We Know Where You Live

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Forbes:

“Another potential use is for e-tailers that want to customize their home pages to different users. “The Gap’s front page shouldn’t advertise winter coats to people in Miami,” says Sanjay Parekh, founder of Digital Envoy.”

Assuming you know what people want based on where they are is usually over-simplistic. Does Sanjay Parekh realize that people in Miami have a right to plan a snowboarding vacation? Some English-written sites will insist on serving me French banner ads, I guess based on the settings of my browser. Guys, if I wanted to waste my time on our backward sites, I wouldn’t be reading foreign ones in the first place.

Provided you guess it right (Lycos repeatedly took my French browser by force to their German site, a very unAmerican thing to do historically speaking!), the context of place or language might be useful to advertisers, but I think it’s over-rated, at least until there’s more integration between the online and offline worlds. UK retailer Tesco serves its customers from its local retail outlets, so they might have more legitimate reasons to do local ads on the web. Not without the users agreement of course, I didn’t try to address privacy issues here.

BTW, if anyone from Forbes is listening, it’s high time you stopped using future dates on your articles, it was silly on paper but it’s even more nonsensical on the web. 11/13/00? We’re in October.

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