Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website www.lenoreskomal.net.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: February 21st, 2013
Are there two Internets?

It’s always creeped me out after I’ve done an Internet search on a product, to have links and advertising appear for that exact same product on my Google Chrome email page just seconds later. I conceptually understand this, but I now have a better grasp of how it all works thanks to a recent article in Scientific American article.

The reporter discusses how the data farmed from using the Internet is used in what services and products are marketed to which users. It’s no secret that our web profiles are developed with every keystroke we make online–our preferences and proclivities, our tastes and even incomes levels all factor into what is marketed to us and, whether, arguably, we’re worth the trouble of marketing to at all.

Pricing optimization, based on your web habits, such as buying history, how often you visit certain sites, your tendency to purchase based on price points, is now a science. For years, according to the piece, e-commerce sites have used these preferences in determining pricing of products and services. The Internet has become a breeding ground for a plethora of marketing data that everyone wanting to sell something is taking advantage of.

None of this is new information, but the article goes on to examine whether this actually sets up two Internets–one for the rich and one for the poor–each segment getting different offers and pricing options based on their personal data–for essentially the same goods and services.

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