How to improve “Why this ad?”

I was reading an article today about Google’s efforts to put more transparency into their advertising, by offering a ‘Why this ad?’ link on text ads that appear in your search. I mean, I think we’ve all gotten weird, random ads from time to time, and thought ‘how the hell did this find its way onto my screen?’ So good for you, Google. But I have one suggestion – do more.

What do I mean by more? Glad you asked. Well, it seems to me that Google probably already knows enough about us through our search behavior and actions online, that it can offer more ‘Why’ services to us, to help us get through everyday things that require a bit more transparency.

For example, your boss sends you a curt email telling you to put everything aside and get those reports by 5 pm. Wouldn’t you love to have a ‘Why is he picking on me?’ link to help you out?

Or what about watching a movie online? Have you ever watched with your girlfriend who always asks annoying questions during the best parts? Wouldn’t you rather she had access to a ‘Why is he after the hero now?’ link to keep her quiet?

Or how about when you buy something online and in the shopping cart there are a few of those mysterious fees and taxes (I’m looking in your direction, rental car companies, airlines and Ticketmaster). I think a ‘Why are you charging me a facility fee’ link would come in pretty handy, too.

So keep up the good work, Google. But next time you offer this link, don’t think so small. Go big and start offering a ‘why’ link to everyone and everything online. Why, you ask? Because you’ll make my life a whole lot easier.

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