Do Not Track

Generally, I don’t have a problem with the practice of tracking for the purposes of targeting advertising, but there are limits because it’s often counterproductive. If I purchase online, the best values are likely to come from companies that are not near me. If I plan to shop locally (brick and mortar), I already know what is available, and I can always do a specific search online.

Where there is a problem is that the tracking software is “dumb”; it does not know my interests or inclinations. For instance, I am beset by numerous targeted ads from sites in a city some 35 miles south of where I live. It is a city that I last visited more than 10 years ago (to go to a museum), and it is a city where I have never shopped, a city where I do not ever intend to go to shop. Since I never shop there, the targeting is totally misdirected, pointless, and annoying, guaranteeing even more that I will never shop there.

Not only is the targeted advertising misdirected, it takes the place of something I might be interested in, for instance, in the very large city 40 miles to the north which is much larger than the one that is being targeted to me. There is also another city 25 miles to the west. These two are the ones that I visit and shop at when I’m not shopping locally.

My browser is Mozilla Firefox, which has the “Do Not Track” feature, but it does not work, or at least does not work with respect to the targeted ads. So I am stuck with the pointless ads. The only pleasure comes from knowing that the companies that pay for them are wasting their money.