Fed2 Star - the newsletter for the space trading game Federation 2

The weekly newsletter for Fed2
by ibgames

EARTHDATE: August 11, 2013

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by Hazed

I’ve recently become aware that I am being stalked by certain advertisers when I surf the web. It’s probably been going on for a while but either it has suddenly got worse, or I just woke up and noticed it for the first time.

What happens is that I check out a website for a product I might be interested in buying - let’s say, a brand of shoes. I spend about two minutes before deciding that no, these shoes are not for me. But then for weeks, every page I look at, on every site I visit, contains an advert for these damn shoes.

That’s not just annoying - it’s creepy. It makes me so cross that I decide I will never, ever buy shoes from that company, under any circumstances.

Just as pointless are when the ads try to sell me something that I have already bought. A work colleague pointed out to me yesterday that every time he browed the web from the hotel he was staying in, he got adverts for that very hotel. How pointless is that?

These ads are supposed to be “smart”. It’s meant to the be the future of online advertising. Well, it sucks. If this is the best that the combined might of the advertising and the technology industries can come up with, they need to go back to the drawing board and try again.

I’m not alone in being annoyed by stalkerish ads. If you Google the phrase “stalked by adverts” you will get a whole load of blog posts and newspaper articles about this irritating phenomenon. Here’s a blogger who made some particularly entertaining analogies to a real life person walking up to you and behaving like the ads do.

What’s a bit thin on the ground is definitive info about how to stop this, without taking the nuclear option of using an ad-blocker to zap all online advertisements. I tried just telling my browser to block third-party cookies and immediately it broke the log-in procedures for some of the sites I like to read.

If you want to have a crack at stopping the ads stalking you, this website explains how it works and how to counter it but I can’t guarantee it won’t break something else.

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