Some Concerns about Huddler

Discussion in 'Bugs, Glitches and Miscellaneous Forum Problems' started by rodinbangkok, May 25, 2010.

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  1. rodinbangkok

    rodinbangkok Newbie

    I was curious about this and did a little digging into Huddler, its not just a new forum software package utilized by the forum owners, but actually a marketing Company.  It seems from the limited reading I've done so far is that we are being studied, profiled and marketed to by our interactions with this site.  I did not do a lot of deep digging into this, as I'm not a very frequent poster here, but what I did find, may make you want to ask more questions about how all this works:  Is there a new privacy policy that goes with this new site, how is the profile data being used, are a couple questions that come to mind.  It seems there is more behind the scenes going on here now, and I'd be a little more curious about how all this works.  Here are some quotes I found to be of some concern to those that cherrish their privacy:

    Below from http://www.maxgladwell.com/2008/08/7-questions-with-huddler-ceo-dan-gill-on-green-home/:

    We’ll be able to tell you by combing the Product Profiles of our users.

    Soon users will be pointed to other users who have the most in common with them. For example, you might get something like: “Max, user deej has 5 green products in common with you and 6 more you haven’t seen – check him out!” The hope is to foster interactivity and moreover, helpful recommendations.

    From http://www.huddler.com/

    The Huddler Platform boasts a modern aesthetic, elegantly integrated wikis, product reviews, deep user profiling, and a lot more.

    I have no indication that any of this is below board or being used in a negative way, but this new way of handling forums should be highlighted to the users, especially since a middle man company is now using this data, not just the owners of the forum.

    Perhaps a bit of clarification on how the forum owners are using this profiling would be beneficial.
     
  2. jak757

    jak757 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Interesting thoughts...I don't know anything about Huddler, or these types of programs.  I do know this -- this morning is my first time on the new site.  Each time I go from screen to screen I get a message from our virus scanner alerting me to something.  Never happened before.
     
  3. tulsajeff

    tulsajeff Master of the Pit Staff Member Administrator OTBS Member

    I am not going to spend a lot of time on this as it is just not necessary. I will tell you that I did not choose Huddler at random.. I chose to use the Huddler platform after doing all the research myself and had there been a hint of anything "conspiracy theory" worthy, I would have gone a completely different direction.

    The folks who post here often, know me that well[​IMG]

    I needed a platform that:
    • was fresh and modern
    • gave us some features that we had been looking for (member requested features I might add),
    • had the ability to do some marketing that was ultra relevant
    • provided a place to allow members and smoker/smoker accessory companies to mingle and learn from each other (a mutual benefit).
    This is no vBulletin, nothing stale, outdated or old school and that's a really wonderful thing.
     
    meateater likes this.
  4. rodinbangkok

    rodinbangkok Newbie

    Jeff, I have no doubt that the popularity of this site and your diligence in keeping it going is a personal triumph, but the fact is now all the posts on here are being screened and going thru another organizations web site.   Are your sure that the use of the data being harvested by that organization is up to your own standards with regards to its use?  There is a lot of concern these days about privacy and the use of the terms listed above by Huddle suggests to me that this is something you may not be in control of directly now or in the future.  I for one am much more comfortable seeing the forum being powered by a simple software package in your immediate control versus it being filtered and screened by a third party firm.  
     
  5. tulsajeff

    tulsajeff Master of the Pit Staff Member Administrator OTBS Member

    The forum data has always been on someone else's server, we just rent it more or less so we have to be totally depending on the fact that the folks who work in these hosting companies are not perusing our data for some unknown motive.. furthermore, the forum is not being screened in any way.

    We are looking at a couple of things like your user lists (public information) in order to see what products folks are wanting but that is pretty common stuff. We are also using a tagging system much the same as most other modern sites which allow us to pull in related information based on the subject matter of the thread/post at hand.

    This is nothing to be concerned about.

    I can assure you that your personal information is not being used in any way, shape or form.
     
  6. tulsajeff

    tulsajeff Master of the Pit Staff Member Administrator OTBS Member

    I want to add an addendum to what I said earlier, I understand the concerns of privacy and while these are very valid concerns, this is nothing new.

    I have had a block of Google ads on the old vBulletin site for a while and they aggregate information about clicks, searches, etc. Facebook is a site built with marketing in mind. Marketing was not an afterthought.. they wanted to market and decided the best way to do that would be to give folks a place to chat, make friends, show off pictures, etc. This model works very well.

    I often tell my kids that TV shows are what they give you so you'll watch their commercials.. a very true statement I do believe.

    This is not a bad thing.. just how it is.

    Huddler didn't just build a forum platform I am sure.. they probably decided right off the bat that they wanted to make it easy to discuss topics, market stuff that member want, buy things, collaborate on wikis and post reviews.

    This is all good.. it's not quite like the old days when men met at the town square to talk about the weather or the ladies got together to exchange the latest gossip but it's how we do it now.

    Sites like Facebook, Myspace, Google, Yahoo, About.com, etc. all collect information on your searches, clicks, how you move about the site in order to market the products that folks want and give you the best overall experience.

    I have been doing this from the get go via Google analytics on Smoking-Meat.com and on this forum and while it does not track you by name or anything personal, I can tell you how long people stay on the site before leaving, what they click on the most, what browser they are using, etc.

    This is not personal information and is readily available for anyone who wants to take the time to look at it.

    It is certainly not something any of you should be worried about.. again, I understand your concerns and I do not want to dismiss them in any way but I do want to let you know that it is pretty common stuff that most sites nowadays are doing and in this day and time, you use the technology that you have available to be the best you can be.
     
  7. txbbqman

    txbbqman Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Jeff, I want to say thanks for the new platform, so far I like what I see.

    I trust you and the other admins so I am not going to worry over these issues.

    One thing I love about any BBQ family, be it here or at a comp or another Forum is we all pretty much look out for one another.

    But with Facebook being all over the news for allegedly violating privacy policies, folks are gonna be jittery.
     
  8. placebo

    placebo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I don't see anything to be alarmed about. Very good analogy there Jeff. They are not after any kind of personal data or up to any malicious deeds. They are just pioneering a service that collectively interacts people with manufacturers of products they might be interested in based on the data collected. Marketing 101 internet style.

    Risk on facebook is substantial whereas here it is minimal at best.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2010
  9. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Very Interesting, in fact I just went in and took out any personal info in my profile and changed my email to my catchall address and altered my birthday.  Just to be on the safe side.
     
  10. jak757

    jak757 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Just to make myself clear -- I am not worried about privacy or personal information.  I think change is great -- and the new site looks very cool.  I too trust Jeff and the group to provide the best place possible for SMF.  Now worries here.  I don't know what to make about the virus scan alerts I get -- I'm not concerned about viruses -- I'm just not tech savey enough to know what to make of it.

    I really like the new look!
     
  11. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    JAK... what virus scan are you using and what is the name of the found problem? We might be able to look into it for you.
     
  12. tulsajeff

    tulsajeff Master of the Pit Staff Member Administrator OTBS Member

    No worries. do what you have to do to make yourself feel comfortable. I personally don't worry about it, if I did, I would not be on Facebook, I would not use Google and I probably would not even have a bank account.

    That's just me though[​IMG]
     
  13. tulsajeff

    tulsajeff Master of the Pit Staff Member Administrator OTBS Member

    I am locking this thread since it really does not serve a purpose. I have clarified the issue and now we need to stop analyzing the software and start using it already[​IMG]
     
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