Monday, 27 January 2014

Sorry, Mini Rant Time (And On A Monday Too. My Bad)

I'm really uncomfortable with targeted advertising.

One of the courses that had a lot of influence on how I think, and especially how I think about advertising was a sociology course with the brilliant Dr Koenig.  At one point, he talked about how the "bonus" cards that stores had were really just to track your purchases so that they could use your info (demographics) to then target advertising at you more effectively.

I avoided these cards for ages, but finally caved when I realized I wasn't paying attention to advertising anyway, and I could get "free" money discounts with the points.

But now it's the internet that's doing it, and it's really disturbing.

Well, I suppose it's google really, (and everyone it now owns... ) but I can sort of handle it when I email a friend about how nice their garden looks and text ads for "Local Gardeners" show up in the side bar.

I had a harder time when I started looking at random YouTube videos and the ad that came on before (don't get me started on how much I hate being forced to watch ads on YouTube!) started with "Hey Victoria" (as in the city... not me personally!) and I really didn't like that.

But the one that really pushed me over the edge was this last one.  It was in the side bar of YouTube, and it was an ad for a website that I'd visited lately.

And the pictures on the ad were the three items I'd looked at on that website.  The three exact skirts I'd checked out.  Just "magically" there on this ad.

I really, really, really, really don't like being tracked.

And I don't like it shoved back in my face either.

I know I can't really expect privacy on the internet, or anonymity particularly, really, but this?  This force feeding me WHAT I WILL BUY!!!!!! really turns me off.

And disturbs me.

And makes me want to put another layer of tin-foil on my already quite thick tin-foil hat.



Blogger Jonathan said...

YouTube is free because people pay to target advertising at you. Following this line of thinking, I'm amazed you still use Blogger - because Google will be associating every single word you publish through Blogger with you, and using that to target ads.

I don't have a problem with them doing it (because it's anonymised), but if you do you should really checkout either Posthaven, or Ghost.

Monday, January 27, 2014 2:34:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

But it used to be ad free too and that's what bugs me!

I still use Blogger because I hate change and it works well enough ;)

Monday, January 27, 2014 7:00:00 pm  
Anonymous Definitely not Dominic said...

Books you might like to read:

# Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr

# Storm Front



Tuesday, January 28, 2014 1:10:00 am  
Blogger Dominic said...

Targeted ads are a mixed blessing. I definitely don't miss the "punch the monkey" days, nor the hit-and-miss days of adverts for lingerie, cosmetics, and other such things I had no interest in buying.

That said, it freaks me out when I do something like click on a Facebook post on my tablet and then see related ads popping up on my PC browser.

A subtle removal of ads you're not interested in is fine by me, but the blatant "Look at this stuff we know you're interested in!" such as in your post isn't. It's also self-defeating: if you resent the ads being displayed, why would you click them?

I recently jailbroke my tablet and installed Adblock Plus, so now none of the apps can show me ads. It's genuinely transformed the experience. If you're not using at least a browser with Adblock, I can recommend it. And there's a bunch of "Do Not Track" extensions you might also be interested in looking up..

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 1:15:00 am  
Blogger Victoria said...


Well that's what's interesting to me Dominic, the ads are so annoying, I will never be interested in the product and might actually actively avoid it! And, yeah, I guess I should look into adblock and such.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 6:58:00 pm  

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