Adverts that follow you

Now one of these days I will finally get my ‘moving flat’ epic published, in the mean time you can read my how to buy a property guide. It really is worth every penny.

Part of this process involves buying a sofa which doesn’t suck as much as my current sofa.

Of course, I’m doing this the proper way of procrastinating and constantly looking at websites and not deciding anything (look out for my exciting new book of the same name, the ultimate manager’s guide).

One of the sofa’s which was luckly enough to make the final rounds (i.e. got to perform in front of Simon Cowell and co), was this one, called – cutely – Oscar. Simple lines, modern look, sofa bed. From Furniture Village, which seems to be DFS’ more mature cousin, though this perhaps doesn’t say too much.

All fine and good.

Then the other day I visited, not a site I normally visit but a link had caught my eye on Twitter.

Engadget screenshot, with interesting ad

Notice that ad? A bit like travelling to furthest Siberia, walking in to the dodgyist bar and finding your nan there, distinctly out of place. Click on the image for a lager version.

At the top of an American website about gadgets is an advert for a UK middle-of-the-road furniture store, advertising the exact sofa I had been considering for some time.

This was no coincidence.

Nor had they been using Alien technology to read my mind. I had visited the furniture site using the same laptop (and presumably same browser), a cookie and advertising system was at play here.

In fact my mind was made up when this evening I saw this.

This was on Time Magazine’s website (again a US publication), on a Photo Gallery about Afghan Women (see this for background, wonderful world).

It’s that cheeky little sofa again, this time popping up next to a repressive regime. You Guys!

Finally, notice on the red border of the ad, bottom right there is a little bulge, clicking on it… “Totally personalised display ads”.

Does this freak me out. Probably should do, but at the moment it borders on fun, like most people my tastes and wants are diverse enough to create stupid juxtapositions (Serious News and Girls Aloud, Global Warming and fast cars). It becomes an issue when it goes beyond, ‘person x has looked at product y from company z so show advert to it’,and becomes one entity building a database of everything you view and do online.

What a scary vision. Think I’ll stick with what I know and just use Google and Facebook.


hesan yousif says:


I recommend using Freecycle for a free one!