posted Feb 28, 2001

Telemarketing tracking Personal Commentary2/28/2001; 12:34:46 PM I got another telemarketer phone call yesterday. Started out by asking for "Mark somebody-or-other", whereby I told them there is no person by that name here. They confirmed my number... then started into their speil anyhow! This made the "This is a courtesy call" part particularly amusing... a courtesy call when you don't even know who I am?(Side question: Can anybody tell me what a courtesy call is supposed to mean? A courtesy call that your dry cleaning is done? That your insurance is about to lapse due to the fact we haven't received payment? Or has it always been a euphemism for "We'd like to sell you something now?")Anyhow, it made me wonder. What with all of this tracking and targetting that advertisers want to do and are doing, why can't they add one more field: "Does not respond to advertising"? Why can't they link to my profile the phrase "does not buy stuff from people who call unsolicited", or "does not purchase from junk mail"? Not only does it benefit me, but it will benefit them, saving them the time that it takes to call me (and get hung up on). Same goes online. I haven't clicked on an ad in weeks. Why doesn't Doubleclick notice and start shipping me blank images? They don't lose anything, in fact, they gain some (relatively exprensive) bandwidth back, 'cause I'm not going to click anyhow!And the indirect benefits of such a scheme would go even further. The people (like me) who are simply annoyed and won't buy, ever, are also the ones forming groups to try to get legal limits on this stuff and pushing the opt-in schemes the advertisers hate so much. If they'd just track a little more intelligently and stop serving us so much crap, maybe we'd stop organizing and antagonizing for limits. If tracking of this kind benefited me and others directly, perhaps fewer of us would object to advertisers tracking us. (There's still a lot of other kinds of tracking to object to, though.)Internet ads would not disappear even if they were to mark me as "does not buy from ads"... the "branding" ads would still be sold and viewed. But phone calls and junk mail really only have value in whether or not I buy from them... and I don't.


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