• http://dianev.com Diane Vigil

    Frankly, this would (as they say) creep me out.

    First, they’re checking to see if you have a Hotmail account. Next, they’re checking (I assume) your cookies to see wherever *else* you’ve been. Does this only happen with Internet Explorer, or any and every browser you use? And for how long and where are they tracking your “interests”?

    I can see this backfiring, though. Say you search for something in a way that indicates that you’re interested in buying. Maybe you’re not; maybe you were doing it for a friend or relative. Yet, everywhere you go after that, the pages are plastered with ads for the same types of items. Not to mention that credibility and trustworthiness are vital issues when addressing consumers, who may now feel they’re being watched surreptitiously and/or hounded by virtual salesmen.

    It’s the same problem that I think localization can bring: you search for something in an area, and, ever after, your search results are limited to that area, as happened to me once at Yahoo.

    Only the cookie-reading, account-checking cyberstalking by marketeers is creepier. I can see the value in proferring ads of interest to consumers, but I suspect they may be treading the line between helpful salesmanship and too-obvious intrusive tracking.