Ask Jo: Conspiracy…No.

Every so often questions and comments come from readers that I think others would like to hear my response to.  That’s when I feature them on the blog.  This is one of those days.

A comment came in from the comment section.  The author wrote:
I love reading your quilting ‘stuff’, always fun and informative.
But, the Fox News conspiracy crap on here really hit a nerve. I quilt to get away from all that garbage. This seems like an odd and inappropriate place for it.
Sorry to say goodbye

**PLEASE NOTE:  This blog reader and I have talked and we have everything worked out.  Please do not leave an unpleasant comment.

The reader had been reading THIS POST.  It was the post about me explaining that I wasn’t going to be working with the magazine that offered me only $250 for my quilt design.

I was super confused by the comment because I don’t write anything political.  I try to stay away from that so much.  I myself hate it when people interject their political opinion into their blog, Facebook, or any type of social media.  I myself have quit reading blogs that get political even if the person has my same political view.  I just don’t like it as most people who are writing are only spewing crap said from the opposite political side.  No thanks.

I stay away from it as well because you don’t come to my blog for political opinions.  Here you want to get a recipe, get a quilting idea, check in on grandkids, or see what else the Kramers are up to.  You come here to get away from all of that so- No.  I didn’t write about the Fox News conspiracy (I didn’t even know there might be one).  I would never write about it except for now to tell you I didn’t write about it.

I came to the conclusion that this blog reader must have seen something in an ad that was on the blog.  So…I thought I would explain to you all how ads work.

Advertiser track the places you visit on the internet….or where the people using your computer have visited.  Then when you go to the next site, they pop ads for those places into place at the next site you visit that has advertising.

Here’s an example.  I was listening to a Flosstube from someone who had just attended The Attic Summer School retreat.  One of the designers there gave all of the participants this Tim Holtz box with a cross stitch pincushion pattern that could fit in the center square of this box. Then you could put other accessories in the side boxes.   Hmm.  I loved that idea.  The pattern hasn’t been released yet and probably won’t be for a year…but will the box still be available then??  Who knows??

The more I thought about it, I wanted a box.  I did a search to try to find them.  It turns out they are available through JoAnns.  They have them HERE on Amazon as well.

I thought a wool pincushion or sewn pincushion would be great for it as well. So, to beat the rush of cross-stitchers looking for them, I decided to order one now while they were still available.

For three days, everywhere I went on the internet showed me items that were all Tim Holtz-related.  There were stickers.  There were charms.  There were these and other similar boxes.  EVERYWHERE I went, Tim Holtz’s items followed me through ads that I saw.

That is the nature of advertising nowadays.  Once you give an inch on something you might be looking for, advertising takes the extra mile.

This same thing happened when I was shopping online for a new rug for the living room.

As a test, before I wrote this blog post, I took …a picture of the ads I was seeing when I signed into the blog to write this post.  These were the ads on the header.  They were graphics that Kalissa and I had been looking at earlier in the week.  She was trying to get some ideas for new shirt designs.

As I relooked up the information for the Tim Holtz box to write this post I clicked around on several places that had Tim Holtz products.  I went back to my blog and look how my ad changed.  It was all Tim Holtz again.  My browsing prompted the ads to change.


This is true for ads throughout my blog and anywhere on the internet that has ads.  I went the inch to look and the advertisers took the mile.

I have had people like this blog reader write to me and tell me that they were discussed because I had porn ads or other inappropriate ads on my blog.  NOPE.  That was not me.  Someone using the computer before them or they themselves were previously looking at inappropriate sites and the ads followed them.  I promise it’s not me.

I’m so sorry for the confusion this reader has.  I’m guessing if the person saw something here, it was an ad and I have no control over that.  Readers do.

I did not nor will I write about anything political or anything super controversial, except maybe if you wash your quilt fabric before you sew it into your quilt.  Even that I stay away from as that can even be a hot-button topic for quilters.  If I do write about something that is controversial quilting wise I always stress that there and many right ways.  Even if someone asks me for my opinion, I’ll give it but I will also stress that although I don’t wash my fabrics before sewing them into a quilt, I understand that others prefer that and either way you approach fabric use, the fabric still makes a nice quilt.

