Fake News

When I started my little Internet company back in 1997, we didn’t know about Google yet and Netscape Navigator was in beta testing. An economic development officer hired by my little town of Pinawa, Peter Siemens opined about a little trick he’d heard about. Apparently there was a way to look at what people were doing on the Internet, and a company (Google as it turned out) was working on a way to tailor ads just for you. Back then there was a lot of conversation about the morality of this. Personally, I was already playing with code snippets that told me a little bit about you when you visited my site, things like what operating system you were using, maybe where you lived (but not yet accurate). I had no idea what I might do with this information, but at the time we did things just because we could. I never imagined Trump or Brexit, not in a million years.

This has come to mind because I’ve started taking a few brief courses on Google Analytics for the purpose of monetizing this blog. I think Jared Kushner took the same courses. The wealth of data available to me now for FREE is unbelievable. All I want to do is deliver ads that might interest my readers and not annoy you too much, but the power of this technology is frightening.

I just saw an ad on Facebook for an Australian political candidate, proclaiming that his opponent was planning to purchase luxury homes for immigrants to Australia to live in, with their tax dollars. This ad was delivered to people who believe it, share it and further fuel their anger towards immigration. I’ve seen posts about Trudeau imposing Sharia law in Canada – shared by people I had to sadly unfriend. My Newsfeed is full of climate change, environmental disasters and anti-conservative propaganda. It’s difficult, but not impossible to know what to believe.

Now to the point. I’m joining the game. The last time I had ads on my blog I had to tailor them for you. I could set filters to try and deliver you the ads I felt might interest you. It’s changed a bit over the years. Google knows you so well it has taken over. It may be my blog, but you’re going to get the ads your Internet life reveals you deserve. I’ll be able to filter out some of the bullshit over time, but it’s basically out of my control. I have a favour to ask. When you see stupid stuff on the Internet, even if its here, ask yourself if it’s likely to be true. Look at the source. Don’t click on or share things just because they make you angry, or happy for that matter. If you see ads here on my blog that offend you, tell me about it

Now after all that warning, I hope you do find some useful links and use them once in a while. The Trail Lady could use some travel cash.





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One Response to Fake News

  1. We used Google analytical on the website so that we could track which was the most popular page and where these folks were from that were on our site. Obviously the job bulletin, recreation page and the newsletter were hits and most traffic was in Eastman and Winnipeg. I had to do a report almost every week and summarized it for the AGMs. I found it interesting but really of no value to us since we weren’t targeting the people to make any money. Clearly it didn’t mean to much to us as a town if we were getting hits from India, UAE, or England. Great article again Donna and I would say it is very creepy to find the next time you are on the internet you have ads from MEC or Hudson Bay since you were just shopping online for Christmas – yikes!

    Nancy January 13, 2020 at 11:22 am Reply

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