Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mamasource and the Information Age

Mamasource members, do you know who you are? I have a pretty good idea.

I know there are about 112K of you who visit the site monthly, you are mostly female, and you subscribe to Parenting magazine and frequent Easy you say? Maybe. But I also know that the majority of you are between the ages of 25-34, make $30-$60K a year, and most of you have children younger than age 6 at home.

Recent keywords you've used include: pregnancy calculator, graco, babies r us, christmas party games, free ecards, jc penneys, santa tracker, the disney store, recipes, target and ron paul.

In addition to Parenting magazine and, you also visit,,, Ebay Baby, Baby Center and you subscribe to Fitness Magazine and Family Fun Entertainment.

I also know that you you share the same characteristics as members of these sites:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and

About 51% of you are regulars, and about 14% of you are Mamasource addicts.

This is all PUBLIC information about Mamasource members. What do you think a person could do with more detailed and intimate information?

Remember Artie Wu's comment in the article titled:

Getting the Dirt - Find out what rival companies are up to

"Vividence brings you the world of your competitor through the customers' eyes," says Artie Wu, CEO and cofounder of Vividence, which was named to reflect its goal of gathering "vivid evidence" on the opposition. "We glean valuable information, then whisper it back into our clients' ears."

Vividence was a company that focused on gathering intelligence from competitor's websites. In the Vividence Research Review, it said that "for marketers and executives making high-stakes business decisions, Vividence delivers groundbreaking research and actionable insight into online customer experiences, market trends, and industry strategies. Unlike traditional market research firms, Vividence combines technology, research, and consulting to provide a totally new way of understanding your customers, competitors, and markets."

When Artie was with Vividence, his company created a program called Vividence Connector for use in survey taking.

This is what was said about that particular piece of Spyware:

"This application is a Browser Helper Object (BHO), specifically a toolbar integrated into a Web browser that displays ads and produces targeted search results. Vividence Connector is a "paid-to-surf" IE toolbar that allows users to rank websites. For ranking websites, users are presumably rewarded with gift certificates to It is most likely a hoax and may install potentially dangerous software."

Want to know more about these surveys? Do a search on "vividence survey scam" and see what kind of complaints you come up with there. That is a whole other topic, and one which you can research on your own. Suffice it to say, there were a whole lot of survey takers who got took!

This is what was said about the survey techniques Vividence employed on its competitors:

Mining web navigations for intelligence

"The Internet is one of the fastest growing areas of intelligence gathering. We present a statistical approach, called principal clusters analysis, for analyzing millions of user navigations on the Web. This technique identifies prominent navigation clusters on different topics. Furthermore, it can determine information items that are useful starting points to explore a topic, as well as key documents to explore the topic in greater detail. Trends can be detected by observing navigation prominence over time. We apply this technique on a large popular website. The results show promise in web intelligence mining."

And then there is the patent Artie Wu was issued on May 25, 2005:

Full service research bureau and test center method and apparatus

Is it possible he has gone from intelligence gathering with actual human surveyors to intelligence gathering by other means?

Given the techniques he's employed so far, I'd say it is food for thought.


Anonymous said...

i looked at the link you posted, but you can get this information for any site out there. here is the same information for ivillage:

and babycenter:

i found this site through a paid advertisement on google, which seems strange. i would like to know who is the author behind this website -- is someone being paid to write all this stuff?

is that legal?

Mama What? said...

Thanks for posting.

I am the author and I created the AdWords ad that got you here. This is a new blog and hasn't been indexed yet, hence the paid ad.

The link I posted is the Quantcast link for Mamaaource, and the point is that there is a lot of information to be gathered by public means (i.e. Quantcast) and I am curious as to what other information can be gathered by someone who creates intelligence mining software for a living.

Mamasource is obviously harvesting people's address books and gathering a big database. I just wonder why?

What is illegal about posting thoughts on a blog and driving traffic to it?

I am just a mom, who has been angered by the blatant email harvesting techniques Artie WU has been using.

I am NOT a paid writer. There is no financial incentive for me in doing this blog. I am simply trying to get to the bottom of this spam disguised as a "trusted" community site.

A wolf in sheep's clothing if you will.