Ok, what’s going on here?

We should all be aware by now that the tech companies are vacuuming up all our information as we use the internet so that they can target ads towards us. All of us are familiar with how if we search for some item such as shoes, we then find shoe ads popping up in the pages that we subsequently visit. Since I surf the web a lot and do a lot of searches, mostly for news items, I find it amusing to see if I can identify what I have done recently that might have triggered an ad that appears. Often I can figure it out, either because of specific actions that I have taken or because the tech companies have general demographic information about me such as my age, gender, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, general habits, etc.

But there’s one ad that keeps appearing that puzzles me. It is one that promises a way to entirely empty my bowels every morning by following a one-minute routine. I have never clicked on the ad because I have never felt the need to do such a thing and do not even know if it is a good thing to do. I do not generally do health searches except if something is in the news, such as covid-19 and the vaccines, and I am curious about it.

I do know that there is a health fad known as ‘colon cleansing’ that is favored by people who seem to think that one’s intestines are full of toxic elements that need to be periodically removed but I have never bought into that idea. I cannot imagine that the revenue from this process is so great that they are targeting everyone with it. It must be something about me that is causing the ads to appear on the pages I visit. The only relevant factor I can think of is my age but as far as I am aware, this colon cleansing fad seems to be more popular with younger, health conscious people and celebrities, and none of those categories fit me. I was tempted to do some research to see who are the people who want to do this and why, but refrained because the very act of searching would result in more ads for it and who knows what other similar procedures.



  1. johnson catman says

    Mano: the algorithms have determined that you are full of shit and need to release it. (/s because I seriously like reading your blog.)

  2. John Morales says

    You’ve done the mind-flip, and now expect all ads to be appropriately tailored.

    Not quite there, yet.

  3. Mano Singham says

    ahcuah @#1,

    I have used duckduckgo but found that I was getting targeted ads based on searches even there so gave it up.

  4. says

    If you are using google chrome, stop. Google (as an ad company) does not allow ad blockers that actually block ads.
    Install firefox, and adblock pro, then turn it on blocking mode.

    Nobody should be running without an adblocker. Viewing ads is a waste of bandwidth and it encourages the advertising economy that chokes our eyes with endless bullshit.

  5. Jazzlet says

    I tend to agree it is probably your age, I avoid the same problem by using an ad-blocker.

    Colon cleasing has been around a long time, certainly centuries -- some of the Victorian paraphernalia is quite terrifying. The really awful thing though is that a lot of the ‘toxins’ they think they see after a cleanse are the mucous that eases the flow of faeces, and sometimes even part of the mucosa ie the top layer of cells of the colon,

  6. fentex says

    Avoid ads…

    Firefox + Ublock Origin (note that is “UBlock ORIGIN” and not another variety of UBlock).

    Plus Ghostery (I’m not entirely sure of this, but I think Ghostery plugs some holes in preventing tracking UBlock won’t, made by ‘web bugs’ and their ilk).

  7. captainjack says

    Matt G @ #9

    I can recommend ghost pepper salsa and refries, but that’s probably do to my terminal Angloarity.

  8. lochaber says

    I’ve been using NoScript and Privacy Badger on Firefox for sometime now. It’s sometimes a pain to get some sites working properly, and for some reason I haven’t quite figured out, I don’t see twitter embeds, but I can live with that.

    I’m frequently taken aback when I use a work computer or something to visit a site I’m familiar with, and it’s just staggering the amount of annoying ads and such that I didn’t even realize were there…

  9. mastmaker says

    +1 for Firefox + Ublock Origin. I would add ‘Privacy Badger’ from EFF Technologists.

    I know there are a lot of people (including my family members) who think that blocking ads is like stealing because you are preventing the hosting sites from getting ad revenue. HOWEVER, until two things are guaranteed, I will not allow ANY ads and once these two things are guaranteed by certain ad companies, I will allow ONLY their ads:
    1. That the ad contains no hidden dangers of any kind. Too many ads contain malware, tracking IDs, cookies, scripts, bitcoin miners …… the list is really endless. I will not allow all that nasty stuff to find a home on my machine just so the website I visit earn a tenth of a cent, thank you!
    2. That there is absolutely no tracking of any kind of my behavior, the websites I visit, or purchases I make or terms I search for and so on. The ads served to me MUST be randomly chosen according to an algorithm that only ever uses one criteria: who paid for what percentage of that advertising company’s ads.
    There is no way in hell that any company (including ‘No Evil’ google) ever agree to this, so I completely block all ads from my machines. If a website refuses to serve me unless I unblock ads, I just get out of that website and try to use someone else. PEACE OF MIND!

  10. Dauphni says

    My guess here, since colon cleanses tend to be popular with a certain crowd, is that you read some stuff tangentially related to them, maybe some articles about the anti-vax movement or something like that?

    And I’ll join the chorus of Firefox + uBlock Origin + Privacy Badger. Don’t just get it for your computer either, it’s available on mobile devices too!

  11. illdoittomorrow says

    Strangest, most apropos-of-nothing ad I ever got: one for General Electric marine turboshaft engines. I would never have thought that marine architects were a big enough demographic to have ads targetted at them, and I have no clue how my browsing history could have fit that algorithm.

  12. seachange says

    Well the word colon is now for sure in your cloud somewhere.

    I have spoken to folks who go and get colon cleanses, and I believe it has an entertainment function for them. I also believe the process itself feels good to them, independent of any real or imagined health benefit or placebo. It is an intimate and habitual personal service equivalent to getting nails done, getting a massage, or patronizing a sex worker.

    There is money in this, and I think it’s enough that advertisers can afford to not target.

  13. says

    If anyone, for some reason, really wants a colon cleanse, do colonoscopy prep. Seems to have flushed irritants out of my bowel, as I’ve been going nearly-normally since then (with two mild IBS flare-ups).

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