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Disney makes consumer tracking explicit

I have always considered Disney to be operating at the cutting edge of service delivery and crowd management. According to the NYT, it appears that they are planning to transform both using location-sensitive technologies and big data.

The ambitious plan moves Disney deeper into the hotly debated terrain of personal data collection. Like most major companies, Disney wants to have as much information about its customers’ preferences as it can get, so it can appeal to them more efficiently. The company already collects data to use in future sales campaigns, but parts of MyMagic+ will allow Disney for the first time to track guest behavior in minute detail.

Did you buy a balloon? What attractions did you ride and when? Did you shake Goofy’s hand, but snub Snow White? If you fully use MyMagic+, databases will be watching, allowing Disney to refine its offerings and customize its marketing messages.

Is this “creepy”? But no one compels entry into an amusement park (parents who have been coerced into taking their kids may disagree). Is it a legitimate trade-off between yielding data and convenience?

More important is how quickly Disney innovations will seep out into the rest of society. What if central cities become Disney worlds, in terms of surveillance?

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