Home > Uncategorized > cyber-stalking, a true story of luggage

cyber-stalking, a true story of luggage

(note, this post is really not cataloging oriented but don’t we need a break from RDA for a bit? Hmm?)

A while back I listened to another fantastic podcast of NPR’s Fresh Air. This one was the August 19, 2010 “Tracking The Companies That Track You Online“. You really should listen to it.

It fascinated me and it made me think and it made me more aware. These are often good things, especially in combination.  In this case, the report is about how websites track your visits and how some companies “purchase” your surfing history.  The reporter, Julia Angwin,  discussed how it works and what happens. She also told a story about how some shoes “followed” her for several weeks. That is, she looked at some $$$ shoes on a website then for the next few weeks she noticed those very same shoes were in the advertisements of other pages she visited.

I thought “huh? probably not the exact same shoes – she is probably exaggerating for affect” (or is it effect? I always confuse the two). Then it happened to me.

On a recent trip my luggage suffered from a lost wheel. Wait, that isn’t exactly accurate – the wheel was not missing, it was nicely placed on the turnstile next to my luggage by the baggage handlers. The wheel just wasn’t attached to my luggage anymore. I surfed a bit to find a luggage repair shop (only $20 to fix!) but also looking at new luggage in a longing way.  I found a great set that I liked the look of but had no intention of buying (again, only $20 to repair my favorite suitcase).  Since that time, however, almost every site I go to that contains adverts also contains an image of that exact set of luggage with suggestive pricing.

I’m being cyberstalked by luggage.

It made me think about the public access computers. How confused the advertisers must be by the results gathered off public library computers!  Literally 10 or more people a day could be on the exact same machine doing completely different searches. I wonder what the “consumer profile” for such a machine might be. Does it skew the statistics or does it confirm some twisted taste? And it made me want to do some really oddball searching, just to see what happens. Could I get myself cyberstalked by a big pink bunny? Or an exercise machine? Maybe I should investigate purchasing a Maserati and bump up my cyber-profile!

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Ana Krahmer
    October 18, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    This is Web 3.0 in action–your own personal assistant, free of charge, except for the creepy capitalist tendencies that will follow you around. Oh, look! It’s an Ann Taylor Loft ad over there. (Just had that pop up on my personal computer today.)

    And you’re right–Web 3.0 is beginning, but it’s not yet adapted to public terminals.

    • October 19, 2010 at 8:09 am

      It’s weirdly amusing to me. In the olden days I would have been paranoid and insecure but now? It amuses me. I seriously do want to mess with the profile though, just to see what happens.

  1. July 6, 2013 at 9:24 am

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