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The Internet is Stalking Me

February 25, 2012 | Comments

I did a Google search a while back, and a rectangle at the top of the Google page showed me what my friends on Twitter were tweeting. But I wasn't on Twitter. I was on Google.

I bought a new router last weekend and discovered I needed a new wireless adapter for my TiVo. I looked for one on the TiVo website and on Amazon. The next day, I went to Best Buy and bought one. The day after that, I started seeing ads on the Sparkpeople website for that specific wireless adapter. I suspect Amazon was pushing it out to me because I searched for it. But I wasn't on Amazon. I was on Sparkpeople.

Two weeks ago, I started getting deliveries from Greenling.com (they deliver local produce to your door). Not long after, Greenling.com advertisements were everywhere on the Web. I'm not sure what action I took that made that happen... maybe it was coincidence, but I don't think so.

Almost every time I go to Target, I receive a coupon for Brita water filters when I check out. I bought some there once. I didn't think much about it until it happened a few times and I suspected they were tracking my purchases, which means they're tracking me by my credit card number because I don't have any kind of special Target card.

Then I read this and knew: Target knows when its shoppers are pregnant.

As far as I know, none of this is dangerous or damaging (except for that poor pregnant girl who was outed to her dad by Target). I don't feel paranoid that they're out to get me. But it feels like stalking and it makes me mad.

I've closed my Google Plus account and try not to use Google search if I can help it. I like Gmail and Google Reader enough to keep using them, but in the back of my mind I'm thinking of switching. I'm considering paying for Target purchases with cash, but getting cash is so inconvenient. I hate that I even have to burn cycles thinking of ways to keep companies from stalking me.

Something I Had Delivered

Greenling Produce

My Greenling.com haul this week: parsley, bananas, green kale, grass fed sausage, broccoli, live basil plant, rutabagas, black radishes (gotta look close because they can be none more black), lettuce (I think escarole), and red kale. Not pictured are crimini mushrooms, oranges and avocados.

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