November 14, 2015

Targeted advertising fail

A few days ago I wanted to add a suggestion for a product to a thread on So I hit google with a few keywords and found the thing at LL Bean. I linked to it, and done. (And as I think about it, the link I followed was one of those "sponsored search results.)

Now I keep getting ads for that thing at LL Bean on web sites all over the place. They're using Google for their ads, and Google has decided that I want to buy thousands of copies of this gizmo.

They aren't giving me "things which are similar", they're giving me the exact thing I linked to originally. It would be annoying if it weren't so funny.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 10:50 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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1 For a few months after I'd purchased a new chair, Google kept showing me chair advertisements...

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at November 15, 2015 12:13 AM (v29Tn)

2 Using anything on the web these days is like making eye contact with a salesman in a mall kiosk.  The dumbest thing is buying something at an e-commerce site and then seeing their ads for the next six months.  Now they just spent their profit from my order reminding me about the thing I already have.

Posted by: ForgottenBoy at November 15, 2015 01:11 AM (aOdCZ)

3 Adblock Plus, Ghostery or some other Google Analytics blocker.
I turn off the Adblocker on sites I like/trust, but, otherwise, most webpages are coded like junk these days.  15 instances of Flash should never be on a webpage.  (Not that I have Flash running actively either.  It of major security issues now.)
The Internet really did used to be a more enjoyable place.  And I'm not even old yet!

Posted by: sqa at November 15, 2015 03:33 AM (ZZT0u)

4 The problem isn't, I think, created by the buying. The ads are responding to your search prior to the purchase. I haven't noticed any difference between the rate at which I see ads for something depending on whether I went ahead and bought it, but searching for it, especially on amazon? Big time effect.
You can actually game that; Do an occasional search for something on Amazon, and it will skew your ads in favor of it. Want ads for classical paintings? Search for them on Amazon.

Posted by: Brett Bellmore at November 15, 2015 03:45 AM (l55xw)


um... I'm not looking for solutions. I don't see those ads most of the time because I am indeed using an ad blocker (Proxomitron). But sometimes I have to turn it off because otherwise certain sites won't load, and that's the only time I see those targetted ads.

Also, I didn't buy the gizmo; I just searched for it and clicked through.

(Please keep in mind how I feel about unsolicited suggestions and advice.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 15, 2015 08:56 AM (+rSRq)

6 In my case I specifically did *not* use Google; but if the site uses their tracker you're chucked right back into the same pool.  So I'm an ideal customer - I remember their name and type it into a browser - and they squander that and annoy me as well.

The general creepiness of this is disturbing, but still nothing compared to what Facebook users seem to accept as normal.

Posted by: ForgottenBoy at November 15, 2015 10:45 AM (aOdCZ)

7 The thing about, say, Amazon's recommendations that really grinds my gears is all the redundant products.

Mikeski: Hey Amazon, I wanna buy "Relayer" by Yes.

Amazon: You might like "Fragile" by Yes.

Mikeski: Yup, "I own it", actually.

Amazon: Well then!! You might like this more-recent reissue of Fragile. And this less-recent reissue of Fragile. You might like this import edition of Fragile. You might like this Yes box set; it has Fragile AND Relayer. Both! How about the Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs remaster of Fragile? Vinyl version, maybe?

Mikeski: Your algorithm needs some tuning. (Edit recommendations, "Not Interested"...)

Posted by: Mikeski at November 15, 2015 06:27 PM (hAtXl)

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Also, I hate unsolicited suggestions and advice. (Even when you think you're being funny.)

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