I was reading through the Everyday Minimalist the other day, and I noticed something was a bit different about it. I know it was sold a while back, and it has new writers, but something about it was rather off.
The design of the site has always been aesthetically pleasing and pretty streamlined, so the jarring, clunky advertisement at the top of every post definitely caught my eye. I don’t recall them being there before, or if they were they sized and shaped to blend in with the articles better. That being said, it was the content of the ad that I found to be the most jarring, rather than the awkward size and shape itself.
The Boy’s birthday is coming up shortly, and I’ve been asking him what he wants for his birthday. He’s in the process of redoing a car in his garage right now: a 25th anniversary 5.0L fox body Mustang convertible. Spurred on by my grocery challenge (believe it or not) he’s decided to try to fix up the car on a budget. So, instead of telling me he doesn’t want anything for his birthday, he sent me a list of links for car parts he’d like. Gotta love him, lol.
I checked out the different parts to get a feel for what he was looking for and how much they cost, and then went back to reading blogs about minimalism (I’m having a moment). That’s when I headed over to the Everyday Minimalist.
Those jarring ads at the tops of the posts? They were advertising the car parts website I had been on earlier. Not only that, but they were advertising the EXACT products I had just finished looking at! It’s not like these were sexy parts that coincidentally make for slick marketing here, we’re talking push pins and small plastic parts for repairing the door interior.
I was disgusted.
I knew that marketing was getting invasive, but I’ve never been so slapped in the face by it before. This isn’t good. Imagine you were trying to recover from a shopping addiction. You look at a site, see a sweater you like, and then close the browser before you tempt yourself anymore. Now not only is it going to be sitting in the back of your head going “Buy Me! Buy Me!”, but it’s going to follow you around as well. Check Facebook, you see the sweater. Read a blog, you see the sweater. Check the news, you see the sweater. You can’t put the temptation in the back of your mind, because it’s right there in front of you following you around! This form of advertising robs people of their cooling down period, because when they leave the webpage behind the site follows them. It’s shopping stalking!
There’s a really good TED talk by Gary Kovacs, the CEO of Mozilla Corporation, called Tracking the Trackers. He shows how quickly your information can spread from site to site, even though you never actually visit the vast majority of them. You have no idea they’re there, but they know all sorts of stuff about you. It’s really disturbing.
The more I think about it, the more it makes me want to take a step back and stop buying things all together. This level of advertising doesn’t make me want to buy, it makes me want to get the hell off the grid.
Have you ever been aware of an advertiser tracking you?
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