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Keep your marketing department out of my iPod

Well, Sippey’s publishing stuff on Stating the Obvious again, offering up some possible next steps for Apple’s iPod, including making it more like TiVo:

Imagine similar functionality on the iPod: when you sync your catalog with iTunes, the device uses iSync to fetch new content to insert into the iPod UI: headline news, sports scores, weather reports…as well as promotional content for the Music store, quick surveys, email program opt-ins, third party ads, etc. Give the user the ability to opt out of the marketing content, of course, but provide micro-incentives like’s nickel-incentive trivia program towards song purchases at the Music Store.

Great idea and pretty much inevitable, but the suggestion of it makes me want to hop on a plane to SF and strangle the responsible party. I see ads when I pee. I pay to watch ads at the movie theatre. Most television programming is filler for advertising (which explains why most of TV sucks). Many magazines are mostly advertising. MTV is 100% advertising. The Post-It Notes on my desk are from Barclay’s Capital. Clothing without prominent advertising printed on it is getting difficult to find. I am marketed to and advertised to everywhere I go. So now I’m supposed to sit through promotions โ€” while draining my battery, BTW โ€” each time I turn on my iPod?

Of course not…the user will have “the ability to opt out of the marketing content”. Given that in the entire history of capitalism, this has happened very few times, I’m understandably more than a little cynical on that reassurance. I guess if anyone could pull off a good balance between the utility of such a system to the user (which could be considerable) and the annoyance factor, it would be Apple (or Google). But that’s a pretty big if.

I’m an iPod owner. Owner. I own it. It’s mine. It’s not Apple’s, BMG’s, or Universal’s. It’s mine. I can put whatever I want on it, be it music or anything else that I can fit into its 15 gigabytes. As Cory found with his T-Mobile Sidekick, purchasing a device that relies on a service/interface/whatever that is controlled by someone else is not ownership. Such rented devices (TiVo springs to mind) can be extremely useful, but perhaps not so good in the long term (what happens when TiVo goes out of business?). If Apple is pushing me advertisements and marketing which I can’t opt out of and are draining *my* battery while I look at them and taking up *my* hard drive space, is my iPod really mine or is it Apple’s? Will there continue to be a market for hardware that the buyer completely owns or โ€” because it makes more money for the companies producing the hardware โ€” will everything I “own” in the future (telephone, DVD player, DVR, music player, cell phone, PDA, PC, refrigerator, television, washing machine, &c.) be dependant on a service for its continued operation?