As our good friends, the advertisers, follow us around the internet in the hopes of discovering an interest that they can turn into effective marketing, they occasionally make an error. An example from my own life: whenever I miss a tv show, or just can't bring myself to spend an hour of my time watching it, you can often find me catching up by reading recaps at Television Without Pity. I haven't been watching House lately, so I read a recap of a recent episode where House's shrink gets fed up with him, and instead of talking to House anymore, picks up a magazine off his coffee table, which happens to be Wooden Boat magazine. The recapper thought that this was just a hilarious prop, and was charmed to discover that Wooden Boat is an actual magazine. He provided a link as proof, and I clicked through. Indeed, Wooden Boat is an actual magazine! How droll! Then I went on my merry way.
The problem is that now, through the power of data-mining, every website I go to is throwing ads for Wooden Boat magazine at me. This isn't all bad -- I mean, the ads are sort of soothing, as they tend to feature idyllic photos of wooden boats, and they don't move or dance around or play music at you, like ads for insurance companies or home loans or other products. But they are highly unlikely to get me to subscribe to Wooden Boat. I am not the target demographic for Wooden Boat. I am the target demographic for jokes about Wooden Boat. A subtle, yet highly meaningful difference that internet advertisers have yet to pick up on. So there they are, wasting some tenth of a penny per ad on me. Alas!