Amazon again and the tip of a very very big iceberg of hidden personal data usage

Interesting article from Rory CJ on BBC news about the Amazon move around Amazon Prime.  Today Amazon prime offers free delivery and getting things faster for a fixed fee per year.  Its not perfect, many of the things on prime cost more and many things are not available on prime.  They also slid under the wire at not extra charge the inclusion of Kindle lending library if you were a Kindle user, its a pretty poor service, previous comments on Kindle interface previously posted.

So Amazon have now said that you get unlimited streaming of films etc for the all new price of £79 a 60% hike in the annual fee.  Well no thanks Amazon!!!!!

Given they should know quite  lot about me, where I live, what I buy and how many times I am able to invoke Prime, they should be able to work out, coupled with their endless propensity models and external insight resources the following

  • I won’t be able to use streaming due to digital exclusion derived from totally crap broadband speeds in my area, which are unlikely to fixed anytime soon either via fixed line or 4G
  • I am not lazy consumer who just renews so I am likely to simply cancel prime
  • I do not use the lending library service because it is rubbish

So why does an organisation one of the current group of digital data barons want to make this move.  Well lets think about it

  • They want more data about me, my viewing habits, what I watch, what I search for, how long I watch things for
  • They want to combine this data with the other data they have to monetise it in one or more ways
    • By improving offers and targetting my search and pricing to nudge me to buy more
    • By offering the insights for  a fee to those merchants who use their platform to sell to me
    • To sell insight about me to non competiting organisations to generate increased revenue for them
    • To demonstrate insight depth to those seeking distribution channels and showing why they are the best channel because they know so much about me as a real person unlike lets say the other data barons who make money out of my personal data Google, Facebook and Apple to name just three.

The reality is making money out of selling things to me conveniently and easily is just the top of an iceberg of monetisation of me as an individual. The injustice is I am the mechanical turk feeding their machine in return for nothing of value from the monetisation of my life and my personal data.  They have not explained the commercial model.  Unless you really think about you are blind to what is going on.

I am not empowered or informed, I do not even have equal access to the data I provide, Amazon do not offer the ability for me to download or collect my profile, transaction, preference and search data and store it myself in what are being called personal data stores.  Amazon like the rest of them see the data as theirs an asset class which makes them money and they see me as a free worker who feeds their machine.  See how much is being invested by the World Economic Forum in this subject a group with strong corporate backers, who are shaping the world, its a central subject the legendary Davos inner circle this year.

Worse still they make the data available to people who write apps or provide services, they make money out of me whilst keeping me in digital servitude

Amazon are not alone, this is what organisations have been doing for years its just gone globale, Personal Data is being described as the new asset class the new oil and unlike oil is limitless.

The old guard, the mobile network operators the banks, the utilities and the traditional B2C retailers and service providers are now being faced with an onslaught and attack in their own sectors by what Aral Balkan calls Digital Data Barons who are prepetrating digital feudalism on society as a whole and each individual.  Personal data itself, in all its forms the analysis of it, the use of it, the sharing of it.

These organisations provide largely free services or well designed services (not all of them) or low cost services to individual human beings in return for their data, behaviours searches, preferences, intentions, transactions and profiles.  The new world order where the individual is being enslaved to feed their machines blindly participating in data capture is happening everywhere, you only have to see how Open Data initiatives wants to consume personal data to deliver actionable insight, that the NHS in England want to give away our medical records to the all manner of organisations for “research” to cure cancer and solve countless worthy purposes but they are hiding the monestisation and there is not offer or engagement with the population scale personal data harvesting.  You can opt our but they make it hard, if it was not for organisations like Medconfidential working hard to keep our personal health information private without our formal consent it would simply be happening to us blindly.

Privacy, control, consent and engagement in use of personal data is a fundamental human right, it needs to be enshrined in laws that work and we all need tools to help us have that control.  Verified personal data about it is very very valuable it allows you to get things done on line that you cannot do easily today with forms and paperwork going by post or in person

Having the ability to collect it, manage it, analyse it and share it with who you want and to keep track of it is a core requirement for managing ones own life on and off line, the tools on offer from the usual old guard and the data barons make some things convenient but they never solve your longer term challenges they are simple data collection tools and harvesting models, they never really empower you.

