Today a shocking invitation arrived from Google at my home. It has all the right buzz-words and features to appeal while allowing the reader to entirely miss what is going to happen.
Here is the cover letter, including initial bribe offering. Notice the language.
- You were Chosen
- You represent people in your area
- Important research for Google
- Improve Google – what? little old me?
- Confidential (but explained elsewhere)
- You have to qualify and agree
- Money, more money, and more money every month
- Your convenience
- Sincerely hope you agree to join
- Become a member
I have to admit, this is masterly crafted and no doubt tempting enough to get folks to see the four color brochure sitting right below this letter.
Look at that title. Look at the font. Look at the >>
Technology has rightly been called a revolution in our lifetimes. This title tells me that I can help technology move forward. Wow!
And look at the smiling, young, smart looking people using technology, except for the first guy who reminds me of photos of the Pope for some reason.
The middle photo manages to represent SIX people.
And below the images you find that the program has been given a name. They crowned in ScreenWise. Who doesn’t want to seem wise?
Look at the offer: “An exciting and important research project that examines how America uses the Internet.”
I want to be exciting and important!
“Important research project” completely sanitizes the whole thing. Nothing to worry about here.
I am an American and I use the Internet. This must be for me!
Google Sniffer Cover
And now we get to the heart of the matter. Simple:
- What is it?
- How much money?
- Why me?
- How does it work?
- How do I start?
The next page continues with the same theme but with more focus:
- How much money?
- How do I start? again
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that Google didn’t know enough about me and my Internet activity. Or to rephrase, I think Google knows way too much about my Internet activity already.
I think this is all about the mobile devices.
Let’s review the bribery or compensation
- $5 note included with the marketing material
- $20 to take a survey and see whether you qualify or not
- $200 to install their router in your house
- $30/mo for one active device
- $5/mo for each additional active device
They encourage you to sign up all the computers, tablets and smartphones in your house. Let’s assume that this might be 8-12 devices in the kinds of houses they have targeted.
For easy math let’s say 11 devices.
One for $30 per month and the rest add up to $50 per month for a total of $80. If the study lasts 12 months that total becomes $960 for the year, plus the $225, which gives us a grand total of $1,185 for the first year.
SIGN ME UP! It is so well written and I will make money.
No, I will not be signing up because I don’t trust Google. Would you?
One thought on “Would You Let Google Sniff Your Packets?”
This is pretty standard market research. Except that generates a lot of cash. It’s basically asking you to be a Nielsen family for Internet.
It’s been my experience that people will give up any amount of privacy for a small amount of convenience. This is a pretty good amount of money rather than a small amount of convenience. Lots will go for it.