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One of the current web best practices is for advertisers to plant a cookie on your machine when you visit a website. They tell you it’s to track your preferences so you don’t have to re-enter data and it also allows them to tailor your experience so the products or services that you’re likely to want will be presented to you. But something else happens, something that is intended to quickly build the number of times you see a product. It’s meant to build recognition, but instead it’s incredibly annoying.

I have used Zoho CRM for about 18 months. I’ve used both the free and paid versions and have gone back and forth depending on how much their customer service policies piss me off (the subject of another article).  I log into Zoho every day.

As I go on about my work using the internet, I notice pay per click ads for Zoho CRM pop up at nearly every site I go to. This goes on all day. I’m being encouraged to use a site that I use everyday. The annoyance factor is so high I’m severely tempted to click through and run up their bill, but that would likely result in pop up ads being placed in my cranium.


Now you could make the argument that they know that I waffle about paying for their service, so they are just trying to make me a buyer. But later on, I booked a flight on Virgin America. This is a completed transaction. Theoretically, they’re not selling to me at present.

Not so. Everywhere I go, I’m treated to this the vended ad you see on the right. Now I’m double teamed by Zoho and Virgin America. See the graphic at the top of the stack? I’ll get more of them and they get bigger the more I don’t click. The same thing will happen with the Virgin America ads.

Let’s review: I use one product daily and I just bought the other. Moments later they are in my face on every site that has advertisements until I clear my cookie cache. How does this help them sell more product? Do they think I’ll forget about them if they aren’t on every page I load? Do they believe a constant reminder endears them to me? Is that they think I’ll suddenly book a trip to New York because they’re in my light of sight constantly?

To be fair, I also get these ads vended to me, although I swear I’ve never clicked through to a dating site, least of all Date Asia. Yet here is this ad. How did it get here? What does it mean? Am I secretly yearning for young Asian women? Did Zoho and Virgin America put them up to it? 

This, to me, is another example of shotgun advertising, no different really than placing an ad in a magazine or newspaper, except you get the false security that you are marketing to someone who, based on their internet behavior, is dying to buy your product. The problem is, at least some of the time, they already have.