tried to eat the safe banana (thefourthvine) wrote,
tried to eat the safe banana

Gmail Ads Are Not My Friend

During my recent unhinged breakdown over Netflix and Amazon's opinions of me, a number of you told me a) I was not alone and b) that various automated services were judging you.

This was extremely kind of you and made me feel much better. It is appreciated.

One thing I could not help but notice, though, is that many of you felt judged by Gmail or Google ads. This fascinated me. I've never felt judged by those things, but, well, I have a Gmail account and enough paranoia to go around. It seemed like a project was called for. (Look. I am trapped in a hotel room with dogs. You'd be bored, too.)

So, what has Gmail been trying to link me to lately? Here is the complete, exhaustive, annotated list:

Coffee Exposed - - A shocking secret coffee co's don't want you to know

This is my Gmail default ad, or so it seems, based on the number of times I see it, and it's the primary reason I don't feel especially judged by Google Ads. (I judge the hell out of them, though, you bet. I mean, that apostrophe - that causes me physical pain.) Because, okay, there is just no way coffee companies care whether or not I know their shocking secret. (Which, by the way, is what, exactly - that they crossdress? That their beans are not shade-grown? That caffeine is addictive? That they stole a cupcake in second grade? I'm groping for a secret that coffee companies could have that would actually shock me. So far, nothing.) See, I don't drink coffee. Gmail, if you can't even figure out that basic fact about me, you really don't know me at all.

Although sometimes I wonder if Gmail is actually judging my correspondents. I tend to see that an awful lot across the top of norah's emails and comments, for example, and when she's in my inbox, I'm much more likely to have that as my inbox ad. So, hey, maybe Gmail has moved past judging me and into judging my friends.

I'm surprisingly okay with that. MMWD, Gmail thinks you need to ease off on the coffee drinking!

Advanced Horse Exerciser - Exercise and condition horses of all ages safely.

Aaaaand from the one I see all the time to one I have never seen before and don't especially want to see again. I mean, seriously, horse exerciser? I don't have a horse. I wasn't talking about horses. I'm glad, in a vague and abstract way, that a product exists that allows horses of all ages to exercise (safely!), but - well. I'm not what you might call a primary market, here.

It made more sense back when I was getting dog training ads, which I did for a while during the height of the comments on the sweet potato story on littera_abactor. Horse exercising? Something of a reach, Gmail, though I appreciate the thought, and will mention it to any exercise-deficient horses I might encounter.

Write and Publish a Book - - Through BookSurge, Amazon offers complete self-publishing services.

I'm eying you with violent suspicion right now, Amazon. Just FYI.

Macgyver Tee Shirts - - Phoenix Foundation logo t-shirts and Dalton Air tshirts $20/under.

I - just. Why, Gmail? Why? I realize there was a brief conversation with wyomingknott about MacGyver, but that was some time ago. You felt the ad would work best if you waited a week or two for me to research up on MacGyver before you offered me the t-shirt? Because, okay, that was good thinking, except it will take considerably more time for me to learn about this topic, so please get back to me with the ad no earlier than 2022. By then, I might have some idea what the Phoenix Foundation and Dalton Air are. (Watch. I will become obsessively fannish about this next week and you will all mock me openly.)

In the meantime, wyomingknott is probably a better market.

(Also, going from available sources, it would seem they are improperly capitalizing MacGyver. I'm not sure I'd buy a t-shirt from these people even if I did urgently want Phoenix Foundation memorabilia. And again with the punctuation agony. If you're going to pay for an ad, advertisers, maybe you could punctuate it correctly?)

Reuters: Oddly Enough - Naked US tourist shocks German city

I cannot begin to imagine why Gmail thought I'd care. I mean, if I knew the naked tourist, then maybe. (Did any of you take off your clothes in front of a German city recently? If you did, I want to know. With photos, if possible.) Otherwise, you have just offered me a link to a story that can be summarized as, "Dude, some random person got naked. In Germany!" This is not really what I consider news. If it was happening on Mars, it'd be news. If it was George W. Bush getting the urge to show Germans his manhood (run, German people!), it'd be news, although I can't say it'd be totally surprising news. But just some random person? That is not news. That is probably a college student.

Have A Cute 3 Year Old? - [URL redacted for skeeviness] - Easily Submit Your Baby Photos. Win Cash & Prizes. Free Membership!

CREEPY BEYOND ALL MEASURE. Ew, ew, EW. Let us speak no more of this. EVER. - In progress: Rain-delayed Colonial resumes

I - should I know what this means? I'm guessing something to do with sports. Sports you cannot do in the rain. Possibly colonial sports? Like, um, basketball? Curling? Australian Rules Football? Revolution? But it's all just uneducated guessing, because, really, I have no idea why I should care.

And why you felt it necessary to put this on an email about Doctor Who, Gmail, will remain forever a mystery. Unless you were thinking: "Hey, it's email between a Canadian and an American. Surely they are interested in the breaking news on all things Colonial!" In which case, speaking only for myself - the Canadian will have to make her own decision - no. No, I am not.

Rotten Tomatoes: Movies - Orange Winter

This came from an email containing a link to a shoeblog post. And nothing else. Call me crazy, but I was expecting the ad to be FOR SHOES. (The side ads for this one, by the way, included my old friend Coffee Fool and a CFA test prep course. ALSO NOT SHOES.) These targeted ads are not, shall we say, exactly shooting through a laser sight, here.

International Herald Tribune - Britain deports Muslim preacher linked to 2005 bombings

This came from an email conversation about the etiquette of commenting on stories. I can only assume that Gmail divined that this was a complex and challenging topic fraught with strife, and attempted to find a story of commensurate gravity. In which case: you overshot just slightly, Gmail. This might've been a good time to whip out the Naked Guy in Germany story, though.

