So I’m reading a website — devoted to the topic of religious freedom, of all things — and this thing grabs my eye:
Thanks for that, mysterious advertiser. I especially appreciate the helpful visual instruction on the concepts of ‘constipation or diarrhoea’, as well as the location of eyes.
Aside from the TMI, the ad is an unabashed tease. “Infected” with what? The plague? And: 250 million Americans? That’s 4 out of every 5 Americans “infected” with whatever it is. Talk about your epidemic.
Of course, that’s what the “learn more” link is for. And if you think your web pages are already overloaded with ads for diets, magic pills and get-rich schemes, just wait until you click this baby. No thanks.
The digital future of advertising –the future that has bled newspaper advertising nearly dry — is built on data centers that compile your every online keystroke and serve up ads that match your online interests. It’s a smart world that gives you smart ads smartly matched to your search history, bookmarks, cookies, purchases, check-ins, tweets, and geo-tagged selfies.
Except when it doesn’t. I haven’t been spending time on health websites, Googling around for info on the plague, or swapping email with a convalescing aunt. If my recent online behavior results in ads like this, I shudder to think what would land on the right side of my screen if I were pursuing more . . . biological interests on the web.