I hope that clears that up and helps anyone else who might have the same question.

**PLEASE NOTE:  This blog reader and I have talked and we have everything worked out.  Please do not leave an unpleasant comment.

45 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Conspiracy…No.

  1. Jill McCaughey

    Thanks, Jo, for clearing this up, and reminding people how we are tracked on just about everything we do any more! The ads are a nuisance, but I put up with them because it saves you money and allows you to do the good work, and fun stuff, for us to enjoy. I have reduced the blogs I read to keep my “ad time” to a minimum. You are appreciated, and this post helped clarify why we see what we see for quite a while after we do searches.
    Jill in Phoenix/Calgary

    Reply
    1. Teresa from Port Coquitlam, BC

      Further to the ads that pop up. Yesterday a group of us were chatting about Cheetos and in Canada we call them cheesies. today one of the people in the conversation went onto Facebook and the first ad that popped up was for Cheetos. So even when we aren’t searching, just discussing you are tracked

      Reply
      1. Lenore J Williams

        I agree, it’s like they are listening to you at times. That has happened to me too! I’m not getting as many as I have opted out of allowing apps to do that and always look at the websites “cookie” policy. Also opt out of everything there except necessary to function cookies.

        Reply
  2. Linnea

    All I can do is shake my head as anyone reading your blog for any length of time knows full well you avoid all things that may raise any issues.

    Reply
  3. Trish

    So all these “Life is Good” t-shirt ads are my own fault, huh? The funny thing is when I used to shop online during the pandemic for Depends for my elderly mother. Oh wow, the ads I used to get! And then my husband would start getting them, too…he was not thrilled.

    You are never political or offensive! Thank you.

    Reply
  4. Kate

    We are for sure being tracked of most of activities on our computers. Like you and others, I look something up on internet and continually get emails regarding the product or on my facebook. I so seldom look at any of the ads on your blog, just scroll down past them.

    Reply
  5. Tina in NJ

    I can always tell when my daughter has been trolling for doggie toys. I get lots of Chewy and Petsmart ads. Btw, I always wash my fabric first, mostly because I always have.

    Reply
    1. Jean

      I wash mine, too, because I’m old! In the fifties and sixties when I helped my mom sew clothes for my sisters, the cotton and cotton-poly fabric we bought would SHRINK. Big Time Shrinkage. So fabric doesn’t get into my sewing room until it has been washed and dried. And anything with linen gets washed and dried a few more times!

      Reply
  6. June

    We all know the goodness of your heart Jo. It’s modern technology at its worst behavior. It is scary cause you never know whose invading your internet system. Most important is you searched to “nip the problem in the bud”. And there is nothing worse next to being spied on as there is to get oodles of ads you don’t want in the middle of sewing projects; )

    Reply
  7. brendalynne1

    just have to add that I wash all my fabric firsr BUT I also wash my clothing before wearing as well. Eliminates ,most allergic challenges..not that you care.just a bit of a crazy tease re fabric washing.

    Reply
  8. Liz

    I have adblock plus on my laptop and it does a good job blocking most ads on most websites. It is a free program. When I do get ads that I don’t want to see, then I just go to Amazon and “look” for things I like, so I change the algorithm and the ads improve in nature.

    But, I realize that blocking ads may impact your blog revenue, so going back to writing and selling your patterns, please consider that option since it would be a way for me to support your work.

    Reply
  9. Donna

    I know ads pop up wherever you go. Just recently ads for Me Undies…lol!
    Glad to hear things worked out ok.
    B
    Love and prayers

    Reply
  10. Cindy in Nc

    I make a point of never buying anything advertised on line just because I find the ads so annoying. Maybe the advertisers will see this and leave me alone.

    Reply
  11. Cynthia R

    Love your blog. I really enjoy hearing about your family. Have never viewed you as sharing political views. Ads are annoying. I get ads for pets and I don’t have any. I agree the $$ offered are not worth your time

    Reply
  12. Lorraine

    To not be tracked, go to Google, click on the three dots at the upper right, and choose “New incognito tab” and search as you usually do.