Are You a Slacker Mom? - - 15 fun questions to see what type of parenting style fits you!

This is the only ad besides Coffee Fool to appear on my most recent bout of emails with norah. I - yeah, I think this was an attempt to judge MMWD, again. (For the record: she is not a slacker mom. I'm not even sure what one is, but I know she isn't.) Gmail, it is wrong to cast aspersions on my friends just because I spend more time with them than with you.

NYT Travel - 36 Hours in Moscow

I am never going to spend 36 hours in Moscow. Seriously. Either it's going to be more or it's going to be less; I am not flying to Russia to eat lunch, take a nap, and catch a movie. Perhaps the idea of 36 hours in Moscow is supposed to make me feel all jet-set and wonderfully flashy, but instead it makes me think: yes. And are you counting the time it would take to go through Customs and security? Because I estimate that at four hours - conservative, I think you'll all agree - or just over ten percent of the total time I'd be in the country. No. No, if I ever do that, it won't be because the NYT travel section told me to, but rather because the person holding one of my dogs hostage demanded that I do so. Or because I was paid large sums of money. Those are the only possible scenarios where this is ever going to happen, and in either case, I won't be needing the NYT's advice.

More interesting, though, is the question of how Gmail decided this was the perfect ad to append to Best Beloved's breathless report that David Hasselhoff has a new book out called, apparently, Don't Hassel the Hoff. (With link to the publicity page for said book, which - wow. Don't go there, people. It will hurt your brain far more than any Gmail ad link could hope to do.) Perhaps Gmail felt that after that, I'd probably want to get the hell out of the country for a bit, in which case, accurate assessment, but I think they could only reach me with 36 Hours in the Lesser Magellanic Cloud. That, my friends, I would totally click through. Especially with all this Hoff Hasseling (is that like cow tipping?) that's apparently happening these days on earth.

Yahoo! News: Entertainment News - Criminalist Lee's credibility challenged (AP)

I really couldn't care less, to be honest. What's fascinating to me is the sidebar ads on this one. Art by Grace Slick! Recording the Beatles! Midnight Special the live Rock n' Roll Concert Show! The Brother Brothers! (Supernatural fans, shush.) 70S [sic] Rock Music! Seriously, what this says to me is: spike21 brings terrifying things in her wake. Terrifying things with big, scary hair.

Puppies at Puppy Paradise - [URL redacted on account of evil] - $100 in Free Gifts with Purchase of Any Puppy Today!

This one depresses me so much that I'm just going to have to not talk about it.

Instead, I will note that this was on an email from cherryice, who taunted me with her much more entertaining Google ad, and let me just quote her directly, here:

Underwater Treadmills for small animals. From the world leader in canine UWTs

She says: What gets me about this -- what really gets me -- isn't even the Underwater Treadmill bit, so much. It's that there is a WORLD MARKET, a world market large enough to have a LEADER.

I would add to that that this gave me a mental image of either of my dogs on an underwater treadmill. And - okay, no, that would never work, because:
  1. The LOOKS, oh my god the LOOKS of "Why are you doing this to me?" and "WOE, I suffer greatly" and "Behold, I am a poor bedraggled animal being tortured by monsters of cruelty. Someone save me!"
  2. I cannot picture how I would keep my dogs - who spring merrily off the big treadmill-like dog scale at the vet's office and wander off to see if the other animals have any interesting diseases they'd like to share - on a treadmill, unless it was a treadmill with enclosed sides and a roof.
  3. In which case - look, there's a name for an underwater treadmill with enclosed sides and a roof, and that name is James Bond Villain Torture Device. The market for canine-oriented James Bond Villain Torture Devices has to be - please, god, let it be - extremely limited. So when they say "world market," which parts of the world, exactly? I would like to know so I never spend 36 hours there. - Stripper sentenced in NASCAR embezzlement case

Am I the only one waiting breathlessly for the movie treatment of this? Come ON. Stripper! NASCAR! Embezzlement! Tell me this is not going to be a major motion picture starring - oh, I don't know. Someone named Jennifer, probably - very soon. I am quite grateful to Gmail for giving me the heads-up on what is sure to be a fine piece of cinematic entertainment that I will not be seeing.

In the meantime, I have my questions about the actual story. Like, NASCAR, are you a bunch of morons? You handed your money to a stripper? In most places, when she takes the money, we don't call that embezzlement. We call it "accepting a tip." Possibly you are confused about stripper methodology here. For the record: you give bankers money you want to keep. You give strippers money if you want a lap dance.

Hasselhoff t-shirts - - Original printed Hasselhoff t-shirts-three designs

THIS IS ENTIRELY BEST BELOVED'S FAULT. Oh my god, Gmail, I am NOT THIS PERSON. Send Best Beloved the Hasselhoff t-shirt ads! Not me! I am an innocent bystander. I was entirely unaware of Hasselhoff's cult of - I don't know what to call, it precisely, but "ego" seems more appropriate than "personality" - until recently, when sdwolfpup showed me two music videos (one in which Hasselhoff attempts to win the Worst Blue Screening award while holding a plastic fish in his mouth and dancing out of rhythm, and one in which he is wearing a "Don't Hassel the Hoff" t-shirt, which I now realize was fearsome marketing in action). I have not been the same since, although my doctors hold out some small chance of a full recovery for me. My point is: INNOCENT. Also, fragile and not to be randomly subjected to Hasselhoff-related ads.

...Okay, this is probably a good time to stop, since I do at last feel like Gmail is judging me.

And what have we learned? With enough scrutiny, you can read sinister intent into anything.

Also, I'm somewhat prone to paranoia.

And no one had better call me a Hasselhoff lover, damn it.
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