Who wants targeted advertising?

A question to my fellow boingboingers… Do you prefer targeted advertising?
I ask, because each site nowadays asks me to adjust my cookie preference (and they never have the option “pecan nuts and chocolate”…). When I unselect the option for advertising, I always get a warnig message that I will get “less relevant advertising”.

There is nothing I want less than relevant advertising. Irrelevant advertising, I simply ignore. There is nothing that I want less than to be informed of a product I did not know existed, but which I will actually want to buy. As long as I did not know the product existed, I was in ignorant bliss and did not realised I missed out. Keep it this way, please.

So apparently, there is something I don’t understand. What do you think?

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From the lack of answers, I take it that everybody likes targeted advertising, then?

I think it’s more like:


By now, targeted advertising is just part of how the internetz work.

Asking if I “want” it is like asking if I want clouds in the sky, or wind.


We are all busy…
There are serious implications,
depending on the answer!

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No. No no no. Targeted advertising is not accepted and not acceptable. I always opt out if I can.

Seriously, it’s not about the advertisement. I would accept advertising if it wouldn’t be distracting me from the content as badly as it does, screaming in my face, and if ads were not terribly tasteless, etc.

But those “targeted” advertisement bullshit is collecting data for statistical purposes which are opaque to outright voodoo (giving vudun a bad name). Plus I have to trust the companies collecting the data to pseudonymise the data properly, aggregate it properly and store it securely. Which I don’t. Fuck this.

Just btw, if anyone ever successfully completed the opt-out for Oath (Engadget etc.), pray tell. I seriously contemplated to complain about them. Fuck this shit.


I haven’t seen an ad in years, the question is not relevant. What the surveillance capitalists do, I care only as far as I need to find out how to block whatever they’ve come up with this time.


Yeah, that’s the other reason I’m like, meh.

Ublock Origin keeps me from even seeing ads, so I don’t think much about how advertisers are trying to target me with them.

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If I am subjected to advertising, I’d much rather it be relevant to my interests personally. I have, at times in my life, found things I did not know about through advertising about them. It’s still my choice as to whether or not I pay it any heed.


I will venture that that targeted advertising at least might conceivably inform me about products about which I might otherwise be unfamiliar. Except of course after making one purchase of some durable good, I will be unlikely to be purchasing another of said durable goods in the near future and I will be uninterested in seeing more ads for said durable goods.

In that regard, targeted advertising is superior to freakin’ stupid advertising. I was willing to concede that the sites I visit need ad revenue in order to survive, but after I saw “one trick of a flat belly” for the bazillionth time I had completely had it. I am also not interested in online gambling or in purchasing cars or liquor, or paid services regarding eligible singles in my area.

Well… I have a relatively advertising-free internetz experience, but I need the device to be tamed by friendly hackers. Still… it is possible!

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I do not like being reminded how much advertisers have spied on me. Imagining a vast trove of information about my private life and preferences, gleaned off my web traffic.

I try to poison the well when possible. When I see irrelevant ads, I feel better. Rarely do I discover something new I would have missed. Discovering new things I missed is part of why I come here.


I should add to my previous statement that I don’t hate advertising per se, just the horrible form it’s taken online. I do subscribe to various sites I visit regularly, I wish more would adopt that model. The surveillance model can go die in a fire for all I care.

I just wish the Home Depot site would remember my local store. It’s not like I’m filtering out normal cookies, so why do so many sites forget stuff like that?


I’m fine with targeted ads. What I don’t like is the tracking and dossier building that companies do in order to do this. If I explicitly told ad companies what I’m interested in I’d be okay with that being used to target ads.

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people who believe Something Must Be Done About This soon realize they can just block all ads


I enjoy comments on various
other BBs,
where folks complain,
“why am I seeing disgusting porn pop-ups
everytime I turn on my PC!!??”

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No, because what came before was legitimately better - namely, relevant advertising, which people have now completely forgotten how to do. When targeted advertising became a thing it sounded good in theory, but then I saw it in practice, and it’s just not. Consider:

  • Before: You go to a sex toy shop to find a gag gift for someone. There are ads for other related things that would also be good gag gifts. Now: There are ads for printer toner cartridges, which reminds you that you need printer toner, so you go order it and completely forget to buy the gift.
  • Before: You go to a site about naval warfare to get ideas for how to defeat the Japanese navy in that new WWII wargame you’ve been playing. There’s an ad for a book about WWII Japanese naval strategy. Bam! Totally relevant. You order the book and go back to the game. Now: There’s an ad for dildos because of that site you went to earlier. Why? It serves no purpose there.
  • Before: You go to your writer’s discussion site to get ideas about how better to work on the story you’re writing. There’s an ad for toner cartridges (because writers often print drafts), so you order them and then get back to writing. Now: There’s an ad for a book about Japanese naval strategy, so you get distracted and go play your game instead.

Aside from all the spyware and malware, advertising was simply better before because it at least tried to be relevant. Now it’s just noise. Which makes adblockers doubly-valuable.


But my point is that I do not want relevant advertising! I don’t want to be tempted to buy more things. Maybe the question I should have asked is “do people enjoy to be tempted to buy more things?”.


No, but that’s a different question. I am amazed now when I see actual normal TV nowadays playing, the sheer quantity and ferocity of advertising is mindboggling.

And I know some of those who watch them and say “Ooh, that’s so cool! I want that!” people. They’re the hardest to find gifts for because they seem to want everything, but you know it’s mostly all fake ad-implanted-suggestion, so what do they really want? They don’t even know.

ETA: My point was just that context-relevant advertising, while still advertising, was at least much better than targeted advertising.


Few things “help” me become belligerent as targeted advertising does. I hate that shit with a passion. It is straight up manipulative and invasive, a pollution of the brain. You could say it is a dangerous to the environment too, you wouldn’t be wrong.

I have made it a hobby to promote ad blockers and tracking blockers. My latest project is giving away and setting up a raspberry pi-hole for relatives who are currently unable to protect themselves.

Mentally preparing to start wearing tinfoil/faraday cage hats when they start beaming ads straight into my brain with frigging lasers :face_vomiting:

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