Sunday, April 13, 2008

All Your Datas are Belong to Yahoo: Social=NO Privacy


I belong to and use about a dozen social networking sites, including LInkedIn, Facebook, Plaxo, a bunch of Google services and publicly link to profiles on several that I want to be public. But it wasn't until I visited my settings page on MyBlogLog (a Yahoo owned social network) that I realized how companies hope to "mine" that data and use it for their own purposes.

The first annoyance was when I jumped over to MyBlogLog and was asked for my Yahoo ID - which I begrudgingly provided and thought to myself, "Damn! I wish they didn't own so many things!" From there it took me to a screen with tabs across the top, one of which was labeled "Data Collection" - "Well," I thought, "at least they are being honest about that title - most times it is marked something tame like "Your info" or "Details" - but being charmed by their honesty didn't last long after visiting the page. (shown below)

Data Collection - MyBlogLog
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

I noted that I was "Opted-in" by default, realizing that being a part of this community meant sharing my photo or avatar and publicly agreeing to be tracked across the MyBlogLog member communities that I visited. I like this service and use it fairly often. One thing I like is how the service prompts you to "Join Community" after you've visited a blog a preset number of times *(mine is set to 10 visits - but you can choose 5). Alright, I realize they need to track me to make this feature work and I find it useful.

But then I got REALLY disturbed when I clicked on a tab that is benignly labeled "Services" to see a list of over 40 online social sites with those I had previously provided were pre-filled with each of my identities and/or URL's. But then I started to scroll the list to see over 40 other services listed, including OpenID, Plaxo and other aggregators. This is a bit much - what does this do to improve the MyBlogLog user experience? It seems to me that it only helps Yahoo track members of MyBlogLog - no?

Edit Services - MyBlogLog
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

These are hard to read at this size, but click the images to see larger versions. What do you think - is this useful for you as a member of MyBlogLog? How would listing your membership data for all of those services/sites improve your user experience? Am I missing something here? Why are they collecting that data? Why do people provide it willingly? Hmmm.

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posted by RealitySEO at 10:18 AM 1 comments