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Too Many Crosshairs

Theoretically, targeted ads are a beautiful thing. If I only see ads that are relevant to me, then I might actually welcome them and see them as a valuable part of my media experience.

Theoretically, targeted ads are also more valuable than ads targeted to an audience aggregate. In a perfect world, this will allow digital media companies to scale back the avalanche of shitty little punk ads they currently hurl at us.

So, theoretically, I like targeted ads.

However, when targeting is both persistent and wrong, it can get down right creepy. Last November, I was looking for a short term apartment in Tokyo, and www.sakura-apartments.com is the market leader, offering partments all over Tokyo. In English.

So I showed them some love, spending a considerable amount of time on their page. But the moment I left their site (without booking), I found myself under a steady shelling of Sakura GoogleAds, regardless of where I went on the web. And even after I had left Japan, the barrage just would not stop.

The following are but a couple of screenshots I started taking after more than two months of total Sakura immersion. More than two months filled with constant variations of a very irrelevant offering.

Imagine a Mariachi band that just won’t leave your table. Now imagine that same Mariachi band showing at the office, and in your living room. For weeks.

In the end, I got desperate and decided to try a headfake. I used a different mail account to send a “departure note” to my gmail account, hoping that the everwatching googleeye would recognize the futilty of showing me further ads.

About a week later, the ads stopped.

I am not sure if it was the headfake or my February trip to India. But boy I am glad that the other websites I visit aren’t as zealous in their targeting as Sakura.

2 Responses to “Too Many Crosshairs”
  1. mario.gamper says:

    Hi Dicksen,

    thanks. True. I am waiting :-)

    But theoretically, I would love to see “a little bit” of well-targeted advertising. My issue is mostly with the fools that think more helps more. If marketers don’t learn some restraint, they will ruin this new avenue faster than you can say “Pop-Up Banner” :-)

  2. dicksen says:

    So you have to try the Firefox 4 Beta. It has a “dont track me” function. But its just for pc useres right now. We will have to wait a little bit: http://mashable.com/2011/02/08/firefox-4-do-not-track/


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