Amazon linked to me on the SD?

The other day I was looking at biscuit cutters on Amazon. Today, the sidebar ad on the SD was from Amazon, featuring. . .wait for it. . .biscuit cutters! Tracking or coincidence?

Think cookies, not biscuits.

The longer I use computers, the less I understand about them, it seems. Another thing: why am I seeing ads on one computer, but not on the other? I thought paid members don’t get ads.

Ad networks work with stores to communicate via cookies, small files stored on your computer that track your browsing history. They noted what you shopped for on Amazon and wrote it out in the cookies. When serving up ads on SDMB they use that information to target appropriate ads to you.

I see. Well, it’s a sure-fire way to make sure I don’t buy from them.

Why not? I searched for marine GPS system one day, and two weeks later the best deal was from an actual ad driven by cookies.


Run; don’t walk!

You know it’s an ad… right? Not AIDS?


Because it presumes that I’m too stupid to search for myself, or that prompting me about it will cause me to immediately go buy it from them because I’m just that brainless and gullible. I had already looked at those items and rejected them as being too small for my needs. It’s also creepy.

They are trying to serve you with ads that are relevant. Your browsing history is a great way to do so, especially if you are shopping. While you may have searched for deals, personalized ads can offer you deals that you couldn’t otherwise get, or that haven’t been advertised yet, or that you just haven’t found.

If you find it creepy, turn off cookies or block them from URLs that you don’t want. You are in control of what data is stored for advertisers.

It’s called retargeting

I think it’s an example of something that works but triggers an irrational, intangible fear.

Guess you wouldn’t be too happy, ChefGuy, if you were one of those Mac users that Orbitz identifies as a Mac user (and a big spender, since Mac users spend more on lodging) and targets the most expensive travel arrangements to!

I’m guessing you would not like that. :wink:


i go to certain parts sites and for the next two weeks the ads for that place come up frequently.

It’s black magic and pure evil. :smiley:

Seriously… aren’t targeted ads better than miscellaneous ones?


Is it possible you’re not logged in on the other computer?

Firefox has a “render like you’re in IE” button on the lower right corner of the window. I’ve been known to click that by accident. Then all of a sudden I’m getting ads (which I don’t normally get). Presumably it can’t tell that it’s already logged in because the cookies are handled differently? Might it be something like that?

One thing that may or may not make you feel better is that even though you were on SD when these ads appeared, SD actually doesn’t know anything about the content of those ads. It’s not like Amazon somehow shared info about you with SD and told it “hey, it’s that Chefguy, show him this ad for us”. It’s more like SD just allowed a place for Amazon to show ads and since you had an Amazon cookie, Amazon was able to target you directly in that space provided by SD.

Unless there’s something wrong in my understanding of how it works. But I don’t think so.

It’s not a really big deal; it just surprised me. I normally never even notice ads, but happened to glance over and see something I’d just looked at within the last couple of days on Amazon. Ads on the screen are like ads in the newspaper, which I also almost never look at.

The only piece missing is that the ad space might not be Amazon’s. There are ad networks and publishers and brokers that dice and slice the ad space, serving what ads will generate the most money for them. The cookie might not be Amazon’s, but a 3rd party that collects data from websites via a number of different means.

Ok, but if he got the cookie by looking at something on, then surely the cookie is an cookie. If that were the case, if the ad iframe was from an ad network and not, then the browser wouldn’t send the cookie … so the ad network would then not get any info about his amazon browsing history, no?