Don’t you just have the cutest puppy? Oh yes you do, oh yes you do

bowwow breakfastWhen it comes to pets, the grass is always cuter on your own side of the fence. But if you think others might share your myopic affections, All American Pet Brands want to hear from you. Do you imagine the sponsor of the Cutest Dog Competition, maker of Grrrnola, Bowwowbreakfast, Fido Flakes, Chompions, and Chewabunga, is offering iPod Nanos, $500 each week, and a grand prize of one million dollars just to get your dog’s picture, name and address? Almost just.

You may shrug off receiving the odd coupon offer for Fido Flakes, but your address and phone number are marketable information for direct mailers and telephone solicitations from local veterinarians, kennels, groomers, pet stores and carpet cleaners. And that’s just the obvious.

It doesn’t take simply a self-centric sense of aesthetic to fix your eyes on the prize money, or the delusion that everyone you know believes you deserve that award. Putting your dog’s mug online only requires the all-too-human desire to represent for your best friend. What kind of dog lover doesn’t want to honor their dog’s ego? I’ll bet those contacted to vote for a friend’s pet have a nagging conscience until they put up a picture of their own. That’s because it’s infidelity, to a dog’s chief nature, fidelity.

Speaking of nagging, if a child is involved in the household, uploading the photo of the family canine, and your personal data, and returning to the website once everyday to vote, is no longer even elective.

What the AAPB outfit in Beverly Hills California is collecting is your social network. Those who can enlist their Facebook friends, the probable winners, will be of less interest than the as-yet unconfirmed email addressees. The users whose dogs will get just a few votes will provide the data clouds that matter.

The information harvested by this contest will add depth to the profiles already circulating about you. Your contacts, their votes, compose an intelligence lattice.

For spooks, the password all participants are required to conjure, simply to vote, may bear no resemblance to the pattern of passwords they use. Although it probably does. Just as might your pet’s name.

Here’s the panel to register for the contest. You can’t collect a check if you give a fake address. And they have a cute chiding about your email too.

It may not matter too that university research labs can find out where to find Fido, as long as they don’t make house calls. I found it a little distressing that the contest entry form asked for your full address, but that apartment or unit number were optional. Would-be pet borrowers are probably deterred by the security of apartment buildings.

When pets do go missing, and their owners surround their neighborhood with Lost Pet fliers, the usual suspects are antifreeze, or abductors who supply private research labs.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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