Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Communities for tech women

Author:Fredrik Lundh
Posted:9/17/1999; 2:05:43 AM
Topic:Today's scriptingNews Outline
Msg #:11205 (In response to 11152)
Prev/Next:11204 / 11206

I'm not saying that these are all because I'm female.

Well, I'm 100% sure that what you describe happens to everyone. On the other hand, I'm 100% sure that there are enough biased geeks out there to guarantee that things like that can happen to you just because you're female...


It doesn't have to be humans involved, though.

Last year, Infoseek (which later turned into decided that I was female. Everytime I tried to use their search engine, they bombarded me with ads for "always ultra thin slender maxis with wings" and "pampers baby dry for newborn -- aren't you happy you're now a mom?" as soon as I came into GET / HTTP/1.1- distance from their site. Since they used JavaScripted popup ads which kept crashing my browser, I found the whole thing quite annoying.

After some digging, I found that they were using something called "ultramatch", which tracked how you navigated their site, and matched that with a reference group. Turned out that my on-line behaviour was typical for a first-time mother...

And when I complained to Infoseek, their support droid told me that "many (if not most) male visitors actually loves having diaper ads crash their browser".

I no longer use their services.


(But there's still one thing that worries me: I later found out that the "ultramatch technology" were developed by the company that develops all fancy neural net-based data mining systems for CIA, NRA, and all the other secret US agencies.

Or maybe that's a very good reason not to be worried ;-)

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