I thought it had gone away. It had been quite some time since I had last seen mini banner ads masquerading as e-mails at the top of my gmail inbox. But Ho Ho Ho, happy holidays and merry sales figures, the advertisements are back. Now, I do not like advertisements, but I do like free e-mail, so I suppose this is a trade-off I have to be willing to accept, but if there was a way to turn those ads off, I was going to do it.
I went to my settings, and saw that I did indeed have some ad options, although getting rid of the pests entirely was not one of them. Instead I was asked if I wanted to turn off the data-mining targeting service that keeps track of every page I visit, every link that I click, and any item that I purchase online, and then tailors the commercial services to me very poorly. For instance, if I go to Amazon and purchase, say, the new George R.R. Martin book, suddenly my sidebars, pages, banners, and now e-mails, are inundated with ads for the new George R.R. Martin book. Which I just bought. So aside from being annoying, these ads are stupid.
I thought about it for a second, and then I clicked that I would not like ads targeted at me any longer. A screen popped up that said, in big, bold print: “HEY IDIOT! YOU ARE STILL GOING TO SEE ADS, OKAY? THIS DOES NOT TURN OFF THE ADS! DO NOT BE MAD AT US LATER WHEN YOU THINK THAT YOU TURNED OFF THE ADS AND THEN YOU STILL SEE THE ADS, BECAUSE THIS IS US TELLING YOU, RIGHT NOW, THAT THE ADS ARE A PART OF YOU. EMBRACE THE ADS.”
Then there were a few bullet points after that, outlining what I would be doing with this little click. What I would be doing, it told me, is removing relevance from the advertising. I would no longer see ads for things that they thought I would like. I would now see ads for general products and businesses that I may have absolutely zero interest in. And they were framing this as a bad thing! Ha!
Instead of turning me round, back to their premium targeted advertising dollars, this was the final nail in the coffin. You see, I don’t actually want or need anything. My life is pretty good. I’m a little busy today, and stressed out about all of the things I have to do between now and next Tuesday, but a new PS4 game will not solve that. If anything, it would make it worse. The only reason I would ever buy anything at this point, besides food, is if I saw an exciting commercial for it somewhere. And I do not want to see an exciting commercial for it. I am going to save so much money! Imagine if every commercial on TV was for something you legitimately hated or at least didn’t care about! Not that we watch commercials on TV anymore, but think about back in the day! You’re watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Saturday morning, and then, during the break, instead of seeing an ad for the new TMNT sewer playset, figures sold separately, you saw an ad for Medic Alert bracelets. The trailer for the new turtles movie would be replaced by a Summer’s Eve spot. You could walk away, use the restroom, and come back without ever having new desires implanted into your little brain. Freedom! FREEEEEDOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM!
So I have opted out of Google’s target advertising. To be pissy about it, they now put two ads at the top of my inbox every time I click over there, instead of the one I had before, but they are ads for Walmart and gun shows, and other BS I am not interested in. Temptation removed, data mining ended (ha), and peace of mind and wallet restored. Have a good Black ThurFriday next week everyone. I’ll be at home. Because I don’t even know about all of the things that I don’t want to need, or need to want.