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Google and a weird, unsolicited text

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posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 07:29 AM
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My Husband is looking at buying a new car. He's researched online and found a particular make and model. He has visited the car company's website on numerous occasions in this decision-making process. Well suddenly, as if out-of-the-blue he gets an unsolicited text from that car company informing him the model of his dream car is on sale.

He's adamant that he didn't sign up to receive any emails or texts, he hasn't given the company ANY of his details and he hasn't had any direct communication with the car company except for browsing their website. He has Googled, youtubed for reviews of the car and searched for it on eBay.

We're in Australia. Maybe this is a common marketing practice in the US? I'm just thrown for a loop at the coinkydink that he's thinking about buying a car, using Google at al. to research this car and BAM! the car company randomly texts him

Would Google be selling/sending this info to Unnamed Car Company and they attempt to close the deal by making contact? Is this the (sad/scary) future of marketing? (is this even legal?) Has something like this ever happened to you?


edit on 10-8-2017 by Kalixi because: Misspelt Goooooooogle




posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 07:32 AM
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a reply to: Kalixi


He has visited the car company's website on numerous occasions in this decision-making process.

The site uses cookies, cookies are stuff attached to your computer by the sites you visit. Welcome to the internet.



posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 07:35 AM
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a reply to: intrptr

But would that still work with a VPN?

Why did they have to name something so nefarious after something so delicious.



posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 07:38 AM
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originally posted by: Kalixi
a reply to: intrptr

But would that still work with a VPN?

Why did they have to name something so nefarious after something so delicious.


Lol, thats how you know its something nefarious, it sounds good.

Sort of like 'Humanitarian intervention'. Gentile euphemisms belie true intent.

I'll let others more tech savvy explain details about cookies.



posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 07:43 AM
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a reply to: intrptr

I'm 27 years old and the Internet is a complex and scary thing. Now I know how my Facebooking grandma feels.



posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 07:46 AM
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I'm not tech savvy so can't explain it for you ....but have had the same thing happening to me.....If I research a product, I start getting messages from companies , and other Facebook page ads,.... it has something to do with a " backdoor" into your browsing history , cookies, etc.... Basically shuffling your information is to those companies that have paid a research company for your info. ..it's spooky when it first happens ....but then once you understand how and why it's happening, then you realize it's the Internet and not an angelic coincidence.



posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 07:49 AM
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You need the extension self destruction cookies if you use Firefox
addons.mozilla.org...

ipflood extension can't hurt aswell
addons.mozilla.org...



posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 07:56 AM
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Was he signed in to Chrome, or maybe had his GMail account open in another tab?

If youre signed into google(Chrome, Gmail, etc.) they likely have a phone number, so your browsing inst 'private'



posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 07:58 AM
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a reply to: Kalixi

In the US, you have to "opt-in" to (legally) receive marketing text messages. I'm an internet sales manager for a car dealer - when our leads come in with a phone number, the person has given their phone number to be contacted. We're still limited to sending one text message only, to give the person the option to "opt-in" to receiving communications via text message. Australia may be different in the regulations.

There are some lead sources like Autobytel, however, which gather information from a person's internet usage and supply dealers with whatever customer contact info they have in their database. People are often surprised when they're contacted by someone (on the rare occasion the contact information is correct/up-to-date.) Those leads are very rarely buyers; I wish we wouldn't waste our time with them.

I'm thinking somewhere along the line, he's linked his phone number to his email address, an auto-fill form, etc, and some lead source like autobytel sold his contact information.



posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 07:58 AM
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a reply to: Meldionne1

I understand and have seen search-specific ads appear in the sidebar, but this extra step of receiving an automated text about the car has thrown me. I'll be expecting a brochure in the mail now



posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 08:01 AM
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a reply to: Kalixi

Come on, keep your age to yourself.

Stop making people feel old.



posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 08:07 AM
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a reply to: Kalixi
Same thing has happened here,no wonder my phone makes noises when next to PC,I also get random text from dealers,Google is spying,wish I could explain the russian bride ads I get only when I am on ATS?



posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 08:10 AM
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I did a Google search for telescopes.
Now several of the sites I visit have telescope adds.

Google has better spies than any government.



posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 08:15 AM
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One word: cookies.

Don't forget to toss your cookies every time you close Firefox:

Preferences>History> Use Custom Settings for History> Accept Cookies from sites> Keep Until> I Close Firefox



posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 08:57 AM
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a reply to: Kalixi

Having read a few of the comments here, I felt that I might have something useful to offer.

I saw people mentioning cookies and VPN's. In particular was intrptr's comment of "welcome to the internet".

Cookies typically retain information such as your IP address and search strings. This is done so that the website can customize the overall experience of the user on their website. Without the use of cookies, a website is a very much like writings in stone. Yes, that stone can be changed frequently, but for the users at the moment experience, it is by and large static. The information does not customize to the user. A very common use of cookies for instance is when you're shopping. If you want to hold onto a placemarker for an item you're considering purchasing in your "shopping cart", this is *not* stored on the hosts machine. Instead, it is stored on your computer in the form of a relatively small file that the website can store as "cache" (memory, think of it like the use of a notebook where you write down something you want to remember for later, a scratchpad). Think of it as how when you're watching TV or reading something and come across something you want to reference later like a phone number, so you write it down on a scatch pad for later use. This is within the design parameters of browsers today to allow such things, "for your convenience"

To clear cache and cookies on Google's CHROME browser : In the "Clear browsing data" box, click the checkboxes for Cookies and other site data and Cached images and files. Use the menu at the top to select the amount of data that you want to delete. Choose beginning of time to delete everything.

