August 19, 2008

google mail can cure me!

i have a google mail account and use it to do useful things like correspond with guest quiz writers. if you have gmail, have you ever noticed that their system scans the body of your emails and targets you with "relevant" ads? it creeps me out. their software doesn't just look at the titles of your emails, no, no, they go for the content. the heart of the matter. your private correspondence is their ad fodder.

for the last monday quiz, frida and i wrote each other several emails. you can see from this first screen shot image that the ads were geared toward our shared experience of back pain:

in the next round of emails, we got similar ads and also, inexplicably, one for a rear support harness for dogs (insert comment here). we got suggestions for "distance healing," a site that heals "people, pets and places" and other places to send our money. but it was on our final round that the ads lurched into the bizarre chronic holiday zone wherein frida received notice of how to deal with "severe black magic" (not just the run of the mill everyday stuff) and i have the very special "vibrational energy technology" among others:

i'm afraid frida may have succumbed. in her last email to me she wrote:

"Facing Severe BlackMagic? Try a Neck Pain Relief Pillow. Let's try gmail advertising advice!"

oh, google, what did we ever do without you?


sarah said...

brilliant. is there a certain poetry to this, or is it only evil?

Anonymous said...

maybe evilly poetic?

Anonymous said...

It's a bit freaky that they scan your mail, but they were quite upfront about it when they first launched gmail.

Donimo said...

yeah, i don't think it's only evil. i mean, who would click on the links anyway? i think laughing about it (or being deeper and thinking that it's "poetic") helps put it at a distance and lowers the outrage factor.

i joined gmail a bit late, i guess, because i never read anything about them accessing my private email conversations. how great is gmail's policies for homeland security?

FridaWrites said...

There is a poetry to it. I had been tuning out the advertisements for a while because they were random at first, but now I have them targeted for wheelchairs and personal scooters. Wahahahaha--I have my personal scooter and since it's an Amigo, it's going to last a long, long time.

I'm not worried that the gmail people would read my email. I'd probably bore them silly. But yeah, no doubt some kind of program that can scan for recurrences of types of words in particular contexts would certainly be of benefit to homeland security. As a matter of fact, they're probably on to us now. :)

Gaina said...

Hehe, myspace does the same thing. I just keep getting ads pleading me to renounce my sin and embrace the light....Umm, yeah.

michelle said...

Gmail ads have become less random for me, too. I haven't had any Black Magic links, but I have had a few for crystals and the power of prayer after I wrote to a friend about wishing I could just think my pain away. It's possible, apparently.

Thanks for the laugh. Excellent post, as per usual. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Donimo,

Yeah, it was part of the big launch announcement when gmail first came out. That you could get huge amounts of storage (for a free account). In exchange you'd be agreeing to their marketing to you.

I'm surprised it's not in the disclaimer or something. Or maybe this is just common practice now.


Donimo said...

Gaina:wow, i should check out your myspace page you hell-bound thing.

Michelle: oh, it's possible! like the "Nullify Black Magic Evil" ad, it's "500% true," dontcha know. i don't even know if i'm ready to enter into the other dimension where something is more that 100% true! 110%, maybe.

AJ: i'm sure i clicked on the agreement terms (in small print) when i signed up, but it's still weird that the body of the email is scanned.

Lisa Moon said...

Heeey, you might be onto something here! Perhaps my disabling condition is *really* someone out there with a voodoo doll of me, having some 'fun' at my expense!

So, where DOES one turn to face the black magic? Anyone seen any ads on axing voodoo doll spells?

Oh, and pleased to meet you, thanks for your comment on my little corner of the blogosphere. Yep, let down by the union, too, can you believe them? The largest one in the province, too - BCGEU! Those jerks, I'm considering going to the media over it... after all, no one seems willing to help anyone, unless it will make them look bad! *snorts in disgust*


Donimo said...

i like the voodoo doll notion, lisa. how DO we track down the culprits? it might involve sacrificing a chicken or a BCGEU rep. NO, NO, i didn't mean that.

FridaWrites said...

To undo black magic on you, look up "binding spells" on google, Lisa to prevent someone from doing harm to you (it doesn't do harm to them back). If you suspect someone in particular is responsible, there are even more specific spells. You can do this yourself, is better than having someone do it for you.

(Sensing Donimo backing away. No, I don't really know as much about this as it sounds, only a friend and I were having some trouble with someone else, and it's a long story...)

No, I want voodoo dolls of people who block wheelchair access aisles and refuse to move their cars when I ask them nicely because I haven't been out of the house in 5 days and I want to eat dinner with my family. That's what I want a voodoo doll of, Frida says, dropping an evil grin. No, actually I just want to STOP them from blocking the spaces. Uh oh, all caps, I'm losing it.

yanub said...

Donimo, it's one of my favorite things about Gmail. I read follow-up comments to blogger blogs in my gmail account, and, depending on the blog, some of the ads are a riot. Pennies from Heathens this last time rendered me a bunch of links to boot sellers. And Lilwatchergirl posts brought along information on getting my parking lot striped. I consider it free entertainment, and its pretty obvious that no one is learning anything useful about me or I'd not get such silly ads. Though, this last time, the Screw Bronze ads might have been helpful in meeting the challenge if I hadn't already met it, since they were all about gift baskets.

Donimo said...

frida: i'm not backing away! a lot goes on in this world that is unexplained. why not try a binding spell? too bad we couldn't learn to levitate a car out of a disabled parking spot or create some sort of force field around it.

yanub: free entertainment, i like that. your parking lot striped? i'm surprised some company does google ads for that. as part of my Screw Bronze challenge i am giving away medication that i can't use and that is expensive, so i've been targeted by cheap rx ads when, really, i could use those gift basket ideas for making a drug delivery more special!

FridaWrites said...

Yeah, I want to keep people from disablism/blocking me from getting in in the first place. The young woman in question said many times she uses voodoo dolls and black magic on people she didn't like, so when we got on her "shit list" we decided to self protect and self protect only.

alice, uptown said...

what I find even creepier is that somehow google desktop will, when you run a google search, it will display all the emails you have cached on your computer that are relevant to the topic that you are searching. basically, anything on a computer connected to the Internet might as well be on the AP wire, assuming it still exists.

Donimo said...

wow, alice, the creepiness goes even deeper than i thought!