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Lexus' Trial Balloon On Car Spam

from the oh-please-don't dept

Lexus has announced plans to roll out a system that will allow the company to send audio messages to its cars, which most people immediately realized meant we should get ready for spam in our cars. It's pretty obvious that's what Lexus is thinking when it says things like: "messages can be highly targeted, such as tailored for those who have a specific vehicle type or who live in a particular ZIP code." However, the company is obviously sensitive to the spam issue, saying that "We're not going to barrage customers with marketing messages," and noting that some may not want this: "Many of our owners enjoy their car as a cocoon." The whole thing sounds like a trial balloon idea to see how people react, and so far it doesn't sound good. You could see some potentially useful situation -- such as in the event of a recall, but the likelihood of someone in marketing getting a "brilliant idea" for some extra revenue and pissing off a lot of people just seems too high.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Rich Kulawiec, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 1:43pm

    What an extraordinarily bad idea

    Of course, if Lexus can send these messages, then so can any other sufficiently-clever person.

     

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  2.  
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    Dave, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 1:46pm

    At least Toyota/Lexus Innovates...

    ...which is saying more than the Big 3 Status Quo Manufacturers. The very same manufacturers we are all part owners in. But yeah, to know Lexus is at the bleeding-edge of technology, understands it, and isn't going to use it for marketing. Hopefully the customer has the ability to disable it or rip it from the dashboard. I can see it now...

    (Imitation of HAL 9000 Voice:) Hi Dave. It seems a little warmer in the cabin than normal. Would you like a 32-ounce Slurpee from the 7-11 on the left? Based on traffic, you'll still get to your appointment on time.

     

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  3.  
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    Evil Mike, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 1:46pm

    Good Uses...?

    There is the possibility of such a thing being used for "emergency alerts" and such, tornado warnings, amber alerts, etc... things that one should be hearing regardless of whether or not you're listening to a CD or your iPod...

     

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  4.  
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    DS78, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 2:04pm

    No

    In MY car I decide what I need to be listening to. It'll be cold day in hell indeed...

     

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  5.  
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    usmcdvldg, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 2:22pm

    SO WHAT if its for MARKETING?

    For a site that displays the worlds "instead of comming up with innovative business models" far more times than I can count, this seems highly critical of a new idea.


    Ow wait, i get it, Lexus isn't trying to enforce rules you don't like so they shouldn't be innovative.

     

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  6.  
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    Matt (profile), Jan 9th, 2009 @ 2:22pm

    2 problems

    1: abuse by lexus
    2: abuse by others

    end result: nobody wants this, period.

    When will people figure out that plenty of people just do not want any form of advertising other than word-of mouth from trusted friends or funny/interesting ads, which still aren't guaranteed to work? This is because crappy or pointless or intrusive ads are the norm, not the exception.

    Shoving an ad in your car that you can't get away from bar nothing except turning off your stereo is extremely intrusive. Imagine if this was a video or something, that managed to cause an accident even if it could "only go off when not moving" causing someone to get rear ended/etc (not that any of us would be surprised).

    It is for this reason that the crappiest and also the shadiest products have the strongest/most abusive marketing - because they're not good enough to sell themselves. Examples: Microsoft, IDT energy, Intel, Ford, Chrysler.

    If you sell someone a lexus and already have salespeople to follow up with them when it's time to get another, why sell side-products? Sheesh. Lexus knows exactly what they are doing: selling out to make a buck.

    Watch lexus in the next few years, they're going to go downhill before they recover, clearly.

     

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  7.  
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    usmcdvldg, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 2:31pm

    Re: 2 problems

    Way to assume the worst

    What if Lexus would sell you a $60k car for $25k if you allowed them to play a 30sec commercial every time you got in.

    Or what if that car your leasing for $550 dollars a month was discounted by $300 as long as you drove at least 60 times a month.

    Listen you bandwagon jumpers, no ones going to buy a car that has something as intrusive as your imagining so its not like a car company is going to force this down anyone's neck.

    But this is the same kind of concept that has made youtube so successful. The king that this site should be applauding.

     

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  8.  
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    hegemon13, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 2:31pm

    Re: SO WHAT if its for MARKETING?

    Why is it a problem? Because installing such a system benefits only Lexus, not the car owner. In addition, once I have purchased a car, no one, including the manufacturer, has the right to interfere with my right to use it as I see fit. It is my car, and if I want peace and quiet, they have NO right to barge in with marketing messages. This would be a purely anti-consumer move by Lexus, and Mike has every right to criticize it. I think Lexus would be opening themselves up to major lawsuits by implementing this.

     

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  9.  
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    usmcdvldg, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Re: SO WHAT if its for MARKETING?

