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The process of evaluating large amounts of data to discover patterns. On the Net, data mining typically refers to the collection and evaluation of the personal information and browsing habits of website visitors.
Most websites collect data about visitors to the site. For instance, which site you came from, which pages you visited, how long you stayed on the site, links you clicked, and many other related bits of information about your activities. This information forms a picture of who you are and may be used for marketing purposes.
In addition to websites, your ISP may also be mining your traffic information. Many ISPs track user habits anonymously and then bundle this information into reports for marketing companies and businesses looking to improve their web traffic or marketing effectiveness. While these types of reports do not contain information specific to you, they may include identifying characteristics, such as your age, geographical location, or gender, in order to improve marketing categorization efforts. Other ISPs may use your browsing history to directly market to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much information do the sites have on me?
The sites you visit have access to any information pertaining to your browsing of that site. For instance, online retailers can tell whether you got to their site by clicking on a link from search engine results or if you found them from another website, perhaps an affiliate site running one of the store’s ads. Once you are on a site, it can see which pages you visit and how long you stay on each page. This helps online retailers determine which products you are most interested in, so they can tailor their marketing efforts toward products you are more likely to purchase. Non-retailers use similar information to track the popularity of posts, determine interest trends, or to tailor marketing based on the type of information you’re looking at. If you create a profile with a site, they can use also any personal information you provide to improve content or product inventory or tailor ads to your specific demographic.
Who has access to this information?