Welcome to a world where your online identity, and a lot about your personal life, goes around and around to the highest bidder.
If you’re one of the 70 million people who used Myspace.com, your profile now belongs to the targeted advertising network that bought them on June 29, 2011, Specific Media. If you don’t know much about Ad Networks and how they use your information, click here. The system of advertising networks, however, and the reason they’re called “networks,” is that they share information about your online life across many many sites to build up a more specific profile of you, your habits, and your likelihood to respond to various marketers and advertisers and other paying customers.
So Specific Media owns your Myspace digital identity, period. This is a situation you ought to be familiar with: we’ll all deal with it in the future as companies that have been giving you free services try to make money from your activity. This is Econ 101.
You can’t erase it.
You don’t control it.
You don’t, in fact, have any rights to “you:” what you’ve done, what you’ve posted, and who you are (or were in the case of many of us) in our online lives. Ask yourself a few key questions:
1. Was I on Myspace?
2. Were my pictures, relationship status, wall posts, or sexual orientation part of my profile?
3. What friends was I connected to there, and how many friends were they connected to?
4. Did I bother to ever remove information from Myspace or to delete my account?
According to the media reports, your profile was worth about $.50.
What can you do about it? Delete your MySpace account if you haven’t already, and start cleaning out the cookies and blocking ad networks like Specific Media. It’s not a hassle if you use the right tools, like TACO 4 (Targeted Advertising Cookie Opt Out). In fact, it can even speed up your web browsing and make it more convenient.