Stop Trespassing on My Real Estate

Stop Trespassing on MY Real Estate

In the world today, if you catch someone trespassing on your property without good reason, you have every right to evict them. (In some countries, you are even allowed to do so violently, although I don’t condone that at all.) At the very least, you can call the police and they will help you to get rid of the unwanted visitors.

So in the past few weeks (June 2016) I noticed that every time I get onto a website from my browser, which happens to be Google Chrome, some truly irritating things happen. The first is that a whole bunch of adverts persistently appear on the bottom 20% of the screen – adverts for which I neither asked, and nor am I interested in. The second is that in every few words or phrases of the content on that website there is a double underline under the word or phrase, and if you just dare to pass over it another banner comes up that you have to actually have to kill before you continue reading. It blocks your view of the content, and it’s so frustrating!

This morning I was so furious with indignation that I let out a bellow and started shaking with rage. What sparked off this rage? I think I read somewhere that Google pays website owners when pop-up adverts appear and viewers click on the advert. But when after a few weeks off I got onto our own company’s website, (where you are reading this now,) and I saw the same thing with the adverts and links happening, I lost it!

I have never asked Google, (or anyone else for that matter,) to give me some free money every time someone clicks on an advert on my pages – and especially not if they click onto an advert for one of my competitors or rivals.

MY website belongs to ME. It is MY virtual real estate. The last time I looked, nobody at Google, Google Chrome or any of the advertisers contributed to buying my domain name, nor did they pay even a fraction of the money it cost me to develop and maintain my website. How dare they? And how come I can’t evict these virtual trespassers?

I hate it that our clients and prospects have to wade through the drivel of irrelevant adverts – and most advertising is just crap – just to read an article on MY website.

As a typical 59-year old male, I also have no idea how to block out or “opt out of” these darn things from my own computer, nor how to evict them from my website. As far as I know, there are no effective “internet police” that I can call to help me. I also have no idea where to find the unsolicited “cookies” that I believe I can delete, and in any event why should I waste my time learning about how to do these things?

This internet that was supposed to make our lives easier and more convenient has actually done exactly the opposite – it has created stress and a huge waste of time in my life. I have just killed my old email address which I’ve had for more than twenty years, because I’m now wading through 400 emails a day, including weekends, and this is beyond funny.

I have already weaned myself off from pathetic time-consuming Facebook and other social media, and it’s been very liberating to not waste hours of my precious family time on these anymore. If Microsoft dares to try pull a stunt like this now that they own LinkedIn, I’ll be off that in a flash too – and to hell with the consequences. (Which executive in their right mind would book me for customer service consulting work based on my LinkedIn profile anyway?)

I notice that this has become so pervasive now that it’s even happening on my mobile phone when I receive text messages from my personal contacts, for example. (The mobile company tags them on the bottom of my friend’s message.) Occasionally when I call someone I know, but before they actually answer, I am asked if I want to buy a really disgusting piece of rap music. Now I’m even starting to get unsolicited texts from stupid companies that I will probably never deal with in my life again. (Did you hear that ADT and other armed response companies, all retailers, all banks, but especially FNB and ABSA, Air France and other airlines, all investment, insurance and financial service companies, and motor car retailers? If you bug me I will never buy anything from you – ever again!)

If you’ve downloaded Waze, it’s even worse! (Waze is an app similar to Google maps or your GPS.) So as you are driving down the road trying to stay focused on your driving while also looking for directions, many brands near you scream out their retail locations. This is not subtle, mind you, but in the form of a big banner ad that suddenly appears across your screen. I swear that once it was bright red, and for a few seconds I thought it was an emergency! No wonder so many accidents are linked to mobile phone distractions. But it’s also distracting and confusing when you really need a good direction for a turn you have to make in the next few seconds. Never mind that this stupid app has no clue that I’m never going to eat at McDonalds, nor do I want to buy fashionable shoes that only teenagers would wear. The whole strategy is deeply unsound. It interrupts, doesn’t get my permission, the timing is all wrong, and in most cases it’s irrelevant.

I’ve now deleted Waze from my apps.

I selected to use the word “stupid” carefully: For example, early last year I looked for some flights to visit my family in Europe for a holiday in August. Of course, a whole bunch of airlines whose websites I’d visited saw this as an excuse to keep sending me “special offers” on flights to Europe. None of these special offers was particularly attractive, because you had to buy a R19000 Business Class ticket to get some inane reward like prawns for dinner and a seat that was 5cm wider. But one airline, Air France, still sends me special offers for my selected flights – nine months after I came back. Nine months! That’s how long it takes to make and deliver a whole new baby.

The Problem With “Marketing by Interruption”

While I am happy to applaud a company that tries new and innovative ways to communicate with customers and prospects in this new digital world, the basic principle of mass broadcasting has not been challenged. I used to call it “Spray and Pray”: spray out some advertising messages and pray that someone comes back and buys something. That’s not innovative at all, because it still irritates customers, and still interrupts them – except now it’s on websites and on their phones.

I have been told that this practice is part of the whole “If-it’s-free-you-have-to-put-up-with-adverts-popping-up” new economy thing, but now it’s just become too much.

It’s not free. I pay hefty monthly subscriptions to my mobile phone, I pay Telkom for my ADSL line, and my internet service provider for the privilege of using their server. I’d much rather NOT have to pay “a small monthly subscription fee” to get rid of unsolicited, unasked for and unwelcome adverts.

I have also (rather immaturely, but gleefully vengefully) made it a principle that if a company advertises to me by invading my privacy on any electronic or social media, I will actively go out of my way to look for trouble and sabotage them using the very media that they have used.

If I want to buy something, I promise you I will do my research and find a decent seller of what I’m looking for – a company that proves it is focused on my needs for a great product at a decent price, delivered with cool service. If you don’t qualify STOP TRESPASSING!

But all of this is maybe academic. In a few years I am due to retire, at which point I will get rid of all of these as I sip on a cocktail on a beach somewhere. I will throw away all electronic “conveniences/irritations” like my mobile phone, laptop, emails and similar.

If you want to talk to me, then pick up your bloody phone and chat to me!

(And, by the way, this does NOT give you permission to cold call me to sell me stuff. I don’t even want to get started on that topic.)


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