RE: Someone please tell me why is worth $40 million in funding?

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From: Mike Masnick (
Date: Thu May 04 2000 - 19:16:30 PDT

I'm familiar with PRIZM and other psychographic and geographic profiling
systems, and I don't consider that valuable data for "highly targetted"
promotions... In general they give you some idea of the people your
shooting at, but it's still a pretty weak crap shoot. Most of those
systems, on their own, are close to useless (though, this does depend on
what you're trying to sell or promote). When combined with other sources
of info they can help somewhat, but you're still taking a lot of guesses,
and you're going to be wrong many more times than you're right.

Valuable data has to be much much much more specific to the individual
you're targeting. The single data point (where you live) doesn't give you
nearly enough info to do really targetted promotions. I've spoken with
people who do profiling and they'll admit how weak a lot of data is if it's
not specific to that person (i.e. exact buying patterns of *that* person).

Besides, if knowing our address was such a valuable piece of data, wouldn't
Amazon be profitable by now? Hell, they know my address *and* what I read,
and yet their "highly targeted" promotions don't hit home very often.


At 05:10 PM 5/4/00 -0700, Nicolas Popp wrote:
>First, I am reasonably guessing here. I don't know the real specifics about
>this company.
>I don't even know what kind of profiling info they require from you (I would
>expect them to ask for specific demographic info as well). It is just a
>typical business model when you give things away.
>As far as "tell me where you live and I will tell you who you are", try
>and see for yourself...
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Mike Masnick []
>Sent: Thursday, May 04, 2000 4:56 PM
>To: Nicolas Popp; 'B.K. DeLong '; 'Adam Rifkin -4K '; 'FoRK@XeNT.CoM'
>Cc: ' '
>Subject: RE: Someone please tell me why is worth $40
>million in funding?
>At 12:38 AM 5/4/00 -0700, Nicolas Popp wrote:
>>They are getting your true personal identity in exchange for free pictures
>>development (cannot lie to have your pictures sent to the right address).
>>That's very valuable info.
>Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see how that's particularly
>valuable. They find out your address. So what?
>>Once they have nailed your exact consumer profile, they can monetize it
>>through highly targeted advertising...
>Okay, I can't tell if you're serious or joking with that sentence. We have
>a rule at my company which is that we're not allowed to use "monetize". I
>think it's one (of many) of the more overhyped terms that's used today that
>doesn't really have a meaning. Any time anyone suggests that word, we dig
>down to see what they really mean, and use that explanation. "Monetize"
>doesn't mean anything - in fact, it often means "we'll figure it out later"
>which is just as good as saying "we won't do a damn thing with our data".
>As for the "highly targeted advertising" see my comments above... Do they
>have any more info than your address (and possibly what you like to take
>snapshots of)? That's not highly targetted.
> -Mike

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