Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"I'm asking this question for an imaginary friend. No, really."

It's no secret that internet ads target our interests. That is, our presumed interests--based on our previous searches, websites we've visited, etc.*

But for writers, this gets tricky. Yesterday a big ad appeared on a page I was viewing online, and this ad was for a certain activity** that I had researched a couple of days ago. Obviously, the internet thought it had divined my innermost desires!

The thing is, I wasn't researching it for myself. I have no plans to pursue this activity. The main character of my work in progress would be all over it, though.

Too bad he's fictional, internet advertisers!

I can only imagine the digital information that is compiled on my writer friends who research murder mysteries and spy thrillers.

*Although sometimes there doesn't seem to be any logic to it. For example, I don't know why I get ads for plastic surgery, in which I have never felt the remotest interest. Unless the internet just assumes that everyone is dissatisfied with their appearance, and blankets us all with those ads.

**Nothing illicit. I just don't want to be specific because that book is still in the stage where discussing any details of the plot or the characters threatens to drain all the momentum out of it.


  1. It is kind of disturbing how bots search our web viewing habits and even the content of our email to push ads at us. For a while, my Facebook sidebar had nothing but ads in Turkish because I'd received a submission at work about Orhan Pamuk.

    1. So the bots know a lot about us ... but not as much as they think they do. ;-)