Picture this: You're married without kids, but your good friend just had a baby girl. You jump on Amazon, order a Little Giraffe Chenille Travel Blanky, pay the extra $4.95 for gift wrapping and send it over.
That's usually a job well done, but there's a problem: The Little Giraffe Chenille Travel Blanky is now following you around the web. Every website you visit, it appears, lurking along the right rail. You then start seeing display ads for diapers, baby strollers and soon -- a minivan.
You scream at your monitor, tell the internet its targeting is crazy, but such efforts only prove futile, so you Google, "ad block extension Chrome," hit install and move forward with your life.
That scenario isn't far-fetched, and the reality is nobody likes targeted ads that aren't relevant. Marketers don't like them because they're wasting precious ad dollars and consumers don't like them for obvious reasons. Yet ad tech company Rubicon Project is trying to solve that problem -- along with several others -- through an effort aimed at making ads relevant to the consumers who see them.
The approach is simple: Of the 10 trillion ads it serves each month, all will have an overlay that will appear once the consumer hovers over it. They can then indicate whether they like an ad, want to put an ad on "snooze" or say if the ad is not relevant to them.