As more and more people begin to use and understand the internet, marketers want learn and understand how people use and navigate through websites. The search engines in particular, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing all attempt to track your website history. The search engines say it is to improve the search results, but really do you want to share your personal information with these corporate giants whose only interest is in generating more revenue?
The more you use your computer, the more the search engines know about you. Every time you search for something on the web, these sites are collecting data. This includes tons of personal information along with your web using habits and trends. Pretty soon the search engines will know everything about you, even your most intimate secrets.
The search engines say it is to make your search experience easier and more user friendly, but is that really the case? By collecting this data the search engines can sell it off to other companies, letting them know that you are interested or have been interested in their products or services recently. This is a definitely advantageous advertiser by targeting your specific interests and needs. This means a higher return on investment for paid search advertisers. This can be advantageous to consumers because as a company’s costs decrease and profit margins increase, they are likely to drop the price or run special offers and promotions.
This seems like an invasion of privacy, especially since most people are unaware of this. There is a line that has been crossed. For example, say you did a search for “Marijuana and Teenagers” because you recently discovered you child was smoking marijuana. Now with the customized search results you will begin to see ads related to marijuana and teenagers, even though you are not interested in this topic. This is an extreme case, but it is used to get the point across. People should be careful what they search for because it can come back to haunt them. Pretty scary stuff!
It will become more on topic soon as more and more people begin to realize that the internet and every website is collecting tons of useful data and information about you and your personal life. Some internet users have become paranoid and stopped visiting sites they are worried about. Hopefully, there will be some standards set in place soon so web users know what really is going on behind the scenes.