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Going out to have a drink with a friend or family member, always an enjoyable time.  Meeting friends at a pub for dinner, some music, a good laugh, awesome.  But how would you feel if you were being recorded without your knowledge and that advancing facial recognition software could identify you without your permission?

So here is the situation – You and a friend walk into a neighborhood bar, order a cocktail, and, unbeknownst to you both, a camera above is scanning your faces to determine your age and gender. Your details are then combined with data on other bar patrons and then made available via a mobile application for users trolling for a good-time venue with the right genetic make-up.

This is not science fiction.  It is real and it has just been rolled out in San Francisco.  The name of the company is SceneTap http://www.scenetap.com/

SceneTap is a maker of cameras that pick up on facial characteristics to determine a person’s approximate age and gender. The company works with venues to install these cameras and track customers. It also makes web and mobile applications that allow random observers to find out, in real-time, the male-to-female ratio, crowd size, and average age of a bar’s patrons. And there is no way to avoid it if you are there.

Launched in Chicago last July, SceneTap is now live in seven markets, including San Francisco and Austin, and has tracked more than 8.5 million people at 400 partner venues. Bamboo Hut, Bar None, milk bar, The Abassador, Fluid Ultra Lounge and 20 other San Francisco locations now have the i-spy cameras in place.

SceneTap promises that all data is collected anonymously and that nothing is recorded or stored. For nightlife-lovers, it’s a fail-proof way to get a preview of a bar or club. Venues can offer specials, and are given tools to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. Marketing measurement at its finest.

Is this over the line for you?  We all know that privacy went out the window a long time ago, but now this?

In the case of Foursquare, for example, the consumer is in charge.  You decide whether you want to share this information or not. With SceneTap, the consumer has no say in the matter. Walk into one of these bars and you’re being digitally sized up — and there’s nothing you can do about it. What happens when they start to capture additional personal information such as height, weight, ethnicity, or wealth?

Let me know what you think by posting below.

Webman

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Etail – The Revolution #4

Last of a series for this week.  So far we have looked at a number of interesting consumer etail trends plus solutions from eBay, Paypal and Facebook.  Today we will take a look at some other solutions from American Express.

But first, our final song of the week with Revolution in the title:

“Revolution rock, it is a brand new rock – A bad, bad rock, this here revolution rock – Careful how you move, Mac, you dig me in me back – And I’m so pilled up that I rattle – I have got the sharpest knife – So I cut the biggest slice – I have no time to do battle

Everybody smash up your seats – And rock to this brand new beat – This here music mash up the nation – This here music cause a sensation -Tell your ma, tell your pa – Everything’s gonna be all right – Can’t you feel it? – Don’t ignore it – Gonna be alright

Revolution rock, I am in a state of shock – So bad, bad rock, this here revolution rock – Careful how you slide, Clyde, all you did was glide – And you poured your beer in me hat – With my good eye on the beat, living on fixation street – I ain’t got no time for that ‘

Revolution Rock – The Clash

Take a look at what American Express is doing in social, letting cardmembers sync their cards with Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook. When American Express card holders sync their cards with Foursquare, they receive location-based deals and offers directly to their AmEx cards. Those who sync their card with Facebook, as part of the “Link Like Love” program, see deals in their newsfeed on Facebook, based on which companies they talk about and like. Consumers that sync their cards with Twitter, get savings loaded directly to their cards when they tweet using special-offer hashtags. The “Link Like Love” program lets brands and retailers tie sales back to efforts on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, using the AmEx application programming interface.

Who doesn’t love a good deal? Twitter and American Express have partnered to offer special deals, discounts and coupons in 140-characters or less. If you’re an AMEX customer and a Twitter user, you’ve got $$ savings at your fingertips.

Visit sync.americanexpress.com/twitter to sync your AMEX card with your Twitter account. Then, you just have to tweet merchant-specific hashtags to load up coupon-less deals onto your card, which will become active the next time you shop at that particular merchant.  AMEX cardholders will see the coupon applied as a discount to their statement within days.