So you need tools of your own, where the people who provide them do so to help you and only you and that poses a set of challenges commercial and government organisations and most third sector organisations do not want to take on as it is hard to see how empowering you helps them and at best they only want a thin deep slice or a broad shallow slice of your life so there you are stuck in the middle blindly participating surrounded by your data but with no real use or utility derived from it.

Data Data everywhere but not a drop of information or empowerment


More customer service failures

You would think trying to open a bank account and deposit money would be easy but no. You can go the Alliance and Leicester website, loads of information about how good the service is, how much you will save and what the benfits of the service are, but you cannot apply on line or download any forms you have to speak to someone!!!.  Well after holding for an hour and three attempts you finally get to speak to someone who is very helpful and says they will send the forms.

The thing is I did this three days ago and the forms never arrived, so here we are trying to deposit money and open a new bank account and the customer facing processes are stalling the business from acquiring customers. to make matters worse the music on hold and the swee talking voice of the on hold system tells you that you can download the forms from the website but they are no where to be found.  When you speak to your vey capable customer representative he tells you that the forms are no longer there and they have repeatedly asked their marketing people to change the message.

What’s this all cost British businesses. The government have added a notional value to peoples time spent wasted in process at about an average of £13 an hour.  do the maths if there is this level of latency in the system for one person what does it all add up to for British business and lets not assume we are the worst in the world, so its in the trillions basically

Some companies just get it so wrong Home Counties Pub Restuarants

It never ceases to disappointment how so many companies make poor decisions about the customer relationships. We have seen it with people like Egg and there culling of card members who did not run up debts and paid of their accounts every month. They tried to suggest it was because they had reviewed their risk profile, implying people were too high a risk, instead of the truth of being no risk at all.  They scored a bad own goal and were royally chastised everywhere including the house of commons and a few legal letters to boot.

On a lesser basis we see it happening all the time. just look at the letter below to Home Counties Pub Restaurants in response to letter they sent out to customer who hold a loyalty discount card.  simply appalling.  When will people learn.

Dear Mr Price

I am receipt of your letter today, it is undated and I think tells me that Bluebeckers and Edwinns have been sold, but not sure. I think the real purpose of the letter is to tell me as of the 1st of October 2010 some 20 days ago you changed the terms of your Gold Card scheme which in effect renders it completely useless to me and my family given our location.

As someone who has made a successful business out of advising clients on customer relationships amongst other things I am frankly disappointed in your approach for the following reasons
  1. The letter relates to something that happended 20 days ago – a little bit late don’t you think
  2. It does not say who Graham Price is
  3. Your approach is in my opinion full of spin and diversion to mask your true intent which is to render the cards useless
    1. It be better to have said it as a scheme is no long economically viable and thank me for my custom and express a desire that we would keep on coming to your establishment
  4. If I wished to be cynical I could imagine you did some data analysis discovered which of your restuarants had no gold card holders living near by and selected those for the scheme to remain active in with no fear of you being hit with discount request.
    1. I hope you have not sent different letters to people based on their location as it would be I suspect in flys in the face of a numeber best practice and possible laws by in effect selecting different venues for different customers based on their location just to avoid claims using the card.
  5. The suggestion that further changes in your menu are a good thing leave me cold. We lived for many years with declining standards at the Bluebeckers in xxxxxx called xxxxxxxxx which were remedied by moving it out the Bluebeckers brand and a major refurbishment.
    1. The staff and menu now are excellent
    2. You may be interested to know that many feel it is a little over priced and a little cramped due to what people suspect is a desire on your part to pack in as many covers in as possible.
Please do not be under any illusion that your communication has achieved anything positive for me or my family. I have scanned in the letter and will now use it as an example when lecturing and running courses of what I personally believe is a sign of contempt for me as a customer and a disregard for good customer relationship.
The local pub up the way from you has just re-opened, I think I will cancel my Friday reservation and go there instead. I can assure when asked about the xxxxxxxxx I will say staff and food good company running it do not in my opinion understand how to build and maintain good customers relationships