Apologies for the scarcity of posts this week – the Media Insights and Engagement Conference had trouble with their website, so my stream of posts expected this week from that meeting are still waiting to be put up. So in the meantime, let’s close the week with a small rant…
Is anyone else being followed around by the digital ads from “Foreverspin Top”? These are showing up on my work computer, home computer, phone, and tablet, and have been for what I’d guess is at least 12 to 18 months. And they represent everything wrong with the digital ad ecosystem.
Almost from the time I first saw this ad – and it’s virtually the same ad, if not exactly the same, over this whole time period – I’ve asked Google to stop serving them to me. I report the ad as annoying, or that I don’t have an interest, or that I’ve seen it multiple times. And yet it still shows up like I’m living in a digital ad Groundhog Day.
And how did some Google algorithm select me for the ad? I have no interest in tops, especially “luxury tops” that start at $35. Is it because the tops are made in Canada and somehow Google found out I was born in Canada? Or that I had long arguments about what the spinning top meant at the end of Inception?
And since we’re asking questions: why, if Google is so smart, does its algorithms still serve me ads that I’ve reported not having an interest in at least a dozen or more times?
There are others, but this is the best example of why I laugh to myself at conferences or presentations when people talk about the wonders of Big Data and its ability to personalize and target advertising. Sure, sometimes it works fine; but all it takes is a bad actor like Foreverspin to poison the well of public opinion for every digital advertiser. And this is especially of concern in this age when we want consumers to be more comfortable sharing data with media networks. All the talk of building trust and transparency goes out the window when a little money overrides stated consumer sentiment.
David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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