Short answer. Yes. And it has been for a long time. But it is getting quite good at it these days.
I only buy one type of shirt. So when I saw a 25% off coupon for that shirt on Twitter, I went to that website and bought one. Which I had been meaning to do anyways. All good. Thank you Twitter.
Then I went to CapeWP.com’s nemesis. Yep, Facebook. And sure enough, there at the top of the right hand column was an ad for that same shirt. Coincidence? Nope. The Internet reads my mind. And it knows where I have been.
And guess what? It reads yours too 🙂 Whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not, you are tracked. And the accuracy is getting spookily better as time goes on.
I think I’ll ask Google what I had for lunch 🙂
All in all, this is simply the reality in today’s digital world. Even the fierceness of a small company like CapeWP.com may not be enough to stop the force that is Internet Advertising. (but it won’t be for lack of trying!)
But let’s at least take a good hard look at what is going on. Not really an easy thing to do as the space is changing so rapidly. Seems on one level we are trading information about ourselves and our habits for convenience. And a possible deal. (before I buy almost anything online, I Google for a coupon for that item. I have saved hundreds of dollars by doing this.) I highly recommend this action. It takes about 5 minutes. This is a good tip!
Have you noticed on TV how you will be watching a show and the channel will pop up a large banner ad advertising ANOTHER show? So they do not even wait these days for a break in the show, they simply advertise during the show. And this does not even address product placement.
I LOVE the show Hawaii Five Oh. The new version. However, it does not get past me that it is practically an hour-long commercial for Microsoft with all their Windows 8 tablet and Windows Phone products they use through the show. You can rest assured that Microsoft is paying that show a big fat boatload of money for that product placement.
I guess the takeaway here is that ads pretty much are with us forever. Part of our capitalist system at work. It is the lines that the companies cross that is offensive. I like watching baseball. But the shot where they show the batter up at the plate usually has no less that 12 various logos and ads peppered throughout. They have no shame.
We must be vigilant. Remember, if Facebook could, they would put chips in your friends brains that would cause them to “recommend” certain “sponsored” products 3 times per hour or something like that. I wonder what the show “Mad Men” would look like if the cameras were put in the offices of Madison Avenue today? Maybe alot like Facebook.
Which really brings me full circle that it is more important than ever for each of us to have a place on the web that is under OUR control, and no one else’s. WordPress got started initially as a way of democratizing publishing, and has not wavered from that purpose. Much due to the unwavering vision of Matt Mullenweg.
The Digital Outlaw, keeping the Internet safe for us all.
And a Happy Memorial Day to all! Let us give remembrance to all the soldiers.