where I stated that:

a) most of these trackers are scams or worse
b) even if there are authentic trackers out there, MySpace’s policy is to block 3rd party trackers and terminate the accounts of anyone trying to use one.
c) the possible negative implications of such an application if it were available

.. I still had people asking me where they can find one :). I’ve also seen posts in the MySpace forums practically begging Tom and his team to allow these services.

But, there is definitely a flip side – some MySpacers have certainly thought through the implications of that level of tracking.

A fellow MySpacer I’ve been communicating with lately, Tish , who uses MySpace partly to promote her music career, decided to play a joke on her network of fans and friends.

Tish sent a tongue-in-cheek bulletin out to her network saying she was now using a profile tracker. The reaction was far from what she expected; the essence of the joke was lost. Tish tells me that shortly after posting that bulletin, her profile became a cyber-Siberia – no-one was visiting. Tish had to send out another bulletin to let people know she was just kidding.

By the way, Tish is an awesome bassist and a pretty darned good singer/songwriter too – check out “Never Been Better” – and rest assured she doesn’t actually have one of these fabled trackers :).

This just goes to show that MySpacers aren’t all devil-may-care types who don’t think about the implications of that level of tracking. There’s definitely a segment of users who care about their privacy and take steps to protect it.

Tish’s harmless prank also provided an important lesson for marketers bear in mind – MySpace members may appear to reveal a lot about themselves on their pages, but there is a line that many of them don’t wish for others to cross.

Again, I think it was a very good move by the MySpace team to ban/block 3rd party tracking applications – there’s just way too many “interesting” people out there that could cause havoc with access to that kind of information. “Interesting” not only includes some MySpace members, but the third party services supplying these applications who would also have access to the same data – and that’s equally as frightening.

Just a word of warning though – not all social networking services have the same policies as MySpace. There’s quite a few packages/services out there now in use which include this feature, so if you’re concerned about your privacy, check out the features of any social networking site carefully before signing up.

Related:

More posts on MySpace and social networking

Free MySpace layout generator



 

 
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