Seth Godin is also an active contributer to the concept of Permission Marketing — that people are much more willing to buy your product if you ask permission to build the product around them.
It works because today people want greater personalization of the product, and for that they would be happy to tell the company what they want to see from the product. Customers are thus responding very well to companies that allow them to take part in the product development as well, such as SlimDevices and Dell.
When Seth Godin spoke at Google, he made sure to emphasize that Google is not taking permission from the user to let Google learn more about them, and that because of their brand’s value people would be happy to tell Google.
Did Google Hear Him Right?
Well honestly, it took a while. They tried to learn about people using the Google Toolbar, but more recently have gotten it right with the Google Web History product.
I say “gotten it right” because people may actually have a better incentive to sign up for Google web history. Although it tells Google absolutely everything about your surfing patterns (scary) but then again could be helpful as a product if — say — you remembered this great website you visited by forgot where it was — just go into your web history and you can find it.
Since the product in itself is somewhat useful, Google is then in fact taking permission from users to monitor them.
Eventually, Google claims, they will be able to use this history to know more about you, and thus deliver much more refined AdSense results next to your searches. This is an idea where Google can use the word you’re searching for, and gather its semantics from your web history.
Hmm.. maybe Google should change their name to Skynet now.