The patent's assignee is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "One of the more important benefits of the current Internet-based world in which we live is mass customization. Exploitation of the mass customization afforded by intelligent interaction with customers through the Internet has led to a large number of successful 'long tail' business models. Thus, the ability to customize the experience of each user of Internet-based services is now well-recognized as very important and very valuable.
"Of course, such customization requires identification of the user before the experience can be customized for that user. Accordingly, the user's experience is rather generic until the user has taken the additional step of identifying herself. In addition, identification of the user typically involves what is generally known as personally identifiable information (PII). While many users enjoy the heavily customized experience, many also perceive the aggregation and storage of PII to be a bit creepy and to present significant privacy concerns. As a result, the law in this area is currently in a state of flux and varies according to jurisdiction. This raises significant uncertainty for business models that rely on capturing PII data capture.
"In many cases, aggregation of PII is performed by servers that are carefully configured to safeguard the privacy of the PII and to use such PII only in legally appropriate ways. Such servers are sometimes referred to as off-line data aggregators. The management of these specialized servers and the manner in which they safeguard and disseminate data are continuously subject to revision for compliance with developing privacy laws. Such management significantly raises the overhead costs of operating as an off-line data aggregator of PII.
"Given these costs and related risks, a network-based business model which has a primary purpose other than aggregation of PII could benefit from technology that exploits the value of PII without assuming the attendant liability."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "In accordance with the disclosed subject matter, the observation that individual computer devices tend to be used by just a few, and often only one, user is leveraged to provide user behavior data based on the identity of the device alone. As a result, the user's experience can be customized according to prior behavior of the user prior to the user being identified directly through PII.
"When first interacting with a user through a client device, a server obtains an identifier of the client device, e.g., a digital fingerprint of the client device, and uses the identifier of the client device to request data representing prior behavior of the user. To reduce privacy concerns, the data requested can be non-PII data.
"Data of user behavior aggregated by an off-line data aggregator is associated with device identifiers of client devices through which users are authenticated. As a result, a record is maintained of user behavior through each client device. Therefore, subsequent interaction with the server can be customized by using the identifier of the client device to retrieve data representing previous behavior of the user to enable customization of the user's experience according to the previous behavior without first requiring the user to identify herself.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"Other systems, methods, features and advantages of the disclosed subject matter will be or will become apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following figures and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the invention, and be protected by the accompanying claims. Component parts shown in the drawings are not necessarily to scale, and may be exaggerated to better illustrate the important features. In the drawings, like reference numerals may designate like parts throughout the different views, wherein:
"FIG. 1 is a diagram showing a client computer, a server computer, an off-line data aggregator, and a device-indexed data server that cooperate to provide a customized user experience prior to user authentication in accordance with one embodiment of the disclosed subject matter.
"FIG. 2 is a transaction diagram illustrating one embodiment according to the disclosed subject matter of a method by which the device-indexed data server and server computer of FIG. 1 cooperate to provide a customized user experience through the client prior to user authentication.
"FIG. 3 is a logic flow diagram showing a step of the transaction flow diagram of FIG. 2 in greater detail.
"FIG. 4 is a block diagram showing the device-indexed data server of FIG. 1 in greater detail.
"FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a device-indexed user data record managed by the device-indexed data server of FIG. 4 in greater detail.
"FIG. 6 is a transaction diagram illustrating one embodiment according to the disclosed subject matter of a method by which the device-indexed data server, off-line data aggregator, and server computer of FIG. 1 cooperate to record an association of the user and the client computer device of FIG. 1 for later use in the manner shown in FIG. 2.
"FIG. 7 is a transaction diagram illustrating one embodiment according to the disclosed subject matter of a method by which the device-indexed data server and server computer of FIG. 1 cooperate to record an association of the user and the client computer device of FIG. 1 for later use in the manner shown in FIG. 2."
For additional information on this patent application, see: Brentano,
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