Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The Sharing of Personal Information

About a year or two ago I signed up for a free email newsletter from Borders Books. They mail out free coupons anywhere between once a week and once a month, not too bad. Along with the coupons they send you announcements for new books coming out, such as Harry Potter or anything on the NYT Bestseller list, you know, I type of stuff I never read. Despite the coupons, I haven't bought anything at Borders for a couple months.

Well, about two months ago the new release notifications started to change. All of the sudden it's telling me that there are all these mangas coming out. Now, I tend not to like manga, but so do most people that shop at Borders. I remember thinking, "this is weird, I haven't bought anything there, let alone manga. Are they sending this to everyone? That seams like a waste of an add."

Well, today while doing some shopping during lunch I discovered the answer. Go to www.borders.com and see where you end up. Notice that you're on Amazon.com! You can redeem Borders Giftcards for your Amazon.com purchases. Apparently, Amazon operates websites for many retailers including Waldenbooks, Virginmega, and CDNOW.

The reason for the sudden manga alerts? About 3-4 months ago I started buying comic book collections from Amazon, such as the New Avengers collections. Amazon must have shared that info with Borders, who groups graphic novels and mangas together, and since Borders stocks more manga than comic book collections they alert me to new mangas.

Just one more example of how, in the global network of information sharing between companies, your transaction history follows you everywhere, and can manifest itself in unexpected ways.

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