When Manhunt.net’s banner ads began appearing on the top of SportsIllustrated.com, one blog mused whether the ploy was for the “my girlfriend’s out of town” set. Is Sports Illustrated finally acknowledging openly gay sports fans or just closeted jocks looking for a “brojob”?
According to one commenter on Outsports, Manhunt’s ads have also appeared Knight Publishing’s mainstream newspaper websites such as the Miami Hearld, Asheville Citizen Times, and the Charlotte Observer. And therein lies a clue. It’s unlikely that all of these publications suddenly decided to start reaching out to a gay demographic, namely because there’s been no reported gay-shift in their content otherwise.
What’s more likely is that Manhunt’s media buyers are using what’s becoming increasingly standard in online ads: “re-targeting.” When you visit a gay site like Queerty, your browser picks up a cookie that holds information about which sites (and of what type) you visit. Then, other sites on the net using that same re-targeting network will start showing you gay ads because it knows you’ve been on gay sites. (It’s also why, after viewing a diamond ring website, you might start seeing ads for diamond rings no matter where you browse. It doesn’t mean De Beers bought ads on all those sites; just on the re-targeting network.) Marketers big and small love the technology because it can make consumers think these companies are larger than they really are. It also means if you’ve been searching through Queerty‘s skin pics and sex scandal posts, you’re more likely to see a Manhunt ad. If you’re into home gardening, maybe you’ll see a Home Depot ad.
Which means any super-conservatives and str8 jocks who start bitching about these faggoty ads appearing on their butch website has only himself to thank.