Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Shouldn't Predictive Advertising Be Better By Now?

It happened again.

I was clicking around the inter-webs, checking prices on daily newspapers. I zeroed in on the Wall Street Journal. Later, I checked my Facebook feed. There it was...and still is.

"You know what would look great with this copy of WSJ? Another copy of WSJ." --Facebook

Through some sort of web browser/source code magicianry, Facebook saw my browsing history and plopped a Wall Street Journal ad in the number two spot on my feed. It's been there for about a month now. Here's the thing, if Facebook or Chrome or whoever does these things is smart enough to see I'm interested in the Wall Street Journal, how did they miss the fact that I actually subscribed?!! And, subsequently, why do they think I'd be interested in two subscriptions?

Here's an even more egregious example of this sort of consumer profiling. I've long been an Amazon Prime member. Love the online retailer. Last month, I ordered a car seat for $150. Like clockwork, Amazon had it on my doorstep in two days.

Why, I ask, can such an ingenious company fail to understand that a $150 car seat is not something people need five of? Yet, it never fails. You buy something on Amazon, and, surprise, here are five more suggestions of the exact type of product you just bought. What?!! I don't need another $100 messenger bag. I chose the one I wanted and ordered it. So, stop suggesting I buy the ones I passed up in the process.

To their credit, Amazon's system is much better with book suggestions. And, they have learned that I own an Xbox One, not a Playstation 4. But still, why is predictive advertising so bad?

The Wall Street Journal is owned by News Corp -- one of the largest publishing giants in the world. So, why is Facebook tossing the same News Corp product in my face day after day? Why not suggest Barron's or a recent book from Harper Collins? Or, here's an idea, why not suggest the New York Times or the Washington Post? (FYI: the Washington Post is owned by Amazon's CEO -- Jeff Bezos.) Different companies, sure, but still, I'm more likely to subscribe to one of those instead of double subscribing to WSJ.

Perhaps one of my more tech-inclined blogging cohorts can explain the mysticism that generates these sub-par advertisements. I just know that Don Draper wouldn't approve of this crap.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Finding the Perfect Razor: Dollar Shave Club's Blades are Freakin' Great

This post submitted by Jamie Oswald.

Here at our little Suburban Father Alliance we take our shaving (or lack thereof) seriously. We've already reviewed for you two mail-order blade options (Harry's and the tastefully-named Dorco) and our final review here is for Dollar Shave Club.

I've actually been a Dollar Shave Club member for a while and I'll never go back to buying blades in the store. The 4X "Lover's Blade" is $6/month for 4 blades and is absolutely as good as the Schick or Gillette comparable. I don't typically shave a whole lot of my face, so after my first monthly shipment years ago I quit the club. Those first 4 blades lasted me well over a year. Seriously. They hold up. Just bought my second pack, and they are as good as I remember.

Go buy some. Right now. Preferably from this link.

What I really want to talk to you about are their One-Wipe Charlie's which are - to put it delicately - butt wipes for grown men. I've never bought them, never tried them, and am fundamentally opposed to their use. Why?

To be clear I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I've never been in a situation where something like that would have been useful. We've all gotten in over our heads at one point or another and I'm man enough to tell you that I'm no different. So while I could certainly have used them before and no doubt would have opportunities in the future, I still don't want my sons growing up in a world where men using baby wipes is the norm. My oppositions run in two major directions.

  • How do you carry them around? Is this the whole reason European manbags became popular. Between an iPhone that keeps getting bigger and a wallet that keeps getting thinner -- not to mention a handkerchief and pocket knife because I'm old school -- I've already got enough stuff floating around in my pockets. I cannot fit a tub of wipes in my pocket. And I'm not carrying a murse
  • What happens when you run out? The last thing we need is large swathes of men who have become reliant on these things. What happens when their pockets or backpacks or fanny packs or whatever run out? I fear for a world where people are chasing the pre-moistened dragon, knocking over baby showers and stealing diaper bags from the playground, all for just one more wipe. 

So, by all means, try the Dollar Shave Club. Heck, try a sample of the Charlie's if they offer you one. FOR EMERGENCIES ONLY. But please, please don't make them a part of your life. It's gonna be the beginning of the end. For your end.