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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Google's interest-based advertising is a turn-off

Google has long claimed that its motto is "Don't be evil". But with its latest development, I can't help feeling that it's sliding quickly down a very slippery slope. That's because Google now allows advertisers to target their ads according to visitors' web histories, or what it calls "interest-based advertising".

For example, if I view a lot of Nokia-related sites, then I could be presented with more Nokia ads. Or if a friend visits sites about diving, then he may see ads about diving trips.

The first question anyone should ask is: "How does Google collect all of my previous website visits?" I've attempted to answer how Google may be able to know which websites I've visited. Of course, it's all speculation at this point.

But that shouldn't stop privacy advocates and conspiracy theorists from complaining hell and high water about this new advertising development.


Friday, March 06, 2009

REACH sent me another packet of tissue!

REACH logo
Oh my goodness! I wonder what's going on at REACH, the Singapore Government's agency of choice for online engagement and feedback.

Yesterday, as a token of appreciation for completing a survey, I received a packet of tissue paper in the mail. Today, as a token of appreciation for updating my particulars, I received another packet of tissue paper.

Actually, when I saw the familiar envelope with the familiar padded feeling, I had a funny feeling that I'd find a familiar "thank you" gift. And true enough, I retrieved a packet of tissue paper.

Is REACH overflowing with tissue paper? I hope someone can shed some light on this phenomenon!


Thursday, March 05, 2009

I answered a REACH survey and all I got was a packet of tissue paper!

REACH logo
Some time back, I responded to a survey conducted by REACH. Frankly, I don't even remember what the survey was about. I just remember that it was done in a Word document, which I emailed back.

Then I received a call from a REACH representative, basically saying thank you for participating and we want to send you a token of appreciation. Hey, government wants to give me free stuff, that's fine by me -- assuming that there are no strings attached!

I received that token today. And inside was... a packet of tissue paper. My first thought was, "SERIOUSLY???" I kind of half expected something more than that. How much is a tissue packet? 10 cents? Okay, I'll up it to 30 cents. But seriously, man, isn't that being, well, cheap? I wonder what I would have received if I had not responded to the survey as promptly.

Or am I expecting too much? Armed with this packet of tissue, I can now chope ("reserve", for the non-Singlish speakers) one more table (not that I chope tables with tissue paper packets).

So this is what the new age of e-consultation will be like by the government. Perform a task and be rewarded with tissue paper. It could be worse, I suppose. Anyway, like I said before, if government gives free stuff, TAKE IT!