American Express® Cardmembers across the country can discover exclusive specials on foursquare. Connect any eligible Amex Card to your foursquare account today for couponless, hassle-free savings. #1 – SYNC: Go to sync.americanexpress.com & securely connect your Card to foursquare to find exclusive Amex specials at foursquare venues.

Amazing stuff.  Enjoy the weekend.

Webman

Awesome or Creepy

You decide….

As you know there are a number of applications that utilize GPS.  GPS stands for Global Positioning System.  It is a radio navigation system that allows land, sea and airborne users to determine their exact location, velocity, and time 24 hours a day.  We hear about GPS all the time these days.  Very prominent in all technologies and applications like Google Maps, Foursquare and so many others that are asking you to allow them to know your location.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, Mysterious and spooky. They’re altogether ooky, The Addams Family. Their house is a museum. When people come to see ’em, They really are a screa-um. The Addams Family. Neat, Sweet, Petite. So get a witch’s shawl on. A broomstick you can crawl on. We’re gonna pay a call on The Addams Family.

We have covered a number of applications previously that want to use your location to provide you with coupons, deals and offers to visit their retail locations. Foursquare states that it makes the real world easier to use. They build tools that help you keep up with friends, discover what’s nearby, save money and unlock deals. Glancee takes this further and helps you discover these hidden connections and meet with people important to you.  Explore the profiles of people nearby and be notified when somebody has common friends or mutual interests. Text or call, meet up for a coffee, and stay in touch. Create new, meaningful connections with new people just like you.

And here comes a new entrant into the mix – Highlight – Highlight is a fun, simple way to learn more about the people around you.

If someone standing near you also has Highlight, their profile will show up on your phone. You can see their name, photos of them, mutual friends, and anything else they have chosen to share. When you meet someone, Highlight helps you see what you have in common with them. And when you forget their name at a party a week later, Highlight can help you remember it.

As you go about your day, Highlight runs quietly in the background, surfacing information about the people around you. If your friends are nearby, it will notify you. If someone interesting crosses your path, it will tell you more about them. Highlight gives you a sixth sense about the world around you, showing you hidden connections and making your day more fun.

Fabulous or Creepy?  You decide…

Webman

Shop Local…It’s the Right Thing to do!

In support of our local businesses this holiday season.

November 26th is a very important day for Small Businesses.  And it is also a very important day for shoppers to vote with your wallets

Small business drives our economy and as you know our economy is hurting big time with no end in sight.  Small businesses represent 99 percent of U.S. employers and employ about half of the nation’s private-sector workforce..

We continue to modify our behavior and shop the big box stores, looking for the best deals, using Living Social, Groupon, Google and Amazon local deals.  We are also fully connected via our mobile devices so we can have deals sent to us, activated when we walk by a participating retailer.  We can check in via FourSquare, SCVNGR and FaceBook and we can search the web for deals on just about anything.  As I said, the economy is tough, so we are all looking for deals.

Many of these very cool and engaging technologies are not yet embraced by small businesses as they just do not have the resources to capitalize on all of these proactive traffic building and response tools.  Many small businesses have used these services, but they cannot maintain the frequency necessary to capture your mind share.

Small Business Saturday is about Main Street, not Wall Street. It’s about entrepreneurs and families selling things that the chains and e-commerce companies aren’t. Only small businesses can offer truly unique gifts and the most genuinely friendly customer service.

Small Business Saturday is also about supporting the local economy. The chain stores are owned by bigger companies that are probably based somewhere other than your hometown, but small businesses are usually owned by your neighbors. When you shop at a small business, you’re supporting your local economy and your local job base.

So here’s the deal.  Go shopping on November 26th but only go to your local merchants.  Or as you are putting your holiday budget together, allocate 1/3rd of it to support your local community.  They will have a great holiday season, you will get great service and a big smile and you will exemplify what the holidays are all about – GIVING!

Happy Small Business Shopping on November 26th and for all the rest of the days leading up to your special holiday celebration.

Webman