We recently talked to a representative from a 3rd Party website measurement system who asked us to put their tracking/survey code in our blogs. They say that the basic benefit is that we are able to get standard reader/audience measurements that commercial establishments can trust (because they're basically an objective 3rd party).
Our answer has been a resounding NO. Here are my reasons:
1. Data Privacy. I am a big proponent of data privacy. I don't give out my age, birthday, gender, address, income to just anyone. I don't want anyone maintaining a database of this information, especially information tied to my ip address (and hence, my approximate actual address). Identity theft is an ever-present problem that one can only avoid by not giving out such information. Nefarious underlying motives aside, what about hackers? Even the most secure servers (think Playstation Network) have been hacked lately so what prevents my data leaking out when such attacks happen?
(In the interest of transparency, I use Google Analytics. It basically just counts users and how many come from which country/city. This has been approved for use by the US government for their government websites which proves how secure it is. Aside from that, remember when China tried to hack Gmail? Google hacked them back.)
2. The Experience. With their measurement system, a survey pops-up for users. Granted, the survey just pops up once per user using some proprietary algorithm but this still screws up the reader experience. I, for one, just want to read what's on a blog. If I see something popping up, I just close the window/tab. The smooth browsing that I enjoy is rudely interrupted by something that wants my attention. Annoying.
3. What's in it for me? I don't really see the benefit of me doing this. See, I don't blog because I want to sell to advertisers. I blog because I want to share information with other people. Advertising is a nice by-product but I DON'T blog for advertisers -- see the difference? Having effective measure would just mean that I'm pandering to these advertisers which is the quickest way to not being consistent with the original objective of my blog.
4. It's backwards. It moves the industry back into using demographics as a measurement system. If Facebook wanted to advertise to its most likely target market, it would've advertised to young adults. It didn't do that. Instead it was consistent with its message of connecting people (I'm far from being a Facebook fan but you have to give it to their marketing). Now, it's fastest growing segment are women ages 45 and above. Digital marketers must move out of demographics and into psychographics if they want to attract as many people as possible. In fact, I can't leave Facebook for Google Plus precisely because my mom and my aunts are all already on FB. Staying in touch is just easier there and I doubt they'll move to Google Plus.
This 3rd party measurement system has good intentions but I believe their approach and methodology is basically flawed and backwards. I wish them well, but I won't be opting in.
Llama gets my vote for the MOST USEFUL Android Application. The idea is simple: the application changes your settings depending on your location.
Practical application: when you leave your house, you can automatically turn off your wifi and background sync (save battery) and set your brightness to auto. When you get to work, you can automatically set your phone to vibrate. When you leave work, you can set it back to normal. It does everything automatically! Handy, right?
Your location is determined by the cell sites around you. So you have to "train" Llama to listen for those cell sites first at your set locations. Then, when Llama detects those cell sites, it automatically sets the settings of your choice. So it doesn't require your GPS, WiFi, or APN to be turned on.
You can download it here: Llama @ Android Market
Llama, by the way, stands for Location Aware Mobile Application. Not sure where the extra L fits in but, hey, I'm not complaining.