Ward Off Evil Spirits (Day 264)

(photo credit: Garlic portrait by Liz West on flickr.com. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode.)

I’m a little creeped out. Actually a lot of creeped out.

Yesterday, I went on moo.com and vistaprint.com and did mockups of business cards. I decided not to order the cards at this time, and worked on both sites as a guest, without providing my email or any information regarding my social media sites.

About an hour after I decided against the cards, I went onto Facebook and there was an advertisement in my feed for vistaprint.com. In the ad was a business card with the design that I had used in the mockup I did on their site. It didn’t have my personal information on it, but it was the exact design of the hundreds of designs they have available.


Even more creepy, I opened my Facebook account this morning and there was an ad for moo.com on my page and it had the exact design I’d used in that mockup on the ad. Then I noticed that another ad was for a sweater I bought online last week, from another company.

I know that all these online sites are sharing my information with each other or selling it to each other, which bothers me a lot, but the fact that it is so immediate makes me feel like Big Brother really is watching me all of the time. I don’t like that feeling.

There is a part of me that wants to cut off all online activity, return to bricks and mortar stores and handwritten letters to communicate with friends who live far away. Of course I won’t do that; it would turn my life upside down, but I would like to understand better how all of this sharing of information occurs. There must be people out there who are doing something to block this creepy sharing of information. I want to know who they are and what they are doing, because I’m feeling the need to join a movement. Or at least figure out how to keep the creepers dirty fingers off my stuff.

What’s the online equivalent of wearing garlic around your neck?


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6 thoughts on “Ward Off Evil Spirits (Day 264)

  1. Hi Sara, these are called ‘cookies’. Even though you have not given any ‘personal’ information (name, credit cards) the websites you are browsing track who you are (who your computer is, I should say…) and your preferences so that they can ‘feed’ advertisements back to you. It is creepy. There is not really a way to prevent this entirely without impacting all of your web browsing.

    1. I’ve heard of cookies and even clear my browsing data fairly frequently. There is something very wrong about the ability of a corporation to tag onto individuals like that. I wonder how the FCC decides how to regulate what internet companies do. Hmmm. I have a cousin whose an attny for the FCC. Think he’s getting a call from me soon.

  2. Sara,
    Same has been very much in evidence on my PC recently…wonder what has facilitated this…cookie have been around for a long time.

  3. Unfortunately, I think it’s a fact of life in the digital age. In a way, it’s not a bad thing because you are getting ads for things you might actually care about.

    What gets me is: when the ads are useless. Moo and VistaPrint are legitimate but I once was googling for a trip to Ireland and suddenly got ads from all kinds of crap companies that were pretty sleazy.

    1. I heard a funny story from a young woman who is going to be maid of honor at her friend’s wedding. The friend had been sending her all sorts of “weddingish” stuff to check out: dresses, rings, etc. The maid of honor was with her boyfriend and they went onto facebook and all of the ads were for wedding stuff. Boyfriend looks confused and looks at her and asks, is there something you want to talk about with me? Are you thinking about getting married?

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