EDIT: Less than an hour after this post went live, Mike at Nerve reached out to me to apologize. This post has also been featured on The Consumerist. Here’s his note:
So, there are all these horror stories floating around the Internet about people who find themselves in social advertisements via the assets they’ve contributed through their online profiles. They seem sort of funny and almost unreal.
And then it happened to me.
A friend of mine in Chicago found my image, twinned with this tampon story (of all the things in the world). I signed up for a Nerve.com profile a few months ago, and stopped using it after about a week because of it’s neutered functionality, and the fact that it seemed like diet OKCupid. To be honest, I just forgot about the thing.
Until now. Obviously.
When I signed up, they didn’t make it clear (AT ALL) that my face and profile could be used as advertising imagery. Upon visiting “settings”, I was able to see that a box had been checked to make my face usable in advertising. Users should be able to opt out of these services easily, and it should be made clear from the get go that their imagery could be used like this.
I promptly deleted my Nerve account. Although I should’ve been more careful, no company should bury the fact that they’re doing this. And while I’d expect this to happen with networks like Facebook and Google+, an online dating site? Really? While I personally don’t care, given the stigma that sometimes exists with online dating, why would Nerve consider embarrassing its users?
And on top of that - serving my face to a girl in Chicago? Hey Nerve, I think your advertising tracking is probably off a little bit. Just by a few states and a time zone. No big deal.