Today I’m the recipient of some sixty odd emails. Fifty-five of them assume I’m dumber than a pile of rocks and want me to visit their website and spend money. That’s not quite true, only eight of them want me to spend money on useless junk, the rest want to infect my computer and eliminate the part where they give me a useless piece of merchandise in exchange for my money. Of course, once they have access to my machine, they’ll also use it to invite others to take part in this streamlined scheme of parting a fool from his money.
Not all of it’s random junk. I get at least two emails a week from a dealer that worked on my Honda, four years ago. i get emails from Sirius radio wanting to give me a free radio so they can charge me more monthly fees. I also get some very entertaining emails from Africa asking me to help them smuggle money out of their country.
Those emails are only a small part of the efforts being made to entice you from your money. Let’s face it, everything you do is being observed. Click on an item being sold by Amazon and watch that item pursue you across twenty different websites for the next ten days. If you don’t give in and admit you made a mistake by not buying it immediately, they’ll start offering you other items based on people with similar interests.
Amazon isn’t the only one doing it but they certainly have it down to a science. Considering the rest of the junk I get, the targeted ads from Amazon aren’t that obnoxious. It’s when they stop targeting me and push the popular items on me that I feel like I’m being insulted. I’m not mainstream and I’ve never been mainstream. Take the current hot trend in fantasy and science fiction, romance among the undead, vampires, werewolves and other assorted creatures.
If I manage to avoid all the vampires looking to hook up, I find myself overwhelmed by zombies. I read fantasies for entertainment, not to be reminded of Walmart on a Saturday afternoon. Sorry, lost it for a moment, private peeve.
Given a choice between considered part of the herd or having every keystroke tracked, recorded and analyzed, I’m beginning to appreciate focused targeting.
Take Netflix for example. Yes, they have a category for the trending movies, they also give me a selection of the most watched movies in my small rural Texas town. Although there are some things you just don’t want to know about your neighbors. Netflix impresses me because they give me two ratings for their movies, one based on all their customers and another amazingly accurate prediction based on my personal preferences. No matter how good the movie description looks, I’ve learned I ignore their predictions at my risk.
Renderosity, my source for 3D models, takes it a step farther. I can set up a wish list and they email me when something on my list goes on sale.
I abandoned Twitter because they started pushing tweets and seemingly random people on me to follow. Needless to say they hadn’t spent the time to understand who I was. I felt like I was dealing with an obnoxious magazine salesman every time I got an email from Twitter.
If I can’t convince Trump to balance the budget by taxing email, maybe I can convince a few more vendors to stop pushing random junk on me without making the effort to understand me and spend some time getting to know who I am. Considering all the worthless emails I get, it would be nice to get a few I appreciate.
I know this sounds like a contradiction. I spend most of my time trying to keep websites from tracking me. I haven’t have upgraded to Windows 10 because I don’t like the way Microsoft wants to track everything I’m doing. And yet I feel a little targeted advertising would be welcome. An extended visit to the Thought Simulation Chamber gave me an idea, spam reduction by increasing the targeted advertising.
Suppose there was a website where you could put in all your preferences. Everything you want the sites you shop at to know about you. Let’s face it, Amazon already knows my shirt size and my predilection for small electronics. All you have to do is send a new vendor a code number and they can access all the data you want them to know about you without spying on you.
If a vendor wants to send ads to you, the email comes through the same website. Why? Because now you can trash all the ads coming from other sites and if you use a different number for each vendor you know immediately who is sharing and invalidate their number.
I think it’s a win win. The vendor gets access to your information and you get major spam reduction.
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