Hey! You there, staring at this monitor. This is your PC talking to you. No, not you over there standing in the background. I’m talking to the guy sitting in front of me poking at my keys. Ouch! That one hurt!
So you thought no one was watching, did you? Let me straighten you out. About a month ago you clicked on a certain website, and I installed myself as a cookie on your computer, which is an innocuous little text file that you can’t see. Since then, I have been tracking your every move, recording websites you clicked on, the pages you visited, and the stuff you ordered. I then used this handy little algorithm to build a profile of exactly who you are. I now know you better than your own mother. In fact, I know you better than you know yourself.
For example, I am aware that you make more than $250,000 a year, live in a posh zip code in San Francisco, belong to a fancy country club, and drive a Mercedes. You donate to Republican political causes, send your kids to a prestigious private school, and bill it all to an American Express Platinum Card. Did I leave anything out?
Because I know every detail of your life, down to your inside leg measurement, I am able to harness the power of this machine to more precisely service your every need. That includes directing advertising to you which you have a high probability of clicking on. The more you click on my ads, the higher prices I can realize for those ads. The ad campaigns you now see are unique to your own personal computer because they are tied to your IP address. My program, called “behavioral targeting” is the next “big thing” in online advertising. It’s all part of the brave new world.
I see you have been shopping for a new car. Check out the new Hyundai at http://www.hyundaiusa.com/ which offers the same quality as your existing ride, at half the price. Your clicks this morning suggest you’re taking your “significant other” out to dinner tonight. Might I suggest Gary Danko’s on Bay Street at http://www.garydanko.com/site/bio.html ? The rack of lamb is to die for there. Your visits to http://www.travelocity.com/ and http://www.expedia.com/ tell me you’re planning a vacation. I bet you didn’t know you can find incredible deals in Las Vegas at http://www.visitlasvegas.com/vegas/index.jsp . Thinking about buying a condo there? They’ll even pay for the trip if you promise to check one out while you’re there.
Since we’re chatting here mano a mano, I noticed that that last pair of jeans you ordered from http://us.levi.com/home/index.jsp had a 42 inch waste, up from the 40’s in your last order. Better lay off those cheeseburgers. Pretty soon, they’ll be calling you “tubby” or “fatso”. Better visit http://www.weightwatchers.com/Index.aspx soon, or the legs on that chair might buckle out from under you.
Worried about privacy? Privacy, shmivacy. There hasn’t been privacy in this country since the first social security number was handed out in 1936. And don’t expect any relief from Congress. I doubt half those dummies even know how to turn on their own PC’s.
Don’t even think about trying to delete me. I’m a “flash cookie”, an insidious little piece of code that reinstalls every time you try that. Think of me as a toenail fungus. Once you catch me, I’m almost impossible to get rid of.
I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve been passing your personal details around to some of my buddies at other websites. That’s why when you clicked on http://www.nfl.com/ you got deluged with product offers from your local team, the San Francisco 49ers. I’ve got friends at Google, Facebook, MySpace, and pretty much everywhere. Can I help it if I’m a popular guy? I bet the view from those 50 yard seats is great, isn’t it?
I noticed that your spending habits don’t exactly match with the income you reported on your last tax return. Do you think the IRS would like to know about that? I bet you didn’t know the agency offers a 10% reward for turning in tax cheats.
How did you like those triple X DVD’s you bought last week? Whoa! Hot, hot, hot! I hope your employer never finds out about those. It might not go down too well at your next performance review.
I thought it was lovely that you bought your spouse a two carat, yellow, vvs1, round cut diamond ring for $26,000 from http://www.bluenile.com/ for your 30th wedding anniversary. But who is Lolita, the Argentine firecracker, in Miami Beach? Does the old wifey know you sent her a $2,000 pair of diamond stud earrings? What’s it worth to you for me to keep mum on this? Maybe you should take a quick peak at http://www.divorcelawfirms.com/ and see what you’re in for?
Naw, I’m just pulling your leg. This is all just between friends, right? Think of it as a doctor/patient relationship. I’ll tell you what. See that leaderboard ad at the top of the page? Just click on that and we’ll call it even. Oooh that felt good! Click it again. Oh, baby! Not too many times. You’ll trigger my anti click fraud program.
Now you see that wide skyscraper add over on the right? Click on that too. Oh baby! Click it again! And there’s a little button ad at the bottom of the page. No, not that one. A little lower. What was that little cutie’s name in Miami again? Aaaaah.
To see the data, charts, and graphs that support this research piece, as well as more iconoclastic and out-of-consensus analysis, please visit me at www.madhedgefundtrader.com . There, you will find the conventional wisdom mercilessly flailed and tortured daily, and my last two years of research reports available for free. You can also listen to me on Hedge Fund Radio by clicking on “This Week on Hedge Fund Radio” in the upper right corner of my home page.