Online, the picture becomes clearer. Consumers now routinely rank experiences on the Web – four stars on IMDb for “The Departed,” three stars on Epinions for a Roomba vacuum, a positive eBay rating, a Flickr tag. Each time you leave such a mark, you help the rest of us make sense of all the look-alike, sound-alike stuff on the Web.
You also leave a trail. For the company that can decipher all that information, the opportunity is staggering. That company will know you better than the shopkeeper knows you, better than the credit bureau or, arguably, even your spouse. It will pinpoint your tastes and determine the likelihood that you’ll buy any given product. In effect, it will have constructed the algorithm that is you.