This week, online furniture retailer Wayfair confirmed that the company is testing a new program that will help them identify the telephone numbers of some of their customers and call them to help them with the shopping process.
According to Wayfair, the program is currently being tested with less than one percent of their customers and everyone who receives a call first receives an email to explain the program.
The program is part of a growing trend of online retailers calling customers on their sites to encourage them to continue with a purchase.
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The only furniture retailer tests a new program on less than one percent of its customers, where it calls them while they browse the website to help with shopping
StubHub appears to have a similar program to reach customers who visit their site, according to a report from CNBC.
Twitter user Adam Markon wrote a message about his experience with the StubHub program.
& # 39; Hello. Uh. @StubHub. Did you just * call me * about the cards I looked at? & # 39; He posted today.
"I never remember giving you permission to use my phone number this way, and that kind of tracking + immediate action is pretty invasive."
Earlier this year, Dave Kerpen had a similar experience with StubHub to purchase tickets for a New York Mets game.
He decided that all available tickets were too expensive, so he decided to skip the game, but StubHub called him almost as soon as he closed the app and offered him a five percent discount on the tickets.
Online ticket seller StubHub called some users after searching for tickets and offering extra discounts
"It was surprising because I didn't even realize they had my phone number," Kerpen told CNBC.
"If it scares me, it probably scares most people."
According to Twitter user Josh G. Johnson, T-Mobile seems to have a similar program.
Ariel Dumas, a popular writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, posted on Twitter about her own shock when she was contacted by Wayfair while using their site.
"I look at Wayfair and my phone just rang – an unknown number," she wrote.
"I picked it up and it was a Wayfair employee who said they noticed that I was surfing their scary Halloween on their website."
In a statement to CNBC, a Wayfair spokesperson said that they do & # 39; not make outgoing phone calls based on real-time site activity & # 39 ;.
The company did not comment on the type of site activity or other types of customer activity that triggered the calls.
Ariel Dumas, a writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, received a call from Wayfair while she was browsing their website
The Wayfair phone call was not an automated message or a recording, but a live person who offered to help with the Dumas shopping experience
Dumas tried to explain how nervous the experience was for Wayfair's customer service
The telephone help when shopping at Wayfair appears to come from a Massachusetts area code
The messages from Dumas on Twitter provided a number of answers from people who had similar experiences with Wayfair and other retailers
A number of people had thought that the phone call from the Massachusetts area code would be a call from Elizabeth Warren, so they answered it instead of sending it to voicemail
The Staples office supplies seem to use a similar tracking program
A possible explanation for the operation of the program is tracking plug-ins built into the site, one of which is provided by Neustar.
These plug-ins for user tracking are nowadays an inescapable part of surfing the internet.
Traditionally websites use these tracking tools to collect information about their audience in order to increase their advertising sales.
The tracking tools can log the phone number of a user if they enter it in a web form on a site where the trackers are active, after which it is linked to their profile.
Some industry professionals say that such programs alienate users as often as they encourage them to complete a transaction.
"The last thing a brand wants to do is frighten and eliminate someone because they look creepy," Bryan Forbes of IN Connected Marketing told CNBC.
Security company reveals that Google trackers are most common on the 50 best websites on the internet
Security company VPNpro has revealed that Google trackers are the most common on the 50 best websites on the internet.
After counting those found on popular websites such as Amazon, Reddit and WordPress, they found that Google had five times more trackers on the sites than the number two.
The total of 97 third-party cookies was followed by Facebook and Yahoo, both with 18 and Adobe with 13.
Speaking of the results, the researcher who collected the data, Kevin Marlowe said: & We all know that the consideration for free content or services is the use of our personal data for advertising purposes.
& # 39; However, I think many people will falter because of the huge amount of data collected by many popular websites.
& # 39; There is really no need to use so many trackers. Every time a third party is involved, the risk increases that your information will be shared with more companies. This considerably reduces people's privacy and security. & # 39;
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