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Still using e-mail? Marketers say you're part of DARK SOCIAL

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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

E-mail and SMS hold-outs are a danger to the Internet because they foul up media giants' tracking, according to analysts with an interest in flogging social tracking services to media giants.

If you're old enough, you'll remember that if you wanted to tell a friend – or a group of friends – about an interesting link, you'd e-mail them either the whole text or a link to it. Congratulations: courtesy of the reptiles of marketing, you're now lumped into a nasty bunch of users called “dark social”.

If you think El Reg is kidding, pop over here (it's not too long), and discover how the sharing habits you could well have had since you first acquired an email account in the 1990s is being linked by marketing bods to nefarious activities.

“Dark social”, you see, refers to what marketers think of any sharing that they can't watch happening because it's not happening on Twitter or Facebook. “Dark” sharing means you, the actual Internet user, looking at a story or video and merely telling a friend about what you're reading or viewing, without using a platform of recent invention that's more amenable to having people – marketers or spooks – running tracking algorithms over what you're sharing.

As the article puts it, attributed to Chartbeat and RadiumOne: “Up to 80 per cent of all 'sharing' of publisher and brand content is being distributed through email and text messaging to smaller, 'off-the-grid' user networks”.

This, we're portentously told, is an “underbelly” of social sharing that “presents a challenge to media companies” because they've “invested millions to exploit audiences on Facebook and Twitter”.

The complaint, from RadiumOne's Kerry McCabe, is that “There’s a big world of sharing going on out there which is not being dictated by social media”.

How dare users behave such? Instead of using trackable networks, they just tell each other – even so bold as to do so via text messaging! – about the world outside: “We see at least 60 per cent – sometimes 80 per cent – of all sharing happening with old-school copy and paste links or articles”.

The answer? Of course, it's to invent ways to track these evil users who don't play by the rules.

Vulture South is now working on a new way to tell its contacts about things. It's called the telephone, and we'll be interested – nay, fascinated – to see if it catches on, and how many social media tracking scum analysts will bid to the “Five Eyes” partners for that vital edge in content marketing. ®

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