Re-targeting Ads Follow You

Is this a good thing?

Most of us realize that every web site we visit collects information about us while we’re there.

I’m not certain that most realize how many details are collected, and I sense the early signs of consumers having second thoughts about all this tracking.

Big Brother doesn’t seem like fiction these days.

For days or weeks, every site I went to seemed to be showing me ads for those shoes. It is a pretty clever marketing tool. But it’s a little creepy, especially if you don’t know what’s going on.

That’s from this NY TIMES story about ad retargeting. The reporter had been perusing a pair of shoes on the Zappos site, and noticed that little ads for those very shoes kept popping up, no matter what web sites she visited.

And Facebook quietly started testing its own version of “…intent-based advertising, delivering real-time ads based on user wall posts and status updates.”

Now you may think this is great.

After all, if we must put up with ads popping up on every web page, perhaps you’d rather they be for products you actually want.

Part of me understands that, and agrees.

But another part is starting to say, I don’t want you, or Zappos, or Apple, or the US government tracking my every key stroke, using the embedded GPS in social sites to know precisely where I am and how long I’m there.

Maybe I should stop watching Glenn Beck…