Attensity hasn't done this for a retailer directly, but it is working with two chains through Teradata. When Catherine van Zuylen, Attensity’s VP of global product management, was asked how she feels about the privacy ethics of doing these searches and associations, she paused and said wisely: "We just make the tools. It's really up to the individual retailers to use those tools for good or evil." Didn't Maxwell Smart say that?
As companies start to make inroads into mining the vast social data fields, early strategies are emerging. For example, one company—Attensity—says the best course is not to take a customer database and try and match it with social profiles floating around. It's better to do the reverse—find the data in Social Land, look for helpful datapoints and then try and match it with the customer list. Why is that approach better? It's more efficient. The discovered useful datapoints are valuable on their own, even without a customer match.