The failure of targeted advertising

Over the past couple of years I’ve been wanting to get back into target shooting. I used to love it as a kid, and have fond memories of cycling the bolt on a 22lr rifle and plinking the tip of a metal pole the width of my pinky, or even pumping my little pellet gun and attempting to calculate my dope for my cheap walmart scope (mostly unsucessfully).

Well, I finally did it after a bit of research on what’s hot and not in the modern firearm world.. No rifle this time, but instead I’ve picked up a nice 22lr handgun (a Taurus TX22 in case you’re wondering). I wanted to go 9mm, but with ammo costs being what they are, 22lr is much more reasonable.

Of course, I did a lot of prep work beforehand, too. A secure safe, gloves (because it’s easier for me to grip wearing gloves thanks to my arthritis, plus cold-weather shooting), cleaning tools and more were all acquired before I even purchased the gun itself.

Thanks to the internet, a lot of this work can be done online easily.

Thanks to the internet and my research, I’m also getting served an insane variety of ads and recommended content that I have ZERO interest in.

E.D. med ads are what I see the most of, but a close runner up is cheap fly-by-night shitty T-shirt shops selling “Let’s Go Brandon” drek (despite being a firearm enthusiast, I tend to vote democrat and am a crazy liberal commie bastard).

I also get hit with a lot of Trump retargeting content thinly disguised as surveys spreading FUD about the current administration or terrorists.

YouTube is a massive hellhole for suggested content, too. I have a handful of Guntubers I enjoy; Honest Outlaw is one you should always check first for any gun reviews because he’s a genuinely good guy, smart, and more importantly doesn’t go on insane rants about politics. A few others are OK, and Garand Thumb is good for entertainment value.

God Family & Guns gets recommended to me, though, because of the above channels I watch.. And telling YouTube to stop recommending them requires so many hoops to be jumped through (that you can’t do if you’re watching on a TV, FYI) that it may as well be a popup ad for how obnoxious the process it (and please, do NOT waste your time watching that channel, they don’t deserve the ad revenue).

Even books aren’t safe now. I used to occasionally get decent recommendations, but now I’m also getting those obnoxious alt-right book suggestions for every genre I’ve ever expressed an interest in (usually investigative non-fiction, biographies or military/hard sci-fi).

All of these targeted ads and suggestions share one thing in common (beyond being obnoxious clickbait for the questionable-of-character alt-right Trump lovers): They are 100% irrelevant to me.

I’ve worked for years in the advertising industry, including online advertising. I’ve worked with systems for targeting, both as an advertiser, an ad network, and website manager.

After all these years we still can’t seem to quite get it right, despite collecting massive amounts of data on everybody (and pissing most of us off in the process).

I hate how much data is collected about me, but what I hate even more is how poorly it is used. I could honestly accept it if it’s usage was done properly, but in my case, it almost never is.