McDonalds accused of mining user data
McDonald’s, Microsoft and a host of other multinational companies have all been accused of misusing personal information gathered during marketing campaigns, it has been reported.
McDonald’s, Microsoft accused of ad data mining in Federal class action
Friday, December 31 2010 by Steve Swallow
McDonald’s and a host of other high profile companies have been accused of mining user data gathered through internet adverts, to support unpopular behavioural marketing campaigns.
The fast food multinational is facing accusations outlined in a class action submitted to a US Federal Court alongside CBS, Mazda and Microsoft, for the alleged misappropriate use of personal information and interfering with the operation of computers, reports Courthouse News.
These allegations have proved even more significant due to their appearance in the news during the same week that USA Today and Gallup published the findings of a new survey, in which two-thirds of US internet users revealed their opposition to targeted online adverts based on interests and sites they have visited in the past.
Further demonstrating their opposition, users would be only slightly more sympathetic if they were offered access to free content in exchange for allowing their personal browsing information to be used in this way.
The claims against McDonald’s, Microsoft and others all concern activities “in concert” with internet advertising agency Interclick, which is not a defendant in the case.
According to Courthouse News, the complaint states: “Interclick augmented its profile database with individual-level information it acquired from defendants in the process of optimizing and measuring the success of advertising campaigns.
“For example, defendants and Interclick cooperated to identify [which] consumers are ‘hand raisers’ who clicked on an advertisement to visit the advertiser’s website, register to enter the advertisers’ sweepstakes or play online games, or make purchases.”
There are also specific examples of where each company is supposed to have carried out data mining. In the case of McDonald’s data was collected through its online World Cup-theme game, while Microsoft made use of data during a seven-month campaign promoting its Windows Smartphone.
The treatment of this class action by the Federal Court will no doubt be watched closely by internet marketing consultants and other online advertising professionals with interest – as the outcome may have significant implications for the future of behaviourally targeted advertising, which has already proved itself a sensitive topic.
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