My Gmail Is Creeping Me Out

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I'm rethinking my e-mail address. It's a huge decision to switch e-mail accounts. But Google you are weirding me out!

You get what you pay for. I understand that. So naturally, there are ads displayed down the right side of my email client (gmail). There's nothing new about this. What's new is my growing discomfort with it.

I've just been paying attention more to the content of those ads (happy news for Google and it's advertisers, admittedly). The ads are clearly triggered by keywords in the content of my e-mails; those being drafted and those being read.

File this under "when intuitive becomes intrusive". There's a line and gmail continues to cross it.

If I'm writing an e-mail about my kids, then toy ads pop up on the right side. If I'm writing a whiny e-mail to a girlfriend about my daily emotional dramas, I get self-help ads. You get the idea.

There's just something inherently wrong about this. It's one thing to cull information from my profile and pigeon hole me into a demographic and market to me accordingly (slimy, but I accept that). Sending bots to crawl through my e-mails for key words to trigger appropriate content ads is too far. It's ingenius from a marketing standpoint. But for a company whose mantra is "don't be evil"; well, memo to Google.

This is evil!

Last updated: Nov 19, 2008




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