Granted Amazon Patent that Predicts Your Movements Has Marketing Purposes

By Joseph Mandour on December 15, 2011

escalator-thumb-200x133-32029 California – Amazon was recently granted a patent that allows them not only to track where users have recently been but predict where they may go in the future. The system analyzes the past and current locations of the user, and based on this information, it predicts a likely next destination of the user.

Next, it communicates this next likely destination to marketers who then can relay advertising content to the user whether via their mobile device or flashing billboards. The ads that appear will be based on the demographics of the user. To ensure maximum visibility, the ads will also take into account the speed and mode of travel of the user so advertising appears at the expected time the user reaches a given marketing point. For example, if you are a middle-aged parent walking in a mall and you have already passed by one portion of a mall, ads might start popping up on your phone for stores that sell children’s clothing or home goods that you have yet to pass. Information of where the user comes from and is likely to go next could be stored in a database and better predict where others may go in the future for more targeted marketing.

While Amazon’s purpose is to better target ads and coupons to the user, at what point does infringing on a person’s right to privacy become worth the savings of a coupon? Amazon has yet to release information that allows users to block this information or even more specifically, block ads from companies and stores they wish not to patronage.

Further, another major cause of concern for users is the vulnerability of this information being accessed from individuals who would wish to cause harm to the user. With the continually increase in data theft and phone hacking, criminals or stalkers could gain access to this sensitive marketing data and hone in on a victim’s future location. Amazon will have to invest in highly sophisticated encrypting software to protect the integrity of the information and calm user’s concerns.

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Posted in: Patent Registration