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Zappos’ targeted ads: privacy violation?

About five days ago I decided it was a time to retire my old brown dress shoes so I went online, as I usually do, to shuffle over the hundreds of models that my search yielded.

So I went to my usual first option: Zappos.com, but couldn’t find something I liked so, I went to a few other sites until I did and finished my transaction. All good now, time to forget about brown shoes.

Today while reading a few blog posts at Alltop.com, one of my preferred blogs, I was creeped out by some ads displaying the shoe models I was looking at at Zappos! But on my favorite blog?

As an interactive marketer I had always supported targeted and personalized advertising but now that I experienced it, I think this went too far, it is just creepy.

It’s like I went to the shoe store and five days later the shoe salesman approaches me at lunch, out of nowhere, to tell me to buy the shoes I “touched” during my last visit, I personally find it outrageous!

So I tweeted the following:

@ferdelat 11:40am:
Zappos ads that show the shoe models I didn’t shop are annoying and creeping me out a lot. Stop stalking me!!

And this is the response from Zappos

@Zappos_Service 12:37pm:
@ferdelat I’m sorry. Those ads are running on your computer’s cookies and cache. If you clear them, the ads should go away.

Although Criteo, the company serving those ads, states that the information is anonymous you would have to go to configuration to prevent these ads from showing. What I’m concerned about is that I never signed-in and now I have to opt-out.

What happened to the question: Would you like to receive more information about ____________?

And the fact that a different company, not  Zappos, is controlling that information creeps me out even more! Why does Criteo know what I’m watching online? What else do they know?

When I’m done buying shoes I just want to close the window and forget about that. I don’t want to buy 25 pairs of shoes! Same as when I leave a store.

So, the ad wasn’t relevant, but it did creep me out. I’m blocking these ads and if you want to do so here is the opt-out link: http://ow.ly/2e9fU

And remember, you are being watched and followed – stalked would be a more precise word according to my experience.

What do you think?