App Takers: Collecting Your Data Without Notice

Hello digital mavens! How many apps are currently on your smartphone? Which are your favorite apps? and I assume that we all have at least 10 or more apps in our phones regardless if we use them all  or not. “The average smartphone user in South Korea has downloaded 50 apps, which is the highest number in the world and well above the global average of 25 downloads” (Fox. Zoe) That number is impressive, chime in and comment below with your total number of apps stored in your phone. These apps are for consumers to perform different tasks, in a cool new way. Just at your fingertips you can do almost anything on your smartphones, but theres always a catch. You may think all of these apps are simple tool created just for you but in reality we are helping drive the business of data and results for various of companies, without us even knowing it.

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Well guess what, many apps store personal details about you and your smartphone. From the phone number, your age, your gender, your name, your current location and even an identification number that can be use to track you. All of these phones really don’t keep secrets especially when you download and an app and sign up.

ImageCertain apps share your personal data to a variety of sources. “In the world of mobile, there is no anonymity,” says Michael Becker of the Mobile Marketing Association, an industry trade group. A cellphone is “always with us. It’s always on.” Just because you are not using your app, doesn’t mean its still not collecting any data from you. Many apps have gps signals stored in them which stays on until you actually turn off your cellphone, but in reality how many of us really turn off our phones. I know I don’t.

 

“Smartphone users are all but powerless to limit the tracking. With few exceptions, app users can’t “opt out” of phone tracking, as is possible, in limited form, on regular computers. On computers it is also possible to block or delete “cookies,” which are tiny tracking files. These techniques generally don’t work on cellphone apps.” (WSJ) Keep in mind that the fun with the apps we download can come back and bite us. Although it is really sad how companies use it computers for data without even letting us know they are.

We all go throughout our day using our apps because its convenient of us, if helps us navigate through clues, it keeps us entertained and it inform us of various things.As a consumer of over 15 apps I believe we have a right to what compainaes and people behind apps use with the data we enter. Hopefully one day all of this can change with a simple notice when joining the apps.

Do you all think its fair that apps can collect data from us without even informing us?

Comment below and share you opinion on the matter of: App Takers: Collecting Your Data Without Notice  
Until next time… digital mavens!

 

Kwasi K

 

References

Thurm, Scott. Kane Iwatani Yukari. “Your Apps Are Watching You” The Wall Street

Journal 31 July 2008: A15. ProQuest Newspapers. Web. 17 Dec. 2010. | http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704694004576020083703574602

 

Fox, Zoe. “The Average Smartphone User Downloads 25 Apps.” Mashable. Article 05 Sep 2013 | http://mashable.com/2013/09/05/most-apps-download-countries/

 

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HUDWAY

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Do you like driving?  What about then theconditions are foggy and you cannot see ten feet ahead of you, or you are driving in a place you have never been before.  The latest, safest technology in GPS is allows you to mark the path you want to take and it project you path on your windshield via yoursmart phone.  It’s not a new device, you don’t have to install a projector. All you have to do is download an app.

 

 Hudway’s marketing plan is to point out the dangers of driving in dark, or dangerous conditions.  There are quotes on their Hudway website stating “Everyday in the world 350 people die due to low visibility conditions on the road.” (according to the world health organization)  The app allows drivers to focus on the road and not have to translate a smooth talking voice or figure out a symbolic map that shifts on your screen as you make a turn.  The route isright in front of you on your window, so you never really have to take your eyes off the road to see where you should go next, or what the road looks like 10 feet ahead of you.  Hudway’s claim is that this form of GPS is safer than other forms of GPS.  It does not distract drivers as other devices do by having to take your eyes off the road to look at your route.  All you need to make this work is a smart phone and a dashboard.  It does not need to be connected to internet to continue working either.

This app will be available to apple phones now, and for Androids February 2014!  FOR FREE.  This augmented view of GPS allows for a safer way to travel.  Not just where to go is projected.  The speed, distance and possible dangerous driving situations or turns are also projected.  If the device considers a particular part of the route dangerous the projection changes color to red to inform the driver, and the driver can then keep both hands on the wheel and be prepared for the driving conditions ahead.

HUDway stands for Heads-up-driving.  You never have to look down or take your eyes off your target viewpoint while driving.

Possible cons- One might think that a driver could start to focus on the projection on the windshield instead of looking through the windshield at the road.  If this is the case the drivers could possibly be in more danger, or be putting others in danger.  Another con might be the cars that don’t have the same dashboard lay out as a sedan.  For example most Jeeps have a short dashboardand a more vertical windshield, given this information would the display directions the same or even be able to be reflected on the windshield.  What if you don’t have an I-phone or a smartphone for that matter.  You are yet again excluded from this new technology.  All these cons however are consumer choices and if the consumer wanted to use this app it would be as “easy” as changing the car you drive of buying a new phone.  Personally I don’t think this technology is important enough to spend $30,000 dollars on a new phone just to use to a free app.  But to each his own.

