“Do you recognize this woman? We do…”
They say privacy is dead. Well if that’s the case, this is what they’re playing at the funeral.
Conversant is a consumer research company that tracks millions of people on the internet. Then, they package all of that data for advertisers and media companies.
Sounds pretty simple, right?
Well, here’s the company’s pitch video to major advertisers, brands, and media companies (i.e., their prospective clients).
Please note: this isn’t a joke, it’s a real video, also available on conversantmedia.com.
Of course, this is all anonymous… right?
Conversant claims that they track everything anonymously by assigning everyone a unique identifier. Which means that you are a uniquely identifiable number, one that is constantly tracked for years. And this is happening both online and off. On your computer, phone, and a bunch of other devices.
Then, you’re targeted based on thousands of different data points. That includes your consumption patterns, location, salary, and even when you go online.
Here’s how the company describes it on their site:
“Our understanding of consumers is built from the anonymized transactional data (both online and off) of more than 4,000 retailers. And the depth and breadth of our IDs continue to grow as we observe over 80 billion online interactions every day, across every device.
“That’s millions of verified IDs. They’re completely anonymous, scrubbed of all personally identifiable information. And they last a lifetime, so your conversation with each consumer never misses a beat.”
So they know everything about you… except your name.
Or so they say.
Now here’s where the pitch gets truly scary.
This goes to an even darker place. Because after a certain amount of data is collected, advertisers know more about you than you know about yourself. They can actually predict what you are likely to purchase — and when — before you’ve even thought about it. And that makes the data even more valuable.
Here’s how Conversant puts it.
“We know consumers better than they know themselves.
“We track over 1 million online actions per second to build each profile across more than 7,000 dimensions—including web browsing, app usage, video plays, email activity, cross-screen engagement, life events, hobbies, ad interactions and product interests.
“All in all, they’re the most complex consumer profiles ever built, allowing you to really get to know your customers and grow your relationship with them over their lifetime.”
Feel better now?
So how did we find this video?
Here’s where this gets even more interesting.
Conversant appears to be contracted by one of the largest YouTube stream-rippers in the world. The site, listentoyoutube.com, lists Conversant as a partner (which led us to this video). Which means that listentoyoutube.com is probably dropping dozens of cookies and trackers on every user. All of which adds to the your file.
Just recently, the RIAA, IFPI, and other music industry trade organizations declared war on YouTube stream-rippers. And part of the reason is that they’re making money off of YouTube conversions — and boosting their revenue by tracking every single user that passes through.
Because knowing your every move is worth a lot of money.