So, I bought a new television, and it has a YouTube app built in. But being an app, it doesn’t have the same sort of metadata / overhead that my web browser on my PC has. All the overhead your web browser has, does of course make your browsing session completely identifiable. Even me, with my privacy protection browser plugins, and cookie cleaners, and ad-blocking plugins knows to assume that I’m completely identifiable.
Back in the day, Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems said “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.” People weren’t happy with this attitude, but, it’s an honest assessment of the state of the Internet.
95% (or more) of Google’s revenue is from their customers who pay for a chance to sell you something you don’t need. The chance of the sale increases if the pitch is targeted to you. The amount of sales for Google increases if they have more customers. So the more Google mines your personal data, the more possibilities they have that a nugget will match that potential customer.
It’s really just the old saying, “if you aren’t paying for the service, you are the product, and someone else is the customer”.
Now I have this device that connects to YouTube, and Google has never seen this device before. It has no history, it’s cookie is freshly baked but as bland as possible. Google has zero information about this new ad target. For one brief shining moment, the amount of leverage Google had on this target was super low. All they could really tell was which ISP it came from, and the whatever machine model information was sent in the HTTP User Agent field.
Apparently, YouTube / Google thinks Saturday Night Live is something a generic someone would want to watch. Personally, I don’t think SNL has been funny for a decade or two; but I was spoiled by the 1970’s SNL.
Of course, there were sports. And the Daily Awww (which is probably a good choice). And even some movie trailers (I think).
However, I was watching a YouTube video on my PC, and at the end of the day, I wanted to finish it on the TV. So I searched for the author’s name, to find all the videos about. Yes, I finished the video.
OH. MY. FREAKING. GOD.
Now, Google YouTube cannot find anything not related to this author. It is as if my entire world must be completely obsessed with this author; because, hey, a lot of people are talking about (*), and that’s all they know.
I seriously don’t want to use YouTube on the TV any more, because this tracking / focus on leveraging what they do know is extreme. It is ridiculous.
Anyway, if your business behavior makes people uncomfortable, you might want to examine if you are doing business right.