    Reply
    1. Christina

      Thanks Lorraine, for the advice, will always do this as I am fed up with thee darn ads. What was scary was my husband and I were discussing the possibility of a garden room, in front of “Alexa” and within days we were receiving brochures on garden rooms! So to see if our suspicions were correct we discussed the purchase of an outdoor freezer, and yep the same happened. We are turning her off when we want to discuss a possible future buy. Who knew that the information it overhears triggers the brochures arrival. Apparently this has happened to quite a few of our friends, yikes.
      One friend said he watched a program on the founder of Amazon and he admitted this did happen, all to pursue financial gain . Even he admitted it was very much 1984, big brother watching you , except in this case it is big rother is listening to you, YIKES.

      Reply
  13. Charlotte

    Oddly, a discounted hat ad from “patriots for Trump” came up in this post and trust me, I don’t look for anything involving TFG. Not one of the ads on this feed have to do with anything I’ve been shopping for. In fact, that never happens to me on your posts. To me they seem age related…they skew to an older reader, an older conservative reader. I find ads for Rx drugs, computer programs, jewelry, and I think this is the 3rd Trump related ad I’ve com across while reading your posts. Its not always what we’ve shopped for, sometimes it’s the authors shop/read/interests. I even went back for a week and there were no ads for anything/anywhere I’ve shopped/read/interests (I do all my shopping online so there is a history). Don’t let yourself get caught up in someone else’s drama. It’s not worth the pain it will give you. It’s enough to say that you can’t control the content of the ads. The majority of people using any electronic device already knows this. best solution is to opt out of ads if you feel people will be offended. I don’t care one way or the other about ads unless they obliterate the text/photos or have continual pop-ups but I suppose some will take offense at just about anything.

    Reply
  14. Carolyn - NE Illinois

    I remember her post. I actually went back over everything posted and couldn’t find anything referring to conspiracies. Ads are annoying but I ignore them as best I can. BTW, I don’t prewash fabric

    Reply
  15. Elle

    sorry all. If you are connected in any way to the WWW, you are being tracked no matter what you think or what you’re told. You give away your privacy when you connect. Don’t believe me, talk to a cybersecurity expert.

    I’m sorry Jo, for the crap for which you get directed blame.

    Happy Wednesday evening everyone. :-)

    Reply
  16. Aileen

    I always read your blog , I’ve never seen any political comments from you . I appreciate that a lot . I’ve even stopped reading some blogs because of the things they say , I’ve even mentioned to them that I’m there for the quilting not political views . One person got nasty , saying nobody was going to tell her what to blog , that’s fine but I don’t have to read . Keep up the good work jo , I’m with you !

    Reply
  17. Linda

    Use Duck duck go for searching. This has eliminated ads that follow me. Make it your default browser. I use it on my phone, desktop and laptop. It doesn’t keep your history. Google and Facebook do.

    Reply
  18. Cathy Kizerian

    I installed an ad blocker a couple years ago, and it sure has made my life simpler! The few sites that won’t let you browse them because of the ad blocker just don’t get my attention, much less my money!

    Reply
  19. Anne Fisher

    That is sad–and aggravating and –well I suppose a host of other things. “THEY” know evety thing we do, what we say–and I SWEAR–EVEN WHAT I MIGHT THINK ABOUT– crazy things pop up all the time–
    and this week getting e-mails about “orders” –things I supposedly ordered– “your order has been shipped:” message for instance or my invoice– delete–delete -delete–
    I noticed that comment at the time–and I thought “oh no” —-glad you have it settled.!
    Love reading everything you write — and keeping up with what is going on with your family etc…plus the quilting — well the whole shebang–and thank you for the time you spend writing the blog!

