It's pretty much a given that advertisers (as well as governments...) track your online activity. You do a google search and before you know it, you see advertisements for the very things you searched. They don't even try to hide it anymore.
I'm not necessarily saying this is always a bad thing. If you're searching for parts to fix your broken refrigerator, seeing ads for what you need might help you get those parts at a cheaper price. Then again, they might just be annoying.
There was even a time when my friend Todd and I discussed writing. He asked if I had heard of a writing seminar put on by a NYT bestselling author. I told him I had not heard of that seminar. He went and told me all about it. When I went home that night, I got online and there it was--an ad for that very seminar. I had never seen that ad before. It wouldn't surprised me if the advertisers (and government...) were not just following my online searches, but listening to my conversations as well.
But, those who developed the program to channel advertisements to those with money and a need/want need to up their game. I did some research on bald eagles recently for my latest story. Next thing I know, Amazon is letting me know that through them I can actually buy bald eagles! Amazon can get me bald eagles.
Of course, a bald eagle is a tangible thing--it is something that I suppose you could buy if you had the money and it were legal. But the amazing Amazon can also sell me closed captioning. That's right! Closed captioning! I didn't even know you could buy closed captioning. Apparently Amazon can get it for me.
Maybe Amazon is doing us all a favor. Maybe it's not for advertiser, but instead, a way to remind us to be more careful about what we search for on the internet...
...or say to Todd.