When ads first appeared on the internet, they were not really very well targeted. But Google has made its fortune by learning all about you by snooping on the websites you visit. Facebook is trying to emulate the same thing by determining who your friends are and what you like. These commercial behemoths have a pretty good idea of your age, sex, marital status, location, what kind of cars you drive, what your hobbies are, etc. Several years ago, I would get ads and emails for programs to restore my credit score (which hasn’t needed restoring, thank you very much), reduce my mortgage, and of course, ads for fake Viagra.
As the years passed, the credit scores and mortgage ads began to decrease in frequency, and the ads became more relevant and pleasant: new cars, cruises, vacations to exotic places, motorcycles and ham radio. Sweet.
However, in the past couple of months, I’ve begun to see a disturbing trend in the ads; Google realizes that I’m over 65, so the ads are now aimed at a new demographic. They’re depressing, because they are for things such as the “Help I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up” security dongle, magic wands that make arthritis pain a thing of the past, or “scam Medicare to get your own mobility scooter.” Those didn’t bother me much, but now they’ve reached a new low: step in bathtubs for old people.
The time may come when we would welcome a mobility scooter or step in bathtub, but for now I wish they’d keep the ads for romantic cruises and vacation destinations.