Sunday, June 8, 2014

Are websites following you?

E-commerce is what is ruling the internet now a days, with brands like motorola launching their phones exclusively on these websites to reduce the cost of transportation and other hidden costs that arise. The Indian e-commerce market is on a boom stage and so as the world's.

But there is a very unusual phenomena that is seen when we browse websites of these kind. Have you ever noticed or thought are these websites following you. Once you login or create an account on these websites, they follow you where ever you go i.e every site you visit in the form of advertisements. The type and the variety of products that you see on these websites, the same products are available in the visual advertisement when you visit a site with advertisement for that site supported. All the major e-commerce websites like flipkart.com, snapdeal.com, amazon.com, myntra.com, ebay.com, lenskart.com etc follow this strategy.

Let's take a scenario to understand better. Yesterday I was browsing some products on myntra.com and to my surprise all the products that I opened specifically to learn more about them appeared on the site unleashthephones.com which has advert supported for myntra.com.You can see it in the picture the top row contains actually the clothes browsed by me on myntra.com .

So why do sites do this? So that once again your mind sees the products you have sort listed or viewed specifically and may be make your mind this time to buy those where you might have refused to place an order before due to some reason. It is a marketing strategy and is pretty successful.

So how does a website is able to achieve this is the question of thought. Every time you visit a website the site's server allots you an ID on the server and the same ID is stored in browser's cache along with the ID. The server stores each of your activity on the site. Now when you visit a second site that has advert supported for the previous site the second site actually requests the ID of the previous site for retrieval of information and display as advertisement on the second site.The information stored in the browsers cache are called cookies. Of course you can clear the cache anytime which will lead you delete all your ID's attached to sites and the next time you see the advertisement you will some random products.

Hope you find this post interesting. Do ask any queries or feedback if you have in the comments.