Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Google to Let Users Hide Individual Remarketing Ads

Jon Krafcik of Google:

You visit Snow Boot Co.’s website, add a pair of boots to your shopping cart, but you don’t buy them because you want to keep looking around. The next time that you’re shopping online, Snow Boot Co. might show you ads that encourage you to come back to their site and buy those boots.

Reminder ads like these can be useful, but if you aren’t shopping for Snow Boot Co.’s boots anymore, then you don’t need a reminder about them. A new control within Ads Settings will enable you to mute Snow Boot Co.’s reminder ads. Today, we’re rolling out the ability to mute the reminder ads in apps and on websites that partner with us to show ads. We plan to expand this tool to control ads on YouTube, Search, and Gmail in the coming months. […]

“Reminder ads” is a hell of a euphemism for having a picture hawking a pair of boots follow you across every website you visit.

I find this entire announcement disingenuous. I doubt users are telling Google that they don’t want to see specific remarketing ads; I bet most users simply don’t want to be tracked across the web. This feature does nothing to address the latter. It’s a veneer of respect for users’ wishes overtop a business model built on questionable privacy practices and still-creepy behaviour.

By the way, I bet users’ “mutes” will be used to inform their ad targeting profiles. What they don’t want to see can be just as valuable to advertisers as what they would ostensibly like to see.