The Importance of Collecting Mobile Phone Data

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Mobile phones are a perfect vehicle for collecting data. They are cheap and they are pervasive. Even though most mobile phone users hate digital ads, these same ads pay for the free applications that users love so much. One of the most successful advertising companies is AdMob for which Google paid $750 million for in 2010. Not all of these types of companies are doing so well. Microsoft had to take a writedown of $6.2 billion in 2007 for aQuantive which it purchased for $6.3 billion (Economist, 2012).

Companies that use third party advertisers have to be prudent and thoughtful. Moonbeam Development a company that has about 200 applications were using LeadBolt. Initially it went well but when ads were pushed into users’ notification bars onto phones users were very angry which led to death threats. Leadbolt was apologetic and mentioned that users can avoid this by electing to remove this option by browsing to their website. Using advertising and or using third party marketers can lead a company into to a very precarious position.

Companies are recognizing the fact that rules dictating Personal Information Identification are eminent. App privacy policies should be explicit concerning the information they are collecting and why. Phone numbers and email addresses should be elected to collect but avoid collecting unique phone identification numbers for tracking purposes.

It’s also not uncommon for apps to collect and track website usage. Google scans email and Facebook collects Likes and Dislikes and displays them to Friends. Email contacts are also collected and used in the case of Path; they received backlash for that (Johnston, 2012). Collecting the correct information for marketers’ partners is an art. They have to know what information is needed for each customer. A great example of this process is used by a company called Text to Change. They will sit down with the stakeholders to arrive at a detailed list of data requirements to fit the needs of the organization (Wagenar, 2012).

If I had to acquire personal information, I would collect: address, web browsing history, email address and videos watched. This information, for example, can be used to locate a best place to open a particular type of store, which area might get most foot traffic or car traffic. In addition, it can also reveal if they own pets, Likes and Dislikes and as a result how to focus ads (Goldman, 2011). As a said earlier in this report, mobile phones are everywhere and used by many, i.e. there are 4.8 billion mobile phones in use today; it’s foolish not to take advantage of this (Turner, 2011).

References

Economist. (2012). Attack of the Covert Commercials. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/node/21558272

Goldman, D. (2011). Your Phone Company is Selling Your Personal Data. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2011/11/01/technology/verizon_att_sprint_tmobile_privacy/index.htm

Johnston, C. (2012). Mobile Phone Users are Mistaken. Retrieved from http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/07/mobile-phone-users-sorely-mistaken-about-how-much-privacy-they-have/

Turner, J. (2011). Are there really More Mobile Phones Than Toothbrushes? Retrieved from http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2011/10/18/more-mobile-phones-than-toothbrushes/

Wagenar, M. (2012). Data Collection Using Mobile Phones. Retrieved from http://www.texttochange.org/blog/data-collection-using-mobile-phones-right-tool-job

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