Being a road trip fan, I can’t wait to try this out and see if it really is useful or if the advertising is just doing it’s job.

Advertisers exploit children’s apps to increase profit

By Matt Gillis

The field of advertising is no stranger to controversy. From the use of sexuality to the introduction of false claims to attract consumer attention, advertisements border the line of inappropriate in order to stand out in the cluttered marketplace. However, more recently, companies have found themselves crossing that thin line by targeting children with advertisements containing mature subject matters.

Even with the development of consumer-focused advertising using the tools of data mining research, some advertising companies have still found themselves struggling to reach their intended target market.

An advertisement for Vype, an electronic cigarette brand created by the British American Tobacco (BAT) company, was recently featured as a banner message on the children’s iPad application, My Dog My Style HD. After BAT was notified of the seemingly inappropriate advertisement placement via their corporate Twitter account, the corporation removed the online message and apologized, stating, “We’ve investigated and found a breach of protocols by third party used by ad agency. It’s unacceptable and we’re taking the issue seriously.”

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While the company admits that the advertisement placement was not purposefully intended, researchers admit that the problem stems from the struggle to gain revenue in the development of children’s applications. These advertising networks hired to fill the developer’s display spaces are failing to secure the filters, which causes inappropriate advertisement placement, in order to redeem their costs within the children’s application market. Parents are usually only willing to download free children’s applications, leaving advertisers no choice but to install banner messages within the applications that aim to achieve in-application purchases to produce necessary revenue.

Because these networks are motivated by profit, they aim to gain as much exposure as possible for their advertisements, leading to their neglect in filtering out the inappropriate content in children’s applications. As a solution, companies including UK’s SuperAwesome, are attempting to develop advertising networks made up of children-appropriate brands to be used in children’s applications, television programs and magazines.

While the motivation behind this act of exploiting children’s applications to garner attention and make a profit mimics that of all advertising initiatives, this abuse of resources has the potential to create a negative brand image for the company featured in the advertisement.

So instead of advertising nicotine to children, I think companies should put their time and effort into making use of data mining and consumer targeting to more appropriately reach their target audiences. While some people find the placement of this e-cigarette advertisement on the My Dog My Style HD application to be controversial, from an advertiser’s perspective, I find this to be a waste BAT’s time and money.

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Reference list:

–       Dredge, S. (2013, October 28). British American Tobacco apologises for advertising e-cigarette in kids’ app. The Guardian. Retrieved October 28, 2013, from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/oct/28/british-american-tobacco-apologises-for-advertising-e-cigarette-in-kids-app

 

–       Lawrence, N. (2013, October 25). Should advertising for e-cigarettes be more tightly regulated?. The Guardian. Retrieved October 28, 2013, from http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/25/should-advertising-for-e-cigarettes-be-more-tightly-regulated

Mobile Ads Pose Problems

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This is a scene many of us have lived out before. Whether on purpose, or more likely an accidental brush of a finger, you click and an ad begins to load. And load. But wait! First it needs to switch over to a web browser and load some more. At this point, you most likely sigh and close out of the ad to go about your business. As it turns out, you definitely aren’t alone.

A new study from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business reveals what may seem obvious to many: mobile ads are significantly less effective than traditional online advertising. Participants gave various reasons for preferring online ads to mobile ones, from screen size to convenience. At least 70% answered that they simply didn’t notice ads as they were too busy doing something else on their mobile device.

These findings come as little shock to many, including Sunil Gupta who wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review in March 2013 on this very topic. In his article, he stresses screen size as one of the most important factors in advertising effectiveness. If you can’t read the ad, he argues, you aren’t going to be very influenced by it. He too was concerned by the inconvenience caused by clicking (sometimes accidentally) on mobile ads. In the recent Dartmouth study, 69% of participants said it was a hassle to “return to the original position” after being redirected by an ad.

However, Gupta suggests a solution to this problem: apps instead of mobile ads. Trying to fit traditional banner ads into mobile screens is just not going to be effective. Where advertisers should turn instead, he argues, is to app development. They are more cost-effective and potentially more effective because many consumers see them as less intrusive than traditional advertising. Additionally, users spend significantly more time using apps than web browsers when on mobile devices, so companies’ focusing solely on banners ads just doesn’t make sense.

Gupta is quick to suggest that just creating more apps is not enough. Already there is a huge market for apps, and smartphone users typically only download around 40, and of those only regularly use 15. In solution, Gupta offers five strategies for success to help companies looking to get into app-based advertising: offering convenience, unique value, social value, incentives, and entertainment.

            While none of the findings of this study are shocking, they do offer an interesting insight into mobile consumers’ experience. There are some issues than can potentially be fixed by advances in technology, like slow loading times and internet access issues. However, the onus is primarily on advertisers to innovate and reach out to consumers.