Monday, 18 August 2014

Cookie Crumble

A while ago I made a joke via gmail to my brother about his posh new shed, implying it just needed a toilet to complete it. I was a little surprised to find within 24 hours the banner ads on my eBay page comprised little else apart from sheds and ,er, toilets.

Then last week I searched for brown tape on eBay and shortly afterwards a sponsored advert on Facebook loomed into my timeline proffering brown tape and coyly wondering if I may be interested.

Now I think all of us apart from the criminally naive realised that Web 2.0 involved a pact with the devil. The devil provided lots of exciting free services and diversions in return for us letting them know the ins and outs of our cats bottom and inviting targeted advertising. As someone old enough to remember paying Compuserve a small fortune just for a dial-up email account and someone who used to buy Exchange & Mart for light entertainment on train journeys I was quite happy with the deal.

However the tracking of every move by mysterious "cookies" on virtually every web site one visits is starting to get just a little bit spooky. Even the name "cookies" is a euphemistic disguise to make "3rd Party Keyloggers" seem all cute and fluffy. It becomes so normal and pervasive that one gradually forgets how odd it is for Big Brother Google to be keeping such close tabs on one's activities. How does it relate to real life?

In, say, 1984 (30 years ago folks) imagine wandering around Woolworths and constantly being confronted by an annoying sales assistant who lunges out into your path as you proceed through the store.

"I couldn't help noticing you paused briefly to examine our range of toilet brushes. I wonder if you'd care to examine this polypropylene bucket in matching cerise?"

"You spent some time in the pick 'n mix section. Would you like to prepare for the inevitable demise of your teeth by investing in some Winfield denture fixative?".

"You just purchased the Beatles Revolver Album. Other customers also purchased Sugar Sugar by the Archies..."

It's all getting a bit weird and odd. And my brother HAS installed a toilet in his shed.  

11 comments:

Liz said...

I've been aware of targeted advertising on t'internet for a while. The first time I spotted it, I thought "that's clever" but have paid very little attention to it since. Having said that, the other day while searching for information regarding theatres in Lincoln and Peterborough, I noticed that General Google was very keen for me to look at the website of a theatre in Ipswich. Stop showing off, Google, I know you know where I live.

Will your brother be entering 'Shed of The Year' in 2015?

Nota Bene said...

So far as internet advertising is concerned I hope we might reach a stage of less is more...but I doubt it. What worries me mos is if I Google something and buy it, I then have a month of adverts for the damned thing popping up...which is locking the door after the horse has bolted in my (e-)book...

Rog said...

Liz: I bet Ipswich Theatre is a bit of a Bear Pit.

Nota: Yes that's a definite flaw in their system which no doubt be corrected at some stage.

sablonneuse said...

Hi Rog, I've popped in via Zoe and Pat.
Couldn't agree more about "cookie advertising" but I don't find it quite as annoying as unsolicited telephone calls . . . .

Rog said...

Hello Sablon and welcome. "If you enjoyed Zoe & Pat then you might also like...." ;-)

sablonneuse said...

Yes, I'll be back and am putting a link on my sidebar. Hope you don't mind?

Tim said...

After a casual google search - if anyone wants to know where to buy laminated flooring in Dorset, I can help!

63mago said...

Iron browser, AdBlock, Ghostery.
And regular flushing. Of the unwanted stuff, RegCleaner does it.

savannah said...

arggggh! i HATE those annoying ads and having them appear on whatever i'm reading! (by the by, on my last flight home the actor who played Lovejoy was 2 seats ahead of me! of course, i couldn't remember his real name, so i just smiled once and let him be. he has really, really skinny legs, btw.) xoxoxox

Pat said...

Big Brother is alive and well and living on FB.

Z said...

Fortunately, advertisements are pretty well invisible to me, so if I get targeted ads, I've not noticed them. I'd never click on one anyway, it only encourages them.