I have written previously about the connection between cookies, and receiving targeted advertising. It is only to be expected, in our modern online world.
But it is getting better, and more detailed. There is ample evidence to show just how immediate and powerful it is.
Over the course of the last twelve months, I have had occasion to research things online. Subjects I would not normally investigate. For my serial ‘Benny Goes Bust’, I looked at the phenomenon of ‘Granny Glamour’, something that has an overwhelming following on Internet search engines. Within minutes, I received invitations for sites that dealt with ‘Granny Dating’, ‘Granny Sex’, and ‘Willing Grannies’. The only real surprise, was just how many ‘Grannies’ were out there. In various forms of undress, and in many manifestations of ‘old-age sex’.
More recently, I have noticed that whatever I search for, that subject will appear in seconds, either via email, or in a ‘pop-up’ when I am surfing any site, no matter how unrelated.
Not too long ago, I bought a pair of casual shoes, from the website of the manufacturers, ‘Crocs’. Seconds later, I checked my email, only to find numerous advertisements for Croc shoes, even though I had just bought them. And they were identical to those I had bought too. When it comes to the mighty Amazon, it is even faster. Buy something from that dominant website, and within a heartbeat, you will get emails suggesting that you buy exactly the same item again.
This is all driven by ‘Algorithms’, I am aware of that. But what kind of silly process decides that you will buy exactly the same thing again, five minutes after you have just ordered it?
I recently researched ‘Omega Seamaster’ watches, for a fiction serial. Moments later, my email inbox was full of jeweller’s advertisements for that very watch. I had to laugh, as they cost almost £2,000, far beyond my reach. Those algorithms are completely skewed, but the companies paying to be included are oblivious to the actual genuine market for their products. It may not be a problem for me. I can just delete the emails. But I am left wondering about all the time and money wasted, picking up on search engines, and sending targeted emails.
So this is an open letter, to all those companies paying a small fortune for ‘targeted’ advertising.
Forget it. It is pointless, and it won’t work.