To those who say they don’t mind being tracked while online because they get to use free software, think again. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Apple’s customers get stores to shop in, a Genius Bar to visit during times of distress, and a boatload of useful applications with each product. Free? The price tag for the extras and add-ons is indirect. Buy a Mac, iPhone, or iPad, and software is included. In the price. Is that free?
These days online advertisers are tracking your every move; to the point of stalking. Search for a few items on Amazon, put them into your cart, or hold to save for later, and the next week you’ll be bombarded online– with more ads pushing what you searched for on Amazon, Google, or almost anywhere else.
Recently I searched online for a set of Bluetooth earbuds. Apple’s earbuds and AirPod don’t fit well in my big Scottish ears. I searched for a dozen, narrowed the search down to three, ordered one. The earbuds haven’t even shipped yet, thanks the Prime Effect where Amazon holds your free shipping orders to give you an incentive to pay for faster shipping. But Amazon’s ads for Bluetooth earbuds continue to roll across my eyes as I browse the web, and Amazon email comes every day with yet another pair of earbuds to add to my collection.
Honestly, it appears as if Amazon thinks you only buy to add to a collection.
Dear Amazon, I’m not collecting earbuds, so stop it with the advertising and email promotions already. Thank you.
Google tracks you, too. Google a few keywords for something you’d like to buy, and Google thinks you’re part of a trend that needs to be tracked incessantly. And nobody does tracking better than Google. Most of those websites you visit use Google Analytics and the data they keep eventually gets tracked back to you, your home, and your online profile which is shared with others.
The latest tracking intelligence has Google tracking you, tracking what you read, tracking what you buy, and tracking what you purchase even if you don’t buy online.
Remember, with Google, you’re not the customer. You’re part of the product. Google’s customers are advertisers and they pay Google to know more about you.
Google is giving search advertisers the ability to match in-store credit-card transactions with its online ads to prove that spending on search really works.
Google’s senior vice president of ads and commerce to advertisers:
In the coming months, we’ll be rolling out store sales measurement at the device and campaign levels. This will allow you to measure in-store revenue in addition to the store visits delivered by your Search and Shopping ads
Google has a way to track what you buy online and when you don’t buy online. Advertisers want to know the details. Google collects the details and sells it to advertisers.
You’re not the customer. You’re part of the product.
I wonder how accurate some of the data and the deep-learning models are because what I actually buy online is not the beginning of a collection, so I don’t really need more ads about the same category of product, but that’s what I get.
Thank you, Apple, for not being Amazon or Google or Samsung or Microsoft.