Skip to main content wants you to join the community! (Oh, and we'll track what you do)

via Techdirt via Computer Associates, Sears is inviting you to "join the My SHC Community!" when you visit their site. What is My SHC? It stands for "Sears Holding Companies", which includes According to their site, it allows you to, with my comments in italics:

  • Create the future of in-store, on-line, and service experiences that are right for you and your changing needs - provide free market research

  • Membership is FREE, community functions are fun and always voluntary - um, talk about Sears and Kmart products? really, I want to do this?

  • Be the first to try new products and take advantage of special offers and promotions - Read as: you're our focus group!

  • Enjoy special content: how-to guides, buying tips, and user forums tailored to a wide variety of interests - Stuff we should put on our site but will withhold. This worked really well for the newspapers, so we'll give it a shot.

  • Gain access to free planning and household budgeting tools that enable you to save even if you don’t shop with us - This stuff is already available through other sites, but we'll brand it and make you think it's exclusive.

  • And don’t forget, enter to win cash and fabulous prizes in sweepstakes drawings held many times throughout the year! Ok, we've set aside a few bucks and free products that we would've sent to the media or used on other marketing functions.

Aside from trying to collect shopping habits and get free focus group feedback, l I don't see what the benefit is for the consumer. Sears already offers up tons of specials via affiliate programs, so there's no price incentive. Bazaarvoice and Epinions already offer product reviews. Sites like iVillage already offer up message boards, where folks offer up their opinion and advice. I do recall there being a lame program to get me to watch ads in exchange for what accounts to 1/1,000th of a penny, but as folks are realizing the best you can hope for is one free roundtrip ticket in exchange for what amounts to thousands of dollars of free focus group and consumer feedback. No thanks.

What makes the Sears program an absolute sham is that they're installing spyware on your computer and partnered with metrics company comScore to report back what you're actually doing. That's right, the software that's required to install to join the program is tracking software that gets reported back to comScore. I understand that there are issues with metrics online. I get that. But this is not the ethical way to do it, folks. According to Techdirt, the software will also track what are thought to be secure transactions, like on your bank's web site, and report them back to comScore. I'd love to hear from someone at comScore, Sears, or even someone who's part of the "community" to explain.


Popular posts from this blog

How to Rick Roll Someone

I've noticed a lot of traffic to my blog from a post I did on Rick Roll. In particular, people are looking for how to do it. So, without further adieu, here's a quick 1, 2, 3 on "How to Rick Roll Someone."

Pick your target. This should be someone not suspecting a peculiar link, email or heads up. Works great if you're the guy/girl in the office known for sending YouTube links via IM
Grab the URL. The YouTube video is probably the easiest to snag, because the URL isn't a dead giveaway. Sites that truncate URLs like SnipURL and TinyURL are handy if you want to send folks to
Pick your delivery method and send! IM, email, blog (wink!), what-have-you.

Please, feel free to get creative. Our programmers used a "Can someone test this site?" email to the office to Rick Roll the entire staff. Or better yet - send the URL along to unsuspecting family members as "Our newest family pictures!".

Another fun way is via conference or phon…

My first Facebook spam!

Well, that didn't take long. I was spammed twice today via my Facebook profile by someone named Andrea Rowe, saying that she likes my profile picture (flattery is my weak spot) and wanted to chat. She's promoting a site through one of the TinyURL-esque sites and let me know that her username is "foxy_hotty". Here's her follow up message:

hi there David, how's it going? i wanted to chat with you, but they don't have that here, whatever. if you'd like to, you can check out my other profile at my username's foxy_hotty. we can chat there, just dont mind the bad pics, lol. soooo, ya, see you i hope.

Yes, I edited the SnipURL ending because I refuse to give spammers free promotion or even worse, the click through. For those unaware, sites like SnipURL and TinyURL allow you to send truncated versions of URLs, which is particularly handy when you're posting URLs to your blog (formatting) or SMS-based tools like Jaiku and Twitte…

Fake Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers -- And the Implications for Brands

This post originally appeared on the Large Media blog.

There's been a lot of talk about Twitter followers lately, including both presidential candidates, celebrities, musicians and the like utilizing services to game their numbers. Specifically, a lot of the "Top 10" have been found to have a substantial amount of fake followers, in some case to the point where 70% of their following is either bots or inactive profiles. Most articles and infographics on the subject are telling, however with a little digging you can find out that there are also social media "experts" utilizing the service to give the appearance of bloated numbers. Intrigued, and given our rare propensity to tweet as an agency, we wanted to see what the fuss was about.

So we gave it a try.


In August we saw some ads on a third party Twitter "profile checker" site  saying they can send a thousand followers your way for $9. The process is pretty simple: select how many followers yo…