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April 29, 2014


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That's the kind of optimization we need! The only thing that's missing is for them to tell you to take 10% off. You can stop stuff like this by changing your browser settings (or incognito browsing in Chrome), but that would ruin the fun!


Zane Safrit

I lean towards creepy. It’s the digital equivalent of the retail store clerk, all smiles and canned happy talk, who not only stalks you through the store but pops up at home during your family time, at dinner parties, interrupting personal conversations. Who knows what they do with your information as well?

The dynamics of this relationship have been turned on their head. We want the stores to be there when we want to buy. They want us to buy when they need to meet their quotas. The trick is the power rests with them and their growing abilities to intrude in our personal lives no matter what our privacy settings are said to be.

David Meerman Scott

Scott - Like you, I think this sort of thing is fun and won't change my settings. Thanks.

Zane - Many people I speak with who are not versed on digital marketing like we are think it is creepy. So companies need to be careful. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts.

Bradley H. Smith

I don't see it as creepy, but a full frontal transparent view on the omnipotent "big data." As a marketer, it's "interesting," however the concerns I have as marketer is the "creepy" factor intimidating non-marketing folks (muggles) to aggressively avoid locations/sites now. I find a lot of ad retargeting annoying and Facebook has clearly become a marketing delivery device.

I sound like an old man. Stay off my lawn too.

Jeff Robinson

A simple solution and one that will be deployed is a "clear your cache" button.

This will allow the user to delete some/all of her historical searches such that she would not be subject to the targeted ads.

Like the new look and feel of the site...



David Meerman Scott

Bradley - I think you're right. We who understand this stuff can see exactly what is happening. But the non-marketer ("Muggle" - ha!) wouldn't know. To that end Jeff is right on clearing cache but how many people know to do that? My mother wouldn't for example and she's reasonably savvy.

Joanne Tombrakos

I agree it's creepy. In fact I wrote a post on this same subject about a year ago in which I referred to it as stalking. http://onewomanseye.blogspot.com/2013/03/stalking-as-form-of-marketing.html And you are so right - it can be fixed by cleaning out your cache - but how many people do that - or even know you can?

Kate Putnam

Hi David,
This happened to me with another seller (not ebay but a big retailer). It was so offensive I responded to the Facebook posting by saying I would never purchase the product in question. This is beyond creepy: it is being stalked. I won't do business with someone who overtly stalks me anymore than I would date someone who did that.
It is also lousy marketing. The fact that you know something about a possible client doesn't mean you broadcast it. Too many people share devices for this to be anything other than potentially offensive.

Kate Putnam

maybe we need European style privacy laws. I would like to know that I am not begin followed wherever I go , digitally or otherwise.

Bev Barnett

Remember the scene in the Minority Report when Tom Cruise goes into the mall and is greeted with "Hello Mr. Yakimoto, welcome back to the Gap..." One man's creepy is another man's 'enhanced customer service experience.'

Denita Strietelmeier

I'm on the fence regarding the creepy/brilliant factors of this kind of marketing. But businesses need a very sharp learning curve on how to not make their re-marketing appear thoughtless. For instance, social media and other websites being plastered with ads from a site where I just made a purchase, or worse yet, with pictures of the actual item I purchased. I ordered flowers for the funeral of a co-worker's parent in another state, and now that florist, who I will likely never buy from again (despite providing a beautiful product)because of their location is in my FB, my web searches, my Youtube, reminding me where I can get flowers in Sarasota. It's the little things like this that get under your skin.

David Meerman Scott

Kate - "The fact that you know something about a possible client doesn't mean you broadcast it." Indeed! Well said.

Thanks so much for all the comments. This is an exciting discussion!

Justin B.

I no longer have to bookmark products I find online. I know within a couple hours they will be on my facebook ads reminding me to get those new pants! ha.

David, what do feel is going to far? What is the trip wire for these companies?

I ate at Del Friscos Grille in DC last week. The next day I had a promo email from them. I did not give them my email address. Not sure how they got it.

submit your website

This is a good story. I like it very much There are actually gossip going around the world wide web in which very helpful for someone.

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