- I worked for a company up until a year ago that was heavily involved in e-Commerce. They are a great group of people and I doubt that any of them would see themselves as adding to the world’s inequalities.
- But as they say, “No single rain drop see itself as responsible for the flood.“
- But they, like all such e-Commerce facilitators, are striving to develop the technology to ‘read’ the customer more and more. And the quote, below, shows where some of this is going. And it might not be pretty.
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“For the past decade, e-commerce sites have altered prices based on your Web habits and personal attributes. What is your geography and your past buying history? How did you arrive at the e-commerce site? What time of day are you visiting? An entire literature has emerged on the ethics, legality and economic promise of pricing optimization. And the field is advancing quickly: last September, Google received a patent on technology that lets a company dynamically price electronic content. For instance, it can push the base price of an e-book up if it determines you are more likely to buy that particular item than an average user; conversely, it can adjust the price down as an incentive if you are judged less likely to purchase. And you won’t even know you are paying more than others for the exact same item.”