This ad is based on emails from your mailbox. Visit Google’s Ads Preferences Manager to learn more, block specific advertisers, or opt out of personalized ads.How interesting--the above link, pasted directly from that dialogue box, doesn't work. That's a little odd. Well, it just so happens I've got a couple screen-shots. When you click on that link, I believe this is what you're actually supposed to see:
In the bottom portion of the page, under "Why these ads?," you will notice that the option to block that advertiser is offered with the link, "Block this advertiser." Fair and square, right? Thanks for lookin' out for my mind, Google! I mean, if I was paranoid-schizophrenic or something, I might be compelled to think it's the federal government sending me a message meant to mess with my head in response to a recently sent e-mail or blog post or something else I did that may have wubbed dem da wong way. But that's particularly ridiculous because I highly doubt that, if that was the case, they'd want me to expand my web presence, right? Then again, while I still go by John in person (though I rarely talk to any people), I've changed my moniker to J Paul in print and in my signature. It's even in my g-mail address. So I see an ad offering to help me expand my web presence from a company called "JStokes" and have to scratch my perfectly insane little head for a minute. How many companies are out there helping people expand their web presence, do ya think? Thousands, maybe? But being the humanitarian organization that Google is, they provided the option to blow that advertiser out of the pool of those available to pop up in my box.
Then one day I clicked on "Ads Preference Manager" in the little dialogue box and a slightly different page opened:
You'll notice that the portion of the page that once included the option to block the advertiser is replaced by a video about Google Ad Preferences. I looked and looked, but nowhere on the page could I find the link. Then I thought, "Well, maybe if I watch the video to the end, at that point the link to block the advertiser I wanted to in the first place will magically pop up and, of course, Google will cookie my computer and I'll never have to watch the video again." That would be a fair deal, right? Well, I watched the video from start to finish. It was very friendly and informative. But at the end, no matter how many times I dragged the slider back to a point about 10 seconds before end and let it play out, the link never appeared.
I looked and looked for a way to contact Google regarding this and was unable to find a contact-us link that would actually let me send them a personal message. I found one that I thought might be close to the right department, but I got reply directing me back to Ad Preferences, which is where I'd been digging around in the first place. You might call it the run-around. So, I looked into the policy regarding blocking links in Ad Preferences. It indicated I can opt out of getting personalized ads all together, but if I did that, I would no longer have the option to block any advertisers, and so many of the ads I see now are--you guessed it--incongruous to my personal biometric profile that I'm guessing it wouldn't make much of a difference. Plus, I'm inclined to think that if I surrendered complete control over it, my paranoia and schizophrenia would get the best of me and I would become nearly incapacitated by suspicion of most if not all of the ads I then saw. The policy also indicated I can block up to 500 ads which prompted me to find out how many ads I'd already had blocked, information they do provide. The number that day, which was within the last 2 weeks, was 25. Today it's 34.
I guess what bothers me is the frequency at which I see the page with the video and without the "Block this advertiser" link. A conservative estimate would be that it shows up for about half of my attempts to block a link. I liberal estimate would be 3 out of 4. The estimate I would call most accurate would be 2 out of 3--which is way too many. I watched the damn video. I should never see that page at all.