I have worked in digital strategy and advertising for my entire adult life. I buy advertising based on the data that Google and everyone else is gathering. Like millions of dollars a year. And I can tell you first hand that the tracking data is garbage, and frankly, at least for the foreseeable future, not something you should really be worried about, with one caveat. Advertisers are not the enemy, government and political agents are. ie. cambridge analytica. That is how you use this data to do harm.. We see literally thousands of advertisements a day. Does it *really* matter if my search history led to me seeing a different banner today?
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And, with all due respect to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Marc Lore, Walmart’s CEO of U.S. ecommerce, it has considerably more star power than any retail events Western consumers are familiar with: The festivities include a countdown-to-midnight gala in Shanghai’s 18,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Arena with celebrities like model Miranda Kerr, who is confirmed this year, and footballer Lionel Messi, who once kicked goals against a shampoo bottle on behalf of sponsor Procter & Gamble.
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But fans did figure out relatively early on that they were all looking in one direction, before this challenge was ever issued. Despite being on opposite ends of the map, they were all staring toward a central point. There was a theory that this might be a new season 5 mystery to be uncovered, but in truth it seems it was only leading up to this challenge.
Alibaba co-opted it in 2009 as an excuse to push winter coats, and the rest is history: Since then, China’s online audience has grown to more than 800 million consumers by Alibaba’s count. Along the way, Singles Day has matured into the single biggest shopping day in the world—selling more than $25 billion in 24 hours last year. The New York Times put this into perspective: Alibaba sold $1 billion in the first two minutes, which is equivalent to what Amazon sold in 1,800 minutes (or 30 hours) of Prime Day 2017.
The answer for me is a resoundingly definitive NO! And I don't want to. I am deeply hooked into the Google ecosystem from Chrome OS and Android to Chromecast and a huge collection of their services. And I must admit I thoroughly enjoy having access to and using them even with the knowledge that Google uses them to collect a lot of data about me. That said, I feel that Google really does do a good job of letting me know when and how it is collecting my data as well as how they use it. Do I trust them 100%? No. There are certain things that I do take precautions to protect, be it encrypting certain documents I store in the cloud, using a vpn and incognito mode when appropriate, as well as using services, apps, and backups from other providers. In the end though, when all is said and done, I cannot think of one single thing that Google has done to harm me in any tangible way.
Let's just be clear.. Google is not tracking "you", they're tracking a completely anonymized id that is consistent, and this has absolutely zero influence over your "privacy". Privacy does matter and if Google were responsible for ACTUALLY breaching your privacy or anyone else's there'd be hell to pay, but the reality is they are probably more careful than anyone to protect their users. Your activity is tracked by every single site on the internet, not just by Google. Do you really trust the alternatives more?
Only in American retailers’ wildest dreams could they sell more than $1 billion of merchandise an hour, yet that’s exactly what happened in China on Singles Day last year. China, which has long been the world’s most populous nation, surpassed the U.S. as the world’s biggest retail market in 2016. And that’s why even on Amazon’s best day—which to date is Prime Day 2018, when it reportedly needed 12 extra hours to sell a measly $100 million per hour—it doesn’t come close to ecommerce platform Alibaba and Singles Day.
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