    Way to assume the worst

    What if Lexus would sell you a $60k car for $25k if you allowed them to play a 30sec commercial every time you got in.

    Or what if that car your leasing for $550 dollars a month was discounted by $300 as long as you drove at least 60 times a month.

    Listen you bandwagon jumpers, no ones going to buy a car that has something as intrusive as your imagining so its not like a car company is going to force this down anyone's neck.

    But this is the same kind of concept that has made youtube so successful. The king that this site should be applauding.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    usmcdvldg, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Re: SO WHAT if its for MARKETING?

    OMG

    And secondly, we're talking about a CAR. If through some extreme case of retardation, Lexas did make a car that had a system that was as intrusive as you imagine, and(and this is a big contingent) someone was STUPID enough to PAY LEXUS money for it; How f'in long do you think it would be before you could get the retarded thing removed. I can have a computer controlled speed limiter removed from my car for $30, but this thing would be permanent right???


    YOU IDIOT

     

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  11.  
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    joe, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 3:09pm

    "someone was stupid enough to pay Lexus money"

    hmmm . . . let's see now, there are all these free broadcast television networks with thousands of outlets, all free because it's supported by advertising. Then along comes cable Oh, sure you you pay a monthly fee for cable, but at least it's without commercials . . . right? What? You say it has at least as many commercials as broadcast TV, maybe more? Well, then how about movies? You go to theater, pay $10 to $12 for an unreserved seat, stand in line up to an hour before it starts to get a decent seat - but at least there are no commercials right? What? You say there are often 20 or more minutes of commercials that each run for 1 to 2 minutes? And people still pay?

    Well folks, I think I just figured out one solid reason why cable is losing customers to the Internet and why movie theaters are, too. So far, no one can force me to watch commercials on the net - and pay for the privilege.

     

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  12.  
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    alternatives(), Jan 9th, 2009 @ 3:50pm

    Downside risk

    What really was the downside risk for Lexis? How many people who'd drop the coin on the status of a Lexis would LATER say 'because you spammed me, I'm not buying your car in the future'?

    Marketing types are a rude lot - look at Dave Barnes.

     

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  13.  
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    David, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 4:04pm

    @#12 - A car is transportation, not status

    Because you have already sucked down the toxic notion that a car says anything more about you than "I want to get from home to the grocery store and back in one piece." you think Lexus (the car make, not Lexis the news-search service) will do just fine with this.

    Maybe for pinheads who would buy Lexuses in the first place, I guess, if you need that for a phallus-substitute, there are more destructive things on which you could waste money.

    I will say this scheme does not reduce the probability I will every buy a Lexus because that was already as close to zero as a real-world probability can be.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 4:29pm

    I'll be so startled by an ad

    If an unsolicited ad ever comes over my speaker system I'll drive the car into the nearest object (hopefully another expensive car), and sue the sender and the automaker who enabled it for making me lose my focus and crash. That will be the end of that.

     

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  15.  
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    LMAO, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 5:37pm

    Should be Humorous

    Go ahead and implement this.
    It wont be long till the first of many lawsuits.

    drvr: I was distracted by the announcement, and really did not see that before it was too late. It's not MY fault, the stupid car MADE ME DO IT.

    This will lead to laws about driving while being spammed.

    Let the hilarity commence.

     

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  16.  
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    Mike (profile), Jan 9th, 2009 @ 5:50pm

    Re: SO WHAT if its for MARKETING?

    For a site that displays the worlds "instead of comming up with innovative business models" far more times than I can count, this seems highly critical of a new idea.

    I never understand people who make arguments like this. It's as if because we suggest that there are important new business models (and explain a framework to understand why some business models make sense and some don't) we have to immediately love all new business models, no matter how dumb.

    Ow wait, i get it, Lexus isn't trying to enforce rules you don't like so they shouldn't be innovative.

    No, you don't get it. You see mto have a lot of trouble getting it, actually.

    It's a bad idea, so we're going to say it's a bad idea.

     

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  17.  
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    Thomas, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 6:50pm

    Re: Should be Humorous

    the lawyers would LOVE this. look at all the accidents people could blame on the stupid advertisements. For some reason, business think that there is no issue with bombarding people with advertisements ALL the time. As if we didn't have enough advertising to ignore now. There's also a GPS that gives you advertisements and I'd never buy one! A GPS should tell you how to get from a to b, not "why not stop at the starbucks down the street and have coffee?" agh.

     

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  18.  
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    Rekrul, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 8:20pm

    What if Lexus would sell you a $60k car for $25k if you allowed them to play a 30sec commercial every time you got in.

