privacy policy or the lack of it

A few months ago I signed up for a SharedReviews beta account. The idea behind the site is to get solid reviews of products and pay the community 50/50 on certain revenue. Sounds pretty cool huh? Well it may be but as I was signing up I came across the privacy policy. Usually I just breeze through it but I decided to read this one.

"We protect your privacy with a passion!"

First, I want to say that I think ShareReviews is a cool site and I hope their business model works out. However, the privacy policy was kind of weird. It was actually amusing. Why do sites even have privacy policies? They should just come out and say "Yea, we'll use your information for whatever we damn well please." Below are some lines right of the policy.

"For the purposes of this policy, "Personal Information" means any information about you except your business title, address, e-mail address, telephone number or facsimile number. It also does not include your home address and telephone number if these are published in a telephone or other directory, and does not include any Review, content or other materials that you post or submit to use for possible publication. " what else is there? What exactly is private then?

"We do not sell your Personal Information to third parties. We may share some or all of your Personal Information with our third party business partners"

Hmmm ok. I shouldn't be surprised. It's a "review" site and to make money they are probably selling data. For that data to be worth anything they have to include user data with it. So why throw in the line about "we protect your privacy with a passion." Half the business model is actually based upon doing the exact opposite.

Most users caring less is the worst part. We'll go crazy if a telemarketer calls our house but we don't blink while registering for a new site. Personally, I'm not against a website data mining to show relevant ads. Let's take facebook for example. They will look at your profile and use that to display an advertisement. An advertiser will pay more to know that their ad is getting to their target demographic. I'm fine with that. I'm going to see an ad anyway, might as well see one that I might actually like. That's how Google makes all their money.

What I don't like is when companies sell information they collect. To me thats like selling hot pictures your ex girlfriend took for you. The ones she would dress up like a tiger and act like she is...ok getting off topic. The pictures were meant for you not the public or your favorite "rate this chick" website. Just because you don't care about her anymore doesn't mean you should go and sell something she wouldn't want sold. However, let's say you analyze the pictures. After hours of analyzing, and frequent naps, you say to yourself "hey i bet she would really like this lingerie site." You contact her the usual way you two communicate and let her know that you are an affiliate for an animal lingerie site. Nothing wrong with that, right?