Saturday, July 03, 2004

Big Brother

Internet technology frightens me. Spam, spyware, adware, viruses, worms. I feel like everything I click on, buy, or read is being tracked and logged in some master database, probably because it is. It’s like having my own personal stalker following me from the grocery store to the bookstore to the dry cleaners to the video store, feverishly scribbling notes on his clipboard. We’re really not that far off from Tom Cruise in Minority Report, walking into the high-tech Gap, having our retinas scanned, and being asked by a hologram if we liked the flat-front khakis we bought last month.

This was never more evident to me than when I was rereading my posts on this blog. The ads at the top of the page change with every single article, and it’s interesting to see how the technology scans the entry looking for key words, and then generates an offer it thinks you can’t refuse.

After reviewing each entry I’ve made so far, I noted the following collection of ads targeted just to me and my deepest desires:

Working hard, or hardly working: Working Mother’s Magazine and Grocery Coupons

What smells: Odor Mask and Get Rid Of Vaginal Odor

Shame: Jokes – Warp and Dumb Blonde Jokes

But wait! There’s More!: TV Infomercials and Addiction Treatment

Catastrophic: North Face Cat’s Meow and Tenants’ Rights

Humdinger: Nothing – absolutely nothing. Isn’t that weird?

Here, pigeon pigeon pigeon: Pigeon Control Products and Stainless Steel Spikes (huh?)

Tappetite: Tap Dance Clothing and How to Tap Dance Video

I need dough: Doughmaker’s Bakeware Sale and Pizza Recipes

Cake: Online Bakery Club and Chocolate Cake Mix Recipe

Tapapalooza: Dance Distributors and Dance Moves

Father’s Day: Pot Roast Recipes and Onion Soup Crocks

This experiment raised a few questions for me: why is it that the Internet spies were unable to identify a need or an interest for me from the Humdinger entry? Perhaps it’s because there’s a dangerous shortage of humming products on the market. Or maybe I inadvertently used some code word that blocks the spyware, or scrambles their messages. Maybe it’s just that I didn’t repeat the same words over and over again, like in all the others.

Something else I found to be odd: why would they assume that just because I used the word “smell” several times in an entry, I needed to control vaginal odor? I must say, I take offense at that. But maybe the adware technology is so advanced that they’re able to cross reference the fact that I frequent the Summer’s Eve and FDS websites regularly – now that’s just plain eerie! I don't know, maybe I should pick up one of those Odor Masks.

Of course, now that I’ve written the word “vaginal” twice, I can only imagine what bizarre ads I’ll be getting – oh crap, I just wrote it a third time!

Apparently, the only solution is to never use the same word twice. That way, it seems like you’re not interested in anything, or maybe just very eclectic. Unfortunately, I’m not sure my vocabulary is large enough to avoid using the same words over and over again. I’ll have to dig out my trusty thesaurus, I guess.

Thesaurus thesaurus thesaurus thesaurus thesaurus (I’m just trying to mess with them. Sucka, you don’t know me! You don’t know sheeeet!).

Just be aware, folks: everything and anything you do online is being watched, and at this exact moment, some Internet marketing geniuses are putting together the perfect deal just for you. Now back to those Pigeon Control Products – please, tell me more!