Okay, generally I am a loyal supporter of all SparkPeople does to keep this site FREE and accessible to everyone. I figure, overall, that the greater good over-rides the annoyances... you get out of anything what you make of it.
To start with, I've disabled pop-ups on my computer.
I ignore the ads that show up on every page (even the ones I find offensive: "no strings attached relationship - join FREE").
I ignore the fact that SparkPeople definitely employs spyware to track of my search history and general internet activity so they can skew the ads I see to my interests (that's WHY I am currently inundated with offensive adds for illicit relationships... I inadvertently clicked on an entertainment news site picture ad and got bounced to one such location).
I ignore the ads which tout products that clearly contradict Spark recommendations of healthy eating, (weight loss supplements, anyone?).
However, when SparkPeople begins embedding ads into the text of my blog content, they have gone too far, in my opinion.
I resent my text being used to promote goods and services with which I have no interest, or affiliation. It makes me feel used and manipulated... not mention it distracts from my own effort, and from the deliberate and relevant links I've added to my own content.
I joined SparkPeople for the community and companionship that sharing this weight loss journey provides. SparkPeople was my start point with respect to motivation and losing weight. Next I learned to work toward my goals, learned to eat for health, plan, and develop a lifestyle that supported my well-being. As I've mastered the dynamics of weight loss (it's not just calories in, calories out equation), I am also able to plan ahead by learning all I can about weight maintenance... and my work here becomes even more fruitful.
I come to SparkPeople for a respite from my 3D life and the details that distract me from my goals and dreams. If I want to be assaulted with advertising at literally every word, I know where to go, and I do not need SparkPeople to direct me to products and services in which I am completely uninterested... things like a hip replacement, power washing, preparing for financial disaster, health insurance, or even something as simple as a coffee maker (though I do need a new one... but an ad on SparkPeople WILL NOT influence my purchase one way or the other).
I do not see how any of SparkPeople's sponsors could be facing financial disaster to the point where we need to be assaulted in this way.
In case you are wondering (or if you think it took a lot of work to collect all of these words and work them into one blog post), I simply read FOUR blogs to which I subscribe... blogs where people made themselves vulnerable by sharing some of the more painful details about their life and family... and Spark chose to use that act of trust and faith in this community to further their own agenda.
I strongly suggest that SparkPeople rethinks this current strategy; and I even more strongly request that this practice of embedding advertising, based on search words, is discontinued. THIS is not the spark I was looking for!!!
Are you with me?
EDITED PROMPTLY after clicking the 'post blog entry' button:
Okay, so I guess I don't understand exactly how this mechanism works from Spark's end, because I've included in the above piece words from only FOUR blogs (21 WORDS) that showed as embedded ads:
• work (used in one blog 4 times, and EACH TIME it linked to a DIFFERENT ad)
• coffee maker
• health insurance
• financial disaster
• hip replacement
• to start
• eat for health
• healthy eating
• weight maintenance
• weight loss
• losing weight
• power washing (REALLY?!?)
...obviously they all didn't become embedded ads in this blog post, though I still find this practice egregious (and my post has added 'weight loss supplements' to the list).
...I'm now wondering if whatever words become embedded as ads is linked to THE VIEWER'S internet activity (that spyware, again)... though none of the words I've included here have anything to do with my own activities. "?"
In this post the words/phrases made clickable ad links are:
• weight loss supplements
• power washing
• weight maintenance
Here's a link I've deliberately placed:
When you say, "YES!"
So, what do you see when you read this post?
(Perhaps the problem is with my computer... I'm now wondering if I haven't had a malware encounter....)
(I'd really like to understand this... if you can shed some light on it, I'd be grateful.)