The View Up Here

Random scribblings about kites, photography, machining, and anything else

Why I Don’t Like Targeted Advertising

Posted by Tom Benedict on 10/05/2016

It’s the new “thing” in marketing: targeted advertising. Instead of getting broad-based advertising you may or may not be interested in, advertisers are now contracting with search engines like Google to target their ads to people who are interested in their products. More efficient advertising! It’s great, right?! The way it works is simple: You search for something, then that thing appears on every… freaking… web page… you visit.

Two problems with this scheme: Back when I bought my DR-70D recorder, I did something remarkable. I actually bought it! So for the next three months I got ads trying to get me to buy (drum roll for the oblivious here) another DR-70D recorder! Every time I started a browser it showed up. Buy me. BUY ME! BUY ME!!! Way ahead of you, bro. Now SHUT UP!

But I shouldn’t complain, because at least it meant I wasn’t getting ads for other things during that time. (Oh yeah, it gets worse.)

A little later I was looking for cylindrical mirrors for a project at work. I wasn’t looking for much. Just some Pyrex tubes I could aluminize in our small chamber so I could do some tests. Nothing big, maybe 25mm in diameter. So I searched Google for small Pyrex tubes, and by golly I found some! Just the right diameter, just the right length, just… some part of some sort of heated ultrasonic delivery system or something?

They were replacement tanks for a particular model of e-cig. I really don’t like e-cigs. I really really don’t like them. Among other things kids at the schools around here are using them to inhale THC-laced liquid and exhale the fumes onto other kids. My kids. (I REALLY don’t like these things.)

No problem, right? Just close the search window and find some other source for Pyrex tubes. Never have to think about it again. Simple!

WRONG!

For the past three months I’ve seen ads for e-cigs every time I start up a browser. Hey, I searched for it so I must want to buy it, right? Buy it! BUY IT! E-CIG E-CIG-E-CIG!

I tried searching for other stuff. I tried cameras. I tried microphones. I tried anything that would get that damn e-cig ad off my browser. It didn’t work, though. I just have to wait it out until the damn thing goes away.

This is one of the many reasons why I occasionally go full-throttle Luddite. My #2 pencil never pulled this crap on me.

Tom

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2 Responses to “Why I Don’t Like Targeted Advertising”

  1. James H said

    I get a little peeved about this sort of thing too. My solution is primarily to use an ad-blocker (ublock origin), and I am sure to opt out of all of google’s analytics stuff (https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout). I don’t feel too bad about blocking advertisements, because I have never clicked on one purposefully in my entire life, but there is a long debate to be had on the ethics of ad blockers.

    I am usually logged in to my google account, so in my account preferences, under “control your ads”, I disable all ads based on “interests”. Lets you control this even if you are signed out. Seems to do the trick for me!

    • Tom Benedict said

      SWEEET! Thanks! I didn’t know about that one. Just disabled all interest-based ads and installed the opt-out. I’ll see how that goes before installing the ad-blocker. I used to have one, but some versions back it kind of went defunct. I’ll keep ublock origin in mind.

      Thanks again!

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