When Ad Targeting Goes Badly

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March 10, 2017

I’ve been a udemy user for several years. Their low-cost instructional courses (usually on sale for $10-15 each) have been great for my piqued interest in some side topics around mobile and game development, learning some new web development skills or for pure financial support of teachers I love including Tim Buchalka and Zed Shaw.

Over the years I’ve signed up and paid for 17 courses, almost all of which are programming-related:

  • Advanced Ruby Programming, 10 Steps to Mastery
  • Angular 2, the Complete Guide
  • Build Realtime Apps, React.js, Golang and RethinkDB
  • C++ Tutorial for Complete Beginners
  • Complete Python Masterclass
  • Java Programming, the Master Course
  • Learn 3D Modelling, the Complete Blender Creator Course
  • Learn Android App Development with Java Step By Step
  • Learn C# Programming (in Ten Easy Steps)
  • Learn How to Code: Google’s Go Programming
  • Learn Python the Hard Way, 2nd Edition
  • Learn to Code by Making Games, Complete C# Unity
  • Master Android N App Development with Java
  • Play Framework development with Java
  • Publish an Android Gamm App
  • The Complete React Web App Developer Course

I also signed up for a musical vocal exercise course called “Achieving Your Mixed Voice” for my public speaking preparation.

I recently got a targeted email from Udemy to sign up for additional courses, bundled into something they called my “Personal Course Catalog”

The catalog included several Java, JavaScript, Unity, HTML, mobile app and Python courses, which were 100% accurate, but the very first and the last two courses in this mailing couldn’t have been more wrongly targeted at me.

  • Fat Loss for Women
  • eBay marketing
  • Russian vocabulary

Seriously Udemy, what the heck? What part of my paid courses flagged me for these three courses? I’m borderline offended that you’d suggest fat loss for women, but I’ve never been interested in learning Russian and I don’t remember the last time I bought something on eBay, much less sold anything.