Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Dewy-eyed Org of the month

The Attention Trust, evidently the brainchild of Steve Gillmor, wants you to get full value for your "attention". They're not exactly sure what "attention" is ("Attention is the substance of focus. It registers your interests by indicating choice for certain things and choice against other things... We realize that attention is imperfectly defined")

So what are they looking for?

what if you could share your data with other people, who were also capturing their own data, or if you could exchange your data for something of value with companies and other institutions that were interested in learning more about the things that interested you? You'd be in control--you would decide who has access to what data, as well as what you'd accept in exchange for access to your data.

Isn't that what my various loyalty cards are about? I let Safeway aggregate data about my purchases and in return they give me discounts. I let American Airlines, Marriott Hotels and American Express collect data about my flights, stays and purchases and re-purpose it to give me targeted advertising. In return, I get "reward points" which I can exchange for merchandise, flights or stays.

Somehow, though, I expect the Attention Trust to want more. Somehow I expect they'll want to have an opt-in for every occasion in which the company wants to use data collected from you - whether it's personalized or aggregated.

But it's really easy to control this, and no new organization is needed - if you don't want to give up the data, then don't sign up for the program! If you want to know how the data might be used - read the privacy policy! If the company violates the agreement or the policy - sue the bastards!

No meetings to attend, no dues to pay - and certainly no need for an organizational bureaucracy.

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