Boggled by Botched Personalization

Who doesn't want to read about forklift repair? Me.
Who doesn’t want to read about forklift repair? Me.

The forklift was the wakeup call, the image that proved my world is better personalized than I realized.

Until yesterday, I thought the rudimentary personalization I routinely encounter mattered little to my experience. Sites I often visit always show me products I wouldn’t wear, articles I don’t want to read, items I would never buy. Personalization, at its best, is none too good. It has a long way to go to have much impact.

Yesterday I discovered that my expectations for personalization are ingrained and fairly demanding. The top news in my reader – 4 items I assumed were selected for me– included…a forklift repair manual. And an article in, I think, Vietnamese. I immediately closed the reader, convinced that there was a grave error somewhere in software. I gave my iPad a vigorous shake in hopes the problem would resolve. Nope. Still the forklift, still the indecipherable.

My confidence in the newsreader, a recent acquisition, was shaken to the core. Even if I was getting the 4 top stories for the world, or for my location, or among my friends, in what scenario would a forklift repair manual qualify? Belonging to a forklift technician’s association? Wouldn’t they be reading about football? My puzzlement may endure for years.

Today is much more relevant: an article in Vietnamese, an article about mouth herpes, and an article about signs. I do have a mouth, and I often read signs. I feel slightly reassured. I am developing an interest now in Southeast Asia, and look forward to unreadable articles from Cambodia.


Published by Sue Aldrich

I'm a talented writer who connects business goals with technology, to get your message across through readable and engaging content. I have expertise in personalization, customer experience, journey optimization, recommendations, and search. I also research and write articles on sustainability for my hometown newspaper, Sterling Meetinghouse News.

One thought on “Boggled by Botched Personalization

  1. Hello Sue Do I detect hearing an exasperated “Aaaaargh!” Or was that an echo of my own outburst… now I feel that your experience rings something familiar in this old noggin! How the F do “they” really know or assume what subjects I or you may be interested in? Probably some misguided power-merchant deciding that you or I need more to do in our otherwise dull lives… Ok, back to blogging about knitting, jewelry making, painting and playing an obscure guitar piece, but wait, Adele just requested that I make lunch… soup. Love from #56 Mel

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