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Passive Profiling

Passive Profiling allows you to use metadata for the purpose of tracking users’ site activity. Plain Black urges extreme caution if using Passive Profiling on your system. Passive profiling is illegal in many areas, and frowned upon in most others. While we advise against it, this feature is available in WebGUI.

Passive profiling works with metadata, so references to the Metadata chapter will be made for the sake of clarification in this chapter. Before beginning you must enable both metadata and passive profiling. Enabling metadata is explained at the beginning of the Metadata chapter; enabling passive profiling is done in much the same way. Click on Settings in the Admin Console.


In the User tab of the “Settings” screen set the “Enable passive profiling?” field to Yes. A disclaimer will appear ensuring you understand the repercussions of using passive profiling; once you agree to it, click save.

In the Metadata chapter the metadata property “isgolfrelated” was used. With passive profiling every time a user views an article that has the metadata isgolfrelated, it will increment a counter saying a user has looked at a golf related article, increasing the user’s rank for that activity. Tracking user activity in this way can be useful on commerce sites. If a site sees that a user frequently looks at golf related articles the site will know to display golf related merchandise to the user.


SQL Reports can be built to tell you about your users’ browsing habits. Another way to do this is to use passive profiling in conjunction with metadata. In the previous chapter on metadata, metadata was used in a shortcut of an article. Now, a passive profiling macro can be added to that shortcut.

To do so, once again click on the Edit tab of the shortcut toolbar.

In the “Criteria” field enter the AOIRank macro: ^AOIRank(metadataproperty,somevalue); This will track the rank of an areas of interest viewed on the site. In this example you can see an AOIRank macro has been entered for isgolfrelated or isbaseballrelated, meaning the system will track a user’s area of interest (AOI) in assets related to golf or baseball. The AOIRank macro will return a true value if assets containing metadata of isgolfrelated are the number 1 thing that this person views, OR if assets containing the metadata of isbaseballrelated are the number one type of assets viewed.

Another macro related to passive profiling and used in SQL Reports is the ^AOIHits macro. The ^AOIHits macro tells how many hits a user has in this area. So, how many times the user has viewed golf related assets or baseball related assets. In an SQL Report you can user greater than statements. If a number of hits is greater than “somenumber” then display “this.”

Keywords: content profiling metadata

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