    Reply
  20. shirley

    My daughter is an IT manger. Anyone in your house that is connected to your WIFI will have shared search information. Even a conversation is monitored to pick up key words. I tolerate the advertising, unless it is excessive. because it is what keeps many things free or lower priced, including blogs. I know if I am shopping for something, I just need to go on regular sites and eventually someone will pop up an ad with a different price. Have you ever put something into your cart and closed the page, and shortly after get an email reminding you that you left something in your cart? Even when you are not logged into their site? Even Alexa or google are constantly listening for you to to call their name, and pick up key words. It also is picking up the conversations from your TV.

    Reply
  21. Linda in NE

    I also use Duck Duck Go for searches. That and Ad Block Plus solve most of the problems. I find that using the Incognito window allows all the ads but some sites can only be read by using it. There is no guaranteed privacy on the Internet.

    Reply
  22. Donna M

    Glad you made this post. When I first read the poster’s comment, I couldn’t imagine what she meant. I believe that those of us who are computer savvy forget that not everyone gets how things work on the net. I am often amazed at things I take for granted on the computer that my close friends do not know. For instance, I have used digital coupons from a grocery store chain for years that my friends also use. Recently I realized that neither of them were aware of how that works. One assumed that because she doesn’t have a smartphone that she could not access them. The other thought that since she gets coupons from them in the mail that there were not digital coupons she could also use. I’m still not sure they understand how much money they could be saving.

    Reply
  23. Sue

    I don’t know where the ads come from that show up when I read your blog. Just today, I saw “Kelly Ripa is leaving her show” and an ad for apple cider vinegar. I don’t watch Kelly nor google search for her and same for ACV. I do enjoy some blogs, like Bonnie Hunter, who has a ‘Print Friendly” button on her blog, and it comes up in PDF, no ads. Plus, on some blogs you have to make a choice of “accept cookies “or “deny”. Then you can’t read the blog if you don’t accept cookies. Thanks for not having that on your blog.

    Reply
  24. CA Bobbie

    I totally enjoy your blog and this post is very noteworthy. I too try to avoid divisive comments -to the best of my ability. I just don’t like to listen to it-mine included. Maybe I seem naive to some but that’s okay,I’m happier this way.

    Reply
  25. Kim from TN

    Thanks for answering her question and letting us know about adds that we see. I appreciate the fact that you address these things. Just reading through the comments I have learned about an Add Blocker for my laptop and Duck Duck Go as a search engine. Good information.

    Reply
  26. Kathy Barry

    I didn’t see the comment. I just ignore the ads. I use DuckDuckGo as a search engine as they don’t track you. And I wash my fabrics before using them, always have.

    Reply
  27. Carmen N

    I have an idea for Kalissa. What about a shirt says something about home. Home, sweet, home or There’s no place like home. Stitch, sew, create….there’s no place like home. All along with her cute art work would be fun. Can you tell I’m a home body.

    Reply
  28. Janet

    I do not get any ads when I log into your blog. I also logged into another blog I follow and yup, no ads there either. I do gets ads when I’m on FaceBook though. My husband is in charge of everything computer related. I guess he’s doing a good job.

    Reply
  29. Denyse L.

    With so much hurt, anger, division & downright hate in the world today, being able to get away from it thru my x-stitch, your blog, a few others & the few flosstubes I watch is a welcome relief. I appreciate that more than you know!! It’s nice to block all that doom & gloom out & read abt your latest x-stitch &/or quilt project, your great family stories & the many recipes you provide. The ads are just part of it & I just ignore them!! I know the internet seems to stalk us everytime we order something–I ordered a bunch of silk floss from one of my favorite online shops as they have them on sale this month & now, I’m inundated w/their ads. It’s annoying but just part of the process!! I just ignore them or delete them & go on!! Thanks for taking the time to give us a welcome respite from the harshness of our world!! Gives me hope that things aren’t as bad as some portray it to be!!

    Reply
  30. Janet Rice

    The advertisers customize the ads from the cookies stored on your computer. There are also settings where you agree or disagree to have personalized ads. If you disagree, your ads could be absolutely anything. If you agree, they will be something you showed interest in, as Jo explained in the post. You can clear your cookies to get rid of the info to customize your ads. But the very next time you use an app or a program or a search engine, the cookies will be back.

    Reply

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