So, OP, your husband did some research on an item. Then this was responded to by a text message from the dealership to your husband about what he was researching. How did this happen when all they "should" know is your computer's IP address and what product he was looking for information on? I believe what happened (my best guess / interpretation) was a bit more complicated then just the use of a cookie. If you look into Google's EULA (end user license agreement), I suspect you'll find that if your husband entered his phone number (for two factor identity verification to his google account) that Google is selling his demographic and or personal information to advertisers. This is how Google makes money. Google is a business, they do not provide anything truly for free as one would expect from a business. I believe that it is highly likely that Google has some sort of advertising / demographics / information package plan that they sell this sort of information to businesses as a form of advertising that drives revenues as a result of google searches on services or goods that a business might sell.

At the end of the day, I see two issues here.

First of all, transparency. If confronted, undoubtedly the party selling this information is going to claim "well, you read the end user licensing agreement that you signed to user our services, correct?". The simple fact of the matter is, I do not know anyone other than attorneys that actually do read them. Just like the fact that when you sing up for cable television and or internet access with a particular large corporation you are agreeing to arbitration and you are waiving your rights to take them to court. I believe this is something that has become so ubiquitous that we've become complacent and simply click yes without reading it. Sadly, the person accepting without performing the due dilligence of reading such agreements before deciding to agree to them is at fault. I myself am just as guilty as anyone else for doing this. Typically, the legalese is so thick you need a machete to actually get close to the meat of the information that you need to be aware of. I believe that the transparency of succinct, clear, and concise language should be used in such cases. But the attorneys will say "Oh, well, we ARE being succinct/clear/concise". Why is this? Because here in the States at least, we have become a country of lawsuits.

Second, intent of data collection. When you enter your phone number in the scenario I outlined above (identity protection for your own safety), it is not clear that it may be used for any other matter. This loops back to my first point about EULA's and legalese.

These are VERY closely related. Issue one is really the problem of people not taking the time to read an agreement. Issue two is the intentional vague nature in which things are disclosed by companies in their legally binding EULA's.

As someone who works with databases and transmitting data back and forth between systems (sometimes inside organizations, sometimes from organization A to organization B) I am particularly aware of the danger here. Once you give your information to someone, you are no longer in control of it.

Giving your personal information online is like going to a casino and gambling. All bets are in favor of the House.

Sadly OP, there is nobody else to look to for blame in how the car dealership got your husbands phone number and used it to text him an unsolicited sales pitch on a car he was curious about.







edit on 10-8-2017 by FHomerK because: Read what you're agreeing to.



posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 09:08 AM
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originally posted by: Kalixi
a reply to: intrptr

I'm 27 years old and the Internet is a complex and scary thing. Now I know how my Facebooking grandma feels.



In my opinion, folks see it as complex and scary because it is. However, like any tool, one should know how to use a tool before using it.

It may seem like I'm pointing my finger at you, Kalixi, but really I'm calling out society as a whole. Technology is being used to cater to creature comforts and convenience. Not everyone is properly trained to drive a fork lift. Those that are have been tought how to use it, how to use it safely, and how to know if something with the fork lift is wrong. They're taught how to use it safely. But we live in a day and age where toddlers are being handed tablets with games to pacify them. There is no way a toddler should be allowed to use such a tool. This is the model for the rest of joe average's computer use for the rest of their life.

Computers and the internet are about as complex and potentially dangerous as operating a nuclear power facility. Something of an exaggeration? Yes. But as we've seen, the consequences of not knowing how to use both of these tools are no small concern.



posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 09:18 AM
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originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: Kalixi


He has visited the car company's website on numerous occasions in this decision-making process.

The site uses cookies, cookies are stuff attached to your computer by the sites you visit. Welcome to the internet.



Yep.
We'd get info on folks that visited our site so that we could make contact with potential customers. Be it email, text or phone call.
It's pretty common now for most car dealers or anyone in sales.



posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 09:19 AM
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originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: Kalixi


He has visited the car company's website on numerous occasions in this decision-making process.

The site uses cookies, cookies are stuff attached to your computer by the sites you visit. Welcome to the internet.



ETA.

Never mind he must have been using his phone to brows the car dealer site
edit on 8/10/2017 by Alien Abduct because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 09:58 AM
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originally posted by: Kalixi
a reply to: Meldionne1

I understand and have seen search-specific ads appear in the sidebar, but this extra step of receiving an automated text about the car has thrown me. I'll be expecting a brochure in the mail now


Don't be surprised if you get a letter too...I got a text and a letter shortly thereafter, regarding my jeep......first, I received a text from the local car company saying they were looking to purchase a Jeep Liberty 2002 and were told that I had one , and were willing to purchase it for a certain price depending on its condition, and to please call, text or email them .......I was floored...who are they , and how did they know my name , number, car make, model ,& year .......so I emailed the guy and asked him how he knew my information. He responded with this :
"we had a company help us get the data for the mailer and they looked at folks that either bought or had ever services a vehicle here or at our sister companies "
Except , I have never used them or any of their companies to service my jeep....so I don't know....just that people are selling other people's info I guess .



posted on Aug, 10 2017 @ 10:11 AM
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a reply to: Kalixi

Two words:

Privacy mode

Every major commercial browser has it. When you close out your browser cookies will be deleted automatically. You could also look at buying a proprietary browser like Nitrokey which will secure, encrypt your sessions automatically. Nitrokey also isolates your browser sessions from your computer thus disabling its ability to store any session data.
edit on 10-8-2017 by AlephOne because: (no reason given)



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