This fellow, whom I have no knowledge of other than this blog posting, used to work for Google. Now he doesn't. Among one of the things he writes is this gem,
"When Gmail displays ads based on things I type into my email message it creeps me out."
Which is, of course, how any sane person feels about internet ads and internet user tracking networks. It's certainly how I feel. I'm glad to hear a former Google insider say it. A future with networks that can track you wherever you are and provide you with ads for the things you don't even know you want sounds like a dystopia to me. I feel really strongly negative about ads so maybe I'm not a good example of a regular person (but I think most people would gladly never see another ad). I believe that the claim that so many of these ad selling agencies make, that people want to see ads for things they don't know they want is baloney. Nobody wants to see ads except the ad agencies that make them and the distribution networks that show them. Those are the two parties in the arrangement who are guaranteed to make money. Even the manufacturers of goods and providers don't like ads, they're expensive and it's difficult to find out if they actually work (and the ad networks are, I'm sure, giving out as little useful information as possible), but they're too afraid to not buy them. I suspect that with really accurate tracking you'd probably see that most money spent on ads is wasted but I don't want to live in that future anyway. Almost all ads are a waste of everyone's time and the ad buyers' money.
The people hyping these tracking systems and networks couch their proposed offerings in language that is meant to appeal to and appease regular internet users.
Letting us track you will help you. You'll find what you want more easily. Your life will be easier. You don't even know what you don't know you want. We can tell you! You'll be happier!
They don't care about the benefits to the people they track since those people don't pay for the ads. There's nothing to be earned from them directly. The way to cash in on the herds is from harvesting their behaviour online. What they are really doing is talking to the people who want to buy the ads.
You'll waste less money once we can track everyone. Whatever you spend on ads will only go to people whose behaviour (in some Bayesian way) indicates that they want to see your ads and buy your goods and services. We promise! Pay us!
So, here I am on Google+ writing this rant. I like the way this place works compared to Facebook. I feel like I'm on the web instead of on Facebook. Also, so far I haven't seen any ads. Except for that irritating "What's Hot on Google+" thing that I did finally figure out how to turn off.
Here's someone else's take on the rant I've linked to ...