Whilst browsing Target’s website for holiday gift ideas, I noticed something slightly creepy: When I view additional details about a particular item, I can scroll down and see “Guests who viewed this item ultimately bought,” listing several other items with a percentage displayed next to them. Basically, Target (other online retailers, too?) is tracking my browsing habits.
This is a little disconcerting, but the possibilities to mess with their statistics are theoretically endless (had one enough free time on her hands). I mean, say I’m browsing grilling accessories (completely hypothetical, Dad, if you’re reading this). What if suddenly my brain shifts to, oh, board games? What if I end up buying Bananagrams,* having completely forgotten about the grilling tools? (completely hypothetical, Mom, if you’re reading this). I know that the algorithmistaticiticisms involved in this process are far more complex than this, but I’d love to see “83% of guests who viewed the Mr. Beer Home Brewing System ultimately purchased The Twelve Step Guide to Using the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book.”
I mean, that’s funny.
*Just seeing if you’re paying attention.