Archive for MoviePass

MoviePass CEO Says He Was “Completely Inaccurate” About App Tracking….. Sure

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 13, 2018 by itnerd

Color me skeptical, but when I hear this statement from MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe, my natural tendency is to not buy into what he’s saying:

In an interview with Variety on Monday, Lowe said he was mistaken about what data the MoviePass app actually collected. “I said something completely inaccurate as far as what we are doing,” he said. “We only locate customers when they use the app.”

He added, “If you get in your car and drive five miles, we don’t know where you are or where you are going.”

Hmmmm….. Let’s contrast that statement with what he said about the MoviePass app a not so long ago:

“We know all about you,” he said at the keynote, appropriately titled “Data is the New Oil: How Will MoviePass Monetize It?”

The data collection information elicited some nervous laughs from the industry crowd, many of whom raised their hands to show they were MoviePass subscribers.

“We get an enormous amount of information,” he said, noting the company knows subscribers’ addresses and can glean demographic information based on where they live. The company also can track subs via the app and a phone GPS.

“We watch how you drive from home to the movies,” he said. “We watch where you go afterwards.”

So… Either he’s completely out to lunch, or he’s trying to spin this in some way so as to make this whole gong show go away. Seeing as his PR’s department lame attempt to walk his statement back failed. Oh yeah. What about the update of their iOS app to remove “unused app location capability”?

Lowe said the app never activated the “track all the time” capability. “We never used it, and it was confusing to have it there,” Lowe said.

Here’s the bottom line. From my point of view, he was very confident in his original statement. Then he thought it was a great idea to double down on that statement. When those blew up in his face, he suddenly says his statements weren’t correct? Sorry, nobody is going to buy what he’s selling. Though some people may buy what he’s smoking as it clearly alters reality. Jokes aside, the bridge that he just burned behind him is the trust of his user base, which isn’t going to get rebuilt anytime soon if ever.

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MoviePass Disables Location Tracking After Epic Blowback

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 8, 2018 by itnerd

I guess that MoviePass bragging about how much money can it can make off of location tracking that they didn’t tell anybody about, followed by coming out with a lame statement to defend it didn’t work. I say that because Variety is reporting that location tracking has been disabled in the MoviePass app for iOS:

MoviePass removed a feature from its iOS app that let the company track the location of customers, responding to privacy fears stoked by the CEO’s recent comments.

According to the notes about the iOS update released March 7, the new version of the MoviePass app (version 3.0.6) has “removed unused app location capability.”

In a statement late Wednesday, the company said: “Today, MoviePass released a new app update, including the removal of some unused app location capabilities. While part of our vision includes using location-based marketing to enhance the moviegoing experience for our members, we aren’t using some of that functionality today. Our members will always have the option to choose the location-based services that are right for them today and in the future.”

So…. What does that mean? I read that as there’s still location tracking. But the more objectionable features have been removed. But that’s just a guess. Some transparency on this would be welcome. But I don’t see it coming from MoviePass. But we’ll see.

MoviePass Puts Out A Lame Statement After Epic Blowback

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 7, 2018 by itnerd

Earlier this week I spoke about MoviePass who were proud of how much they track your movements in ways that aren’t listed in their privacy policy. I’m guessing that the blowback was epic because via The Verge, they put out this statement:

At MoviePass our vision is to build a complete night out at the movies. We are exploring utilizing location-based marketing as a way to help enhance the overall experience by creating more opportunities for our subscribers to enjoy all the various elements of a good movie night. We will not be selling the data that we gather. Rather, we will use it to better inform how to market potential customer benefits including discounts on transportation, coupons for nearby restaurants, and other similar opportunities. Our larger goal is to deliver a complete moviegoing experience at a price anyone can afford and everyone can enjoy.

I might be missing something, but it sounds like they’re looking for a way to monetize the data without selling it. How does that work precisely? I don’t get it. It truly sounds like spin that they hope will make this go issue go away. But it won’t.

Oh, here’s a pro tip. Lifehacker has instructions on how to stop MoviePass from tracking you and deprive them of the cash that they don’t deserve. Assuming of course you really want to use this app at all.

MoviePass Tracks Your Location In Ways Not Mentioned In Their Privacy Policy

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 6, 2018 by itnerd

Let me introduce you to an app called MoviePass. The $9.95 a month service which is driven by an app on your phone allows subscribers to attend one screening per day at participating theaters. It kind of sounds interesting. But you may want to think twice about using it because MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe told an audience at a Hollywood event last Friday that the app tracks moviegoers’ locations before and after each show they watch:

“We know all about you,” he said at the keynote, appropriately titled “Data is the New Oil: How Will MoviePass Monetize It?”

The data collection information elicited some nervous laughs from the industry crowd, many of whom raised their hands to show they were MoviePass subscribers.

“We get an enormous amount of information,” he said, noting the company knows subscribers’ addresses and can glean demographic information based on where they live. The company also can track subs via the app and a phone GPS.

“We watch how you drive from home to the movies,” he said. “We watch where you go afterwards.”

That sort of data fits into a long-term revenue plan.

Here’s the problem with that statement. What this doofus said isn’t in the company’s privacy policy for the app. If you read the section on location tracking, it says that the app discloses only a “single request” when selecting a theater, which will “only be used as a means to develop, improve, and personalize the service.” There’s nothing about tracking you before or after the movie that you decide to see.

#Fail

Now I wasn’t born yesterday and I am fully aware that apps share all sorts of info about me to a whole bunch of entities. But to not put it in your privacy policy is a great way to become the victim of a backlash from those who would not be thrilled about that. Not to mention that it would likely run afoul of privacy and data security standards like GDPR in the EU or PIPEDA in Canada. But I am a computer nerd, not a lawyer. In any case, I suspect Mr. Lowe is about to figure out that his desire to monetize his business in a less than upfront way is a great way to be put out of business in a hurry when users choose not to use his app.