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Why do companies want you to use their mobile apps?


If you have read  my previous blogs you will note that I am, to put it bluntly, not a fan of apps on my iPhone/iPad. The reason for this is because I know that they simply want to spy on how I use my phone in order to turn me the consumer into a customer. It’s called geo-targeting through push notification.
With that said, I would like to share how I handled these geo-targeting that was aimed at me. When I upgraded my Verizon Network, they offered me a free echo-gen as a courtesy for being a long-standing customer. Honestly, although I consider myself to be knowledgeable about the latest technology. I didn't know what an echo -gen was. The item in the picture actually looks like a speaker. I have a very tiny Hp speaker, which I bought when I first bought my Hp Laptop. I actually bought it to use with my mac mini . SO i was excited that i was going to get a 'bigger speaker.'  However, upon its arrival after opening the box,  I realized that it was the Alexa Voice Service. In addition, on the day of Alexa’s arrival  I received an email from Amazon here is how it read:
“Download
the Alexa App
Once you receive your new Echo, visit: www.amazon.com/AlexaApp to download the latest version of the Alexa App. This will direct you through the setup process. Once you've connected to Wi-Fi and associated Echo with your Amazon account, you're ready to start using Echo. Your Echo may receive a software update after you've completed setup.”

I have highlighted in red "and associate Echo with your Amazon Account," because  first of all I don't know what Amazon would have to do to get me to sign up for their Prime Account. So it was a LOL moment for me at the time. To begin with Alexa was a technology, which I found absolutely "revolting." My first knowledge of it was when I saw it being talked about on one of the TV's talk shows. At the time I was appalled that anyone would engage with such a technology. The reason is that  I would be  giving my personal information (to whom I don't know) and having a robot performing basic tasks that I should be performing to keep my mind and physique exercised and healthy.  As of now  ‘Ms’ Alexa resides among the books in my bookshelf.

Furthermore, at the completion of the upgrade, Verizon text me a link to complete, (I know exactly why they chose to text me and i was really trying to keep them from filling up my mailbox with a lot of future promotions) so  I told the representative absolutely do not text me, but to email me the link instead.  So he emailed it to me. At the time he asked me if that’s my preferred way of communicating with them, and I said yes.

About a month later I got a text from them asking me to confirm my zip code. Now I have been with Verizon for years so I am not a new customer. So why would they want me to confirm my zip code? I’ll tell you why, once i respond by text it would give them access to my phone so they could start texting me promotions and telling me to download the app and all that nonsense. In fact they did send me an email telling me to download the app, which I ignored. 

Apparently ignoring them wasn’t enough. So for about six months straight, when I attempt to pay my bill, I would see a big red sign asking me to confirm my phone number.  I ignored them for six months until they got tired and stop asking me. So the most advertisement I get from them is at the time of my bill pay, and when the annoying promotions show up, I simply look for the no thanks  field to whatever they put in front of my face, and continue to my bill pay.

My other wireless phone is also with Verizon and they would love it if I would just pay them straight from my phone. However, again my preferred way of paying is on my computer. On my computer I have a wide view. On my phone it’s an eyestrain. Secondly, on my computer I have more of a paper trail.
Similarly, I own two Sony smart TVs. The TVs come with several apps: Prime Video; Hulu; VUDU; Pandora; YouTube; Netflix, Kids; Berliner Philharmoniker; and two apps that can organize pictures. About once a year Sony notifies me on screen that they need to update my firmware. However, always after the update they would ask me to choose enable which would allow them to access details on how I use the TV., meaning the apps on it etcetera. As usual I would pick disable.
After my recent firmware update, I happen to go into an email, which I sort of abandoned simply because of the amount of spam I used to receive. I had forgotten that I use to have an unofficial account with them when I bought my Sony Video Camera. In that email I saw several emails  from Sony, all promotions,  except one.  In this one Sony was asking me to take a customer satisfaction survey. They said it would take 10-15 minutes, so I expected to be there for some time. I was happy to take the survey,  because I longed to let them know how i feel about people collecting data about anything I do with the technological equipments I own.
 However, I was surprised at the way the survey turned out. The first question they gave contained a long list of companies that sell electronics and or music subscription, and movie subscriptions. Then they asked me which one of them I use or own. At first I was going to choose the option none of these, because I currently don’t subscribe to music or video. But since all of my electronics are Apple, I checked the Apple box.  To my surprise the next page was a 'thank you'  page, meaning the survey simply abruptly ended.  This leads me to conclude that either they lied to me by telling me that the survey would last 10-15 minutes; or the information I gave them was enough. Indeed, they cannot include Apple TV in their app arsenal, so why waste time by having me complete the rest of the  survey. I was so surprised I laughed out loud, because it didn’t make any sense that all of a sudden they had no more questions for me. Still, I understood perfectly well why the survey ended with my first Q and A. As mentioned above it’s the Apple thing. If anybody has a different take on it, please let me know. All I have to say is that hopefully I got rid of them, because I was sick and tired of them telling me that they have updated my firmware, and then asking for my permission to enable them to spy on me.

In contrast, I was recently at the bust stop where I noticed that the timetable for the buses’ arrival was replaced by a notice that said to download the My MTA app. I had already downloaded the app about a month before. But I wasn’t getting much from it. However, the notice explained how to use it. So far I have not seen one ad, and as I said I have had it on my phone for about a month. Now if they have the gall to start pushing ads I will delete the app. I think its a good app to have but by no means necessary.

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