Hey Orbitz, Here’s a Profile: You Are a Parasite!

I love the term “data mining”.  I can almost picture a group of industrious businessmen in hard hats shoveling away in the heat and darkness, barely able to breathe, just for the chance to discover an elusive bit of information that will not only invade my privacy, but will also state the obvious.

Who knew that consumers willing to pay more for the elegance of an Apple computer might also be willing to pay more for other items, like hotels?  That shocking revelation is brought to you courtesy of Orbitz.  What’s next: people who exercise more frequently are likely to maintain healthier diets?  You are geniuses.

There’s just one problem, your process sucks.  You stick your nose in peoples’ lives using “predictive analytics” just so you can figure out which consumers have the highest “lifetime value” as a customer.  In short, based on what we do, you guess what we are going to do next and segregate the projected big spenders from the expected regular Joes.

Wow.  This kind of impressive use of knowledge makes me want to shut down my computer, throw away my smart phone and revoke my membership on the worldwide web.  To companies like Orbitz – whose company has been failing miserably since going public in 2007 – we consumers are little more than hosts for retailers to feed on.

Well, thank you very much for that. And God bless all the online retailers who pay large to secure this data so they can stereotype and profile me.

Seriously, you can market and sell to me all day long, but when you start probing me (without my permission) and profiling me (according to your values) and tagging me (as a cow to be milked or one to be slaughtered), you’ve gone too far.

And you want me to put all my information on a cloud… I don’t think so.

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.