Is This Marketing Clever or Creepy?

I just received this message from the always popular ‘noreply@mybloglog. com’:

Hi there MyBlogLogger!

From your IP address it looks like you’re browsing the web via the Web 2.0 Expo public wifi. Drop on by the Yahoo booth (#901) and learn more about what MyBlogLog is up to, we’d love to see you.

I was at Web 2.0 Expo yesterday. I guess they searched through all the MyBlogLog IP addresses, found the ones that matched the Web 2.0 Expo wifi IP address, and emailed us. The message is something like “we used this unintentional digital artifact that you left behind to identify where you were, and then contacted you about something happening in that place”. Weird.

I can’t decide if this is clever or creepy. Or possibly both. On the one hand, I admire their moxie. On the other hand, I never gave MyBlogLog explicit permission to correlate my IP address to a physical location. Do they need my permission, if the only people aware of that IP-location pair are me and them? What do you think?

8 comments

  1. I think it’s cool for an event – it’s location-based advertising that might be useful (depending on the size of the event).

    The fact that it is email – as opposed to an extra message on the MyBlogLog website – starts to get iffy for me but it’s still in the land of “cool.”

    I’d say “creepy” in most other non-event circumstances (though I can’t think of any useful ones).

    I think that they tried that at the Web 2.0 Expo is a great idea – if there is any audience that is likely to be open to that idea it’s gonna be that one.

  2. It’s quite beacon-esque. It should be opt-in, so I’m going to go with creepy but forgivable.

    It’s clever, and it is relevant to you but they did brush aside etiquette. I think it would have come off better if they modified your view of the mybloglog widget on a webpage, which must be how they found you there.

  3. Hi Darren,

    We meant to have this experiment up and running when the conference kicked off but as luck would have it, the email with the wifi address range was in my spam folder :-p

    What was supposed to happen is that the message would go to you *while* you were at the show. When we finally loaded up the script, it fired off messages to people even after they had left. Our bad.

    To be clear, we took care not to email you directly, just leave you a message on the MyBlogLog site. If you had opted in to have your MyBlogLog messages forwarded to your email, that explains why you got an email from good ol’ noreply@mybloglog.com

    That said, thank you for the post. We’re *very* interested to hear what people think about our location-based experiments. If you’re at the show tomorrow, let’s meet up.

    Ian
    MyBlogLog

  4. It’s clever but creepy. Like that scene in the first Scream movie where Drew Barrymore is talking to someone on the phone and she realises they are watching her. “I’m watching you, talk to me!”

  5. That’s a pretty neat way of connecting with people at a conference! I imagine that it would work really well for a site like Facebook.

  6. Execution Creepy.
    Service Clever.

    The service can actually be very valuable, but as a customer they should at least inform me that this pseudo location service is available, and probably ask if I want to use it first.

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