Something strange happened to me today, and I wonder if any of you can explain to me how this could possibly happen.
Yesterday, I undertook a google search on the topic of summer camps in Italy, for a friend of mine in Italy. I did not contact any of the people behind the pages I found.
Today, I got an email advertisement in my yahoo mailbox, entitled “Summer camps in Italy” but with content about a general seminar organization.
This cannot be possibly a coincidence. Clearly this company got hold of my email address, knew I had done this search, and used the topic as a hook to send me a related message.
I see two possibilities:
1) google is selling my keyword searches, along with my email address, to third parties using email advertising
2) somebody somehow scraped my email when I was browsing one of the pages. And it is one of the companies behind these browsed pages that sold my email address.
Any technical or ethical insights? Are these common practices?