I really like Gmail. I switched to it just before moving in June when I had to cancel my Verizon online account.
Gmail came highly recommended and overall I’ve been very satisfied. Great spam filters. Versatile archiving. Except for this one thing:
They run an automated ad generator at the top of the email screen. It’s not a graphic or anything, just a link and a quick blurb. Except their ad bot is reading my email and generating targeted ads for me. It’s just a bit on the creepy side.
In the past week I’ve had the following ads come up, some more than once:
Indianwives – forgo the traditional arranged marriage; join the new century (eww.)
Bourne Identity becomes funny – the guys from MST3K take on Matt Damon (OK, this actually sounds funny)
Albany Apartments – great rentals in the capital region (I’m willing to visit Albany, but I didn’t know I wanted to live there – does the bot know something I don’t? By any chance does it know the Powerball numbers?)
Netflix – Get Netflix (reasonable)
Room Paint Designs – myAuraPaint.com by Benjamin Moore – high quality, eco-friendly paints (too many house/remodeling emails?)
101 cookbooks – Minty Chocolate Christmas Cookies (isn’t the bot smart enough to know I’m on a diet?)
Now some of those make sense, but Indianwives? Where is that coming from? Did this bot actually put together a link between an email I sent to someone about Indian food and another lamenting my status as a single guy at holiday parties with happy, loving couples?
I’m considering writing some really provocative emails just to see what the bots will come up with. Feel free to send me some too. If I can make it a game it won’t be so creepy.
Gmail – Get your creep on. In writing. In a fun way. Oy.