In light of the recent brouhaha at Facebook, we thought we’d take this opportunity to present our position on customer data, tracking, and predictive advertising techniques.
We are not tracking you.
We gave it a shot, back in the day, and we quickly confirmed our bias about book people. You are eclectic, unpredictable, and capricious. You’ll go from true love to climate change to murder mystery to yoga – and trying to predict what kind of book you’ll like next is pointless because you like them all. You like books. You’re book people. Even books you don’t want to read you want to read about. You’re insatiably curious and constantly changing. What you looked at yesterday is… so yesterday.
So instead, we pay attention to what you’re looking at right now, and base our suggestions on that book. This keeps you from getting trapped in a bubble, saves us from having to build a login system for readers, and possibly makes the web a happier place in some small way.
We collect data only in aggregate – X number of visitors clicked this, for example. People who looked at this also looked at that. Nothing that identifies you personally. The “My List” feature works by placing a cookie on your device. So we know that device has been here before, but nothing about you, or even what kind of device this is….
It’s like we know you but not specifically. You are at once a dear friend and a complete stranger. You’re a metaphorical quantum particle, and trying to match you to an algorithm is like trying to organize cats: It accomplishes nothing and annoys the cats.
Various web services we partner with do track you, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple, et al. Again, we receive only aggregate data from these services, nothing that identifies you specifically. So anyway…
Nope, not tracking you. Not building a psycho-graphic profile, not clocking attention with cursor coordinates, and definitely not asking Facebook to check for referral pages. Relax. Click like nobody’s watching! Surf with wild abandon! But do look around first – make sure no one is standing behind you.