For this exercise, I started by visiting Amazon and browsing a couple tech gadgets, like gaming keyboards, mice, and headphones. I noticed that Amazon was very good at remembering my browsing history and had many suggestions of related products. However, when I went to Facebook, CNN, reddit, twitter and the NY Times, I didn’t have any ads whatsoever. Then, I realized I had Adblock installed, which blocked these ads. I disabled Adblock for the purpose of this assignment and wondered if my browsing data was still saved or if unrelated ads would pop up for me with Adblock removed.
Upon visiting Facebook, my ads were very targeted – but not to my browsing history for specific products. Instead, they targeted clothing shopping, which I receive e-mails for and browse some websites for. However, I never buy clothes on Amazon or other larger aggregate shopping websites, but rather either specific brand websites or smaller online clothing stores. As a result, the ads seem to be targeted but the information seems to be pulled from other sources, such as my e-mail or possibly my Facebook status history (posting/sharing about buying clothes). CNN, twitter, and NY times only seemed to have generic ads – pizza hut, home insurance and banking, which I never searched for online. Reddit has ads as well but for reddit-specific things, and does not seem targeted either. After a couple more hours, Facebook ads then began to update to my tech-gadget focused browsing from before, but no ads seem to be specifically targeted towards me.