Vast majority of Americans and Europeans believe ad-targeting and feed customization are immoral

Originally published at:


On top of the fact that I block ads because as far as I still know they are the best vector for malware I never figured out the targeted ads. Oh I need a new keyboard so I do my research, shop around amazon, newegg, etc and purchase it. For the next two months I get ads about something I already bought and do not need more of. They think this works? Works at pissing me off at least.

Even if I didn’t block them I have always been great at filtering them out of what I read and if you have a pop up, autoplaying jingle, etc. Well all that does is make me NEVER EVER BUY THAT PRODUCT.


This, exactly.

Annoy me needlessly, and my response will be to go out of my way to avoid ever spending money with your company.


It’s the feed customization that bothers me. The whole point of reading a particular publication / web site is to get their point of view and their sense of what is important. Customization destroys this. Why look at a Denver newspaper web site if the site recognizes that I am from Seattle and puts Seattle oriented articles on the home page? It’s usually not as bad as that, but whenever I get an option for a less customized version, I take it.


Let’s distinguish between Amazon (to pick the obvious) sending me ads related to what I’ve already shopped for at Amazon (let’s say outdoor sports clothing) and suddenly having outdoor sports clothing turning up on every site I visit.

Sometimes those ads for (in my case) XLT menswear actually show me something I would like. Sure beats getting random ads for maternity wear, or cosmetics, or for that matter team-logo kids’ clothing.

I spent my career in a field (electronics) where at least two of the trade magazines I subscribed to were nearly all advertising, with just enough editorial content to let them pretend to be technical. We rarely paid much attention to the editorial stuff, we read them for the ads. They were by far the most time-efficient way to see what the new products our vendors were putting out.

Ads for the general public are, alas, rarely so valuable. It might be worth recalling that the better targeted the ads that pay for these no-cost services are the fewer of them (in principle) we have to wade through. And, yes, the (in principle) is carrying quite a load here.


I’m not a big consumer, but sometimes I buy nice things. I always have to look hard for them. A nice chess game, or a gomoku board. I want a nice gomoku board. Pellets for my airgun. A nice innovative indie computer game. Something original to put on a slice of bread. A nice pop sci documentary to watch.

No matter how hard I browse, or how hard my phone eavesdrops me on my conversations… Never ever do I see ads for any of those.


Who cares? You think I don’t customize my own feed? Wanna bet my next click is Kos, or Redstate?

As for targeted ads, I shop on line about twice a year, so they would have to send me lots of blank rectangles. Thanks, Google!


What the hell with the hyperbolic clickbait?? Where does that 83% “Vast Majority” BS even come from? RSA asks 6000 people “Is online targeting of ads moral or immoral”… Where does ethics even come into play in advertising? Like real philosophical, ethical, morality? Not just that you don’t like zappo’s ads in your inbox.
How much advertising revenue did you just get by reposting this s%@t?
Disappointing hypocrisy.


Does this one count, @beschizza?


When it crosses the line from attempting to know me well enough to sell me something into attempting to make me into the kind of person who will buy something… then it’s become immoral IMO. Study or no study, that’s my honest opinion.


Thanks to a) having to resurrect a laptop hit with a rootkit by a malware-infected ad and b) having had to rely on a limited data plan which was being eaten alive by autoplay video ads, et cetera, I am firmly in the pro-blocker, no-ad camp. I try to make affiliate puchases wherever I can to support my sites instead. And I hate seeing purchases echoed in ads on other sites-- that feels like a violation of privacy to me.

But… I Follow several authors on Amazon, so when they come out with a new title, I get notified. I like that, a lot. So what’s the difference? I opted in to it. I can even understand why they recommend products similar to what I’ve already bought… even if the choices made by the algorithms are often laughably inaccurate. I’ll ignore 99% of it, but they can try.

So, if I’m already doing business with a company, I can put up with some degree of targeted suggestions from them. But I can’t buy into the massive-scale data filtering and targeting we see so often. I’ll make my own choices, thank you very much.


This. The Amazon we think you might also like is 90% of nope but I do see things that make me go hmm that looks interesting.


The entire internet is one huge data whore, and a half.


All advertising is, honestly. What we need is a true micro-transaction model - I’d pay a site 2 cents a day to avoid the adds they would make 2 cents off of should I enable them, but I can’t because there is no way for me to do that - the baggage along with any actual billing system means even cheap sites want a buck a month - I feel like the first company that manages to figure out a way to do real micro transactions (even at the factional cent level) will make both the consumer and the publisher very happy.


How do they feel about faux-military hierarchies used as member labels for “i worked for free this much” ?

Yup. Mixing the internet and advertising is the data version of gunpowder meets fire, on top of a dung heap. Here’s the really sad part: this whole internet thing is in its fucking infancy and we’ve already jacked it up beyond recognition.


The flip side of this which annoys me is not so much the “oh, l see you bought ‘x’. Have you thought about buying another ‘x’ in red, or velour, or lime? What about a family pack? Miniature? Collectibles?” although that is bafflingly irksome.

What annoys me is that now I’ve been pigeonholed as a purchaser of ‘x’, I don’t see ads for ‘y’. I read a lot of mil hist, and Amazon does this quite often and quite noticeably. Although I have NEVER bought an Osprey title, they still serves me endless reccomendations for any Osprey that’s even tangentially related to the last thing I bought, crowding out other titles that l might actually be interested in.


Not worth it unless you are into tabletop gaming. Absolutely amazing references for uniforms, colours (spelled that way just for you), troop organization, etc. Otherwise there are much better references out there.


OMG, when I go to I AM NOT looking for US news!



Shots fired! :smiley:

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