Just Stop It: Asking for my Date of Birth

Just Stop itIt’s interesting, government departments in many countries cannot ask for any personal information unless it is needed for the services they provide. Why can internet sites get away with this? Your date of birth is a critical piece of identity information, but it’s absolutely not necessary to register for a website.

A number of websites ask you your birth date as part of their registration process, including – as shown in the above example – Yahoo!

Yahoo! in this case tries to soften the blow by promising to provide me with a “better experience”. Let me translate what that means; they will guess based on your age which ads should be served to you. So if you’re in your thirties, and perhaps visit a baby clothes site, you’ll get baby ads, if you’re over forty five it’ll be hair-loss and menopause remedies. Get older and it’s incontinence pads. As if you couldn’t search for such products without their help.

In my case I lie, I have a birth date that I use as my “internet birthday”. Which means I’ll get the incontinence pad ads a little late.

Happy Birthday Linkedin

LinkedIn turned 10. They’ve produced a lovely timeline of their history to take you through the highlights.

The site has come along way from the early days when functionality was cranky and no-one was there.

In the last year the whole site has been re-designed; it looks sleek, functions well – on all platforms, and is increasingly content-rich. You can a look back at LinkedIn’s past homepages; interesting to see the annual changes that evolved into today’s design.

It’s a site with a future, providing a way for 225 million professionals to collaborate on any subject – I regularly use the groups function to get answers or feedback. And the platform has become a real threat to recruiters as companies can manage more of their recruiting themselves.

When I heard it was 10 I went to check how long I’d been a member (you can find this information under your account settings), and how many people had joined before me (you can find this by checking the number in the URL when you view¬† your own profile).

I was 1,097,773rd person to join LinkedIn, which seems a lot but puts me in the earliest 0.5% of members. I’ll be celebrating the 10th anniversary of my relationship with LinkedIn next year on 13 September. Bring on the champagne!

too early to celebrate