Tag: geotargeting

Illegal location tracking leads to massive fine for InMobi

InMobi has agreed to settle charges from US FTC and will pay nearly $1 million in penalties.

Illegal location tracking charges have been placed against Indian-based mobile advertising company InMobi by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The mobile ad network is subject to a $4 million fine by the FTC for deceptively tracking the locations of consumers. However, the fine was lowered to $950,000, due to the company’s financial condition.

Hundreds of millions of consumers were tracked, including children.

The FTC alleges that InMobi illegally tracked consumers’ locations and used this information for behaviorally targeted advertising. InMobi’s advertising software tracked the locations of consumer’s when they opted in, but not always in accordance with their device’s privacy settings. The company was actually tracking the locations of consumers regardless of whether or not the apps using the company’s software asked the consumer’s permission. Even when consumer denied permission to access their location information, they were tracked anyway.

Illegal Location TrackingTo make matters worse, according to the FTC, InMobi also violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). It did so by collecting information from applications that were directed at children, even though InMobi promised that it didn’t.

What the FTC discovered was that InMobi developed a database built on the information the company gathered from consumers who allowed InMobi to access their geolocation data. This data was combined with the wireless networks that were near consumers in order to document the physical location of the actual wireless networks. The company then used that database to deduce the consumer’s physical location based on the networks they were close to. This occurred even when they had the location collection feature of their device turned off.

In addition to its illegal location tracking fine, InMobi must adhere to stiff rules.

Aside from paying the $950,000 fine, InMobi must also delete all the data it collected from children. The company will be prohibited from collecting the location information from consumers without their express consent. They will also be required to honor the location privacy settings of their consumers. Additionally, information collected without consent must also be deleted.

The settlement resulting from the illegal location tracking fiasco will also require InMobi to set up a comprehensive privacy program. For the next 20 years, this privacy program will be independently audited every two years.

RetailNet Group offers insight on mobile commerce and other mobile trends

Mobile commerce adoption is being slowed by numerous issues

The RetailNet Group, an advisory firm focused on the retail industry, recently attended the Money2020 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, where it shed some insight on the trends emerging in the mobile space. At the conference, the firm helped raise awareness of the problematic issues that exist within the mobile space, especially where retailers are concerned. Some of these issues are slowing the adoption of mobile commerce among consumers and are making people leery of marketing initiatives that leverage geotagging and other such location-based technologies.

In-store applications lack traction with consumers

When it comes to mobile commerce, many retailers have been working to promote a wide range of applications that can be used in stores. According to the RetailNet Group, these applications are somewhat popular when they are first released, but more than a quarter of these applications are downloaded once and never used beyond that point. In the U.S., retailers are struggling to find traction with consumers when it comes to using these applications, but these applications have become a resounding success in China, where mobile commerce has established a strong foothold among consumers. The firm suggests that the applications that show the most promise are “scan and go” apps that allow consumers to skip lines at checkout.

Mobile Commerce - Mobile 2020 EventGeotargeting considered problematic by many people

Geotargeting is becoming relatively popular in the mobile space. Location-based services hold a great deal of promise for marketers and their ability to develop engaging campaigns, but many geotargeting initiatives are being considered somewhat invasive by consumers. The RetailNet Group suggests that many of these initiatives are acquiring information about consumers even without appropriate permission. The firm claims that people, in general, do not favor their information being acquired by companies and organizations without their permission.

Google struggles on the mobile commerce front

On the mobile payments front, Google continues to struggle with engaging consumers through its Wallet platform. The firm suggests that many people do not consider Google to be a mobile commerce company. As such, they show little interest and confidence in Google’s capabilities in the mobile commerce field. Google is, however, doing quite well in terms of e-commerce, providing retailers with innovative ways to engage the mobile crowd.