Personalized ads: An odd incident

Yes, I know most sidebar ads on websites are affected somehow by what you’ve searched or what sites you’ve gone to before. No big surprise, that, although it’s always amusing to see all the ads for competitors to something you just purchased.


I don’t remember ever seeing Lulu running these sidebar ads; since Lulu’s a service company for self-publishers more than it’s really an online bookstore, that was OK with me.

Somehow, though, for the past three or four days, I’ve been getting loads of Lulu sidebar ads, usually scrolling through three to six different items on order.

One of which is almost always the paperback version of The Gold OA Landscape 2011-2014.

Which is odd on a couple of counts:

  • I’ve already purchased a copy–not surprisingly, since it’s my book, and especially since I can’t approve it for global distribution (Ingram, Amazon, B&N) until I receive my copy and “approve” it.
  • For that matter, if I do order a copy, it won’t cost the $60 shown in the ads: as the author, I pay only production costs, with no real profit for Lulu.
  • At least the last time I checked, searching for “the gold OA landscape” at Lulu yields the PDF ebook but not the paperback (Lulu’s book search is sometimes a little strange). But, of course, the ad takes me right to the product page that should show up on a search.

Is anybody else seeing this book advertised in sidebars? I’d love to think so, but I’m not going to assume it’s true.

By the way, another book that seems to show up for me all the time is Ann Dodds Costello’s Smart Women: The Search for America’s Historic All-Women Study Clubs. Which actually looks pretty interesting; I might yet buy a copy. (The link here is for the currently-$32 hardback; there’s also a $24 paperback and $8.99 ebook. It’s a 426-page book.)

Hmm. If I do buy that book, then Lulu’s ads are working…even if they’re also advertising my own stuff to me.

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