Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Remarketing to web surfers: would I really be interested in "Tommy John" surgery for myself? (Oh, maybe family).

The New York Times ran a major story Tuesday Aug. 31 about the business model of Internet giants, and how they have built up sophisticated techniques to track user behavior and perform “retargeting” or “remarketing” of the same or similar products across many sites visited. The story is by Miguel Helft and Tanzina Vega, with this link, about “following surfers to other sites”, here.

The story gave an example with zappos.com (shoes), but it’s easy to imagine with many other products (like bicycles, as with one Twitter friend).

I had an experience like this recently, seeing a web ad for Tommy John surgery recently. Well, I did have hernia surgery last January, but I’m not a major league pitcher and I don’t need elbow reconstruction. But, because I blog about baseball (and particularly recently about Nats’ pitcher Stephen Strasburg and his injury), and visit mlb.com a lot, I get I became a “mark.” Actually, what I "need" isn't the point. An advertiser assumes that I am probably a father and have a teenage son in sports.  It makes you wonder, doesn't it.

Of course, I understand, our whole experience of "free entry" and "free" content depends on advertising, just as broadcast television always depended on intrusive commercials from "friendly sponsors".

By the way, Stephen has his “experience” Friday morning (in LA). You know the routine, for any outpatient surgery, nothing to eat or drink after midnight. And they put on a gown, and hook you up. Your continuity of experience stops as they wheel you toward the O.R. But you won’t remember they’re shaving you. And it takes at least 12 months to return to major league pitching. Jordan Zimmermann, himself a young Tommy John survivor, has taken his place in the Nats’s rotation, impressively.

You don't need "Tommy John" surgery for 5-minute chess, either.

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