Is marketing turning into surveillance?

A thought that I can’t get out of my head recently is that “marketing” on the web is actually just surveillance. Especially in purchase and checkout flows.

Whenever I've worked with companies in recent years, there seems to be an endless budget for tracking services, but a much smaller budget for actual UX, design and research.

I'm just riffing here, but surely a better marketing technique is a good, helpful product or service?

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I’m Andy, a freelance web designer

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