    Assuming I wanted a Lexus, I'd take the lower price and then find someone to cut out the receiver that allows them to send audio messages to that particular car. Failing that, I'd have them completely isolate the audio system so that other than power, there are no outside connections to it. If they designed the car so that it wouldn't operate with the receiver cut off, I'd disconnect the wires to the speakers and stick a portable radio to the dashboard.

    Or what if that car your leasing for $550 dollars a month was discounted by $300 as long as you drove at least 60 times a month.

    So you think it's a good idea that the car company spies on you? Should they also install a GPS system that can be remotely monitored and then give you a lower price if you agree not to drive to areas that they disapprove of? Will your driving habits be sold to marketing companies, like some ISPs do with your surfing habits?

    How about they just hire someone to ride in the back seat of your car at all times, so that they can report back to Lexus where you drive, what times you drive, how good of a driver you are, etc?

     

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  19.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 11:32pm

    Spam In A Car

    Chuck Yeager predicted this years ago...

     

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  20.  
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    Rob, Jan 10th, 2009 @ 11:25pm

    Lexus

    If Lexus does this. They better take off at least $7500 off the price of the car. If I have to listen to it...I want money for it.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2009 @ 6:41am

    Auto Phishing schemes

    I wonder if this will lead to automobile phishing schemes. Bad guy figures out how to send messages to Lexus cars, tells driver he is a cop and needs to meet him at blah address, then the unsuspecting driver gets carjacked.

     

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  22.  
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    Sos, Jan 11th, 2009 @ 2:28pm

    Fifth Element

    Sounds like that scene out of 5th Element when the taxi tells Korben how many points he has left on his license

     

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  23.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 11th, 2009 @ 4:28pm

    Re: At least Toyota/Lexus Innovates...

    At least one portion of Toyota innovates. Ford and Hyundai have taken over the lead in quality from Toyota, and Ford's Fusion is beating Toyota in terms of critic approval for innovation and styling. Of course, Ford continues to have the best selling vehicle in America, 27 years running.

    I wonder whether Toyota is also worried that its precipitous drop in sales, much greater than Ford's has it a bit more worried about continued bland car offerings.

     

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  24.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 11th, 2009 @ 4:31pm

    Re: 2 problems

    Interesting that you should criticize Ford, who has done more than any other car company in improving its quality, finally rolling into the #1 quality spot in initial car quality according to J.D. Powers & Associates. Have you noticed that Toyota has changed their comments about car quality? They no longer tout the best quality of any new car, but their "legendary" (meaning they do not have it any more) quality.

    Ford has done what the people on this site have been suggesting American companies do, get innovative and get better.

     

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  25.  
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    Celes, Jan 12th, 2009 @ 12:08am

    Re: Re: 2 problems

    Wait, what?

    In this J.D. Power article it states that #1 in initial quality is Porsche; luxury cars aside, if you click on the link on that page to see the quality ratings, Toyota ranks 5th (under Porsche, Infiniti, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz) and Ford only 8th. Am I looking at the wrong information?

     

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  26.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 12th, 2009 @ 5:28am

    Re: Re: Re: 2 problems

    Celes:

    I had not seen the 2008 survey. Here is the last survey I reviewed:

    http://money.cnn.com/2007/06/06/autos/jdpa_quality/index.htm

     

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  27.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 12th, 2009 @ 6:18am

    Re: Re: Re: 2 problems

    Celes:

    Here was what caught my eye originally...

    Ford led all automakers with 12 vehicles placing among the top three finishers in the 19 categories in the J.D. Power survey.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2003737480_fordquality07.html

     

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  28.  
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    Mike, Jan 12th, 2009 @ 6:21am

    Hey Mike

    The article you reference implicitly says its there not going to be used in any of the ways you say make it a bad idea, that this is a trial run, and that the driver will have complete control over what messages are heard.

    You managed to not only vastly oversimplify the reference article but to rewrite it in your own image.

    So I'll ask the question straight out. WHAT MAKES THIS A BAD IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! please tell me I would love to know.

    And keep in mind I have read the above article and others, so making stuff up in order to sensationalize it won't do!

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2009 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re: 2 problems

    Interesting that you should criticize Ford, who has done more than any other car company in improving its quality, finally rolling into the #1 quality spot in initial car quality according to J.D. Powers & Associates. Have you noticed that Toyota has changed their comments about car quality? They no longer tout the best quality of any new car, but their "legendary" (meaning they do not have it any more) quality.
    You have got to be kidding. Ford's are generally higher quality than Toyotas? Another fantasy factoid for the books brought to you by Lonnie "The Shill" Holder.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2009 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Hey Mike

    the driver will have complete control over what messages are heard.

    Yeah, they can always put their hands over their ears.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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