Andrew Dermont in Big Think:
Studies have shown that people who have recently read online obituaries tend to be higher purchasers of weekend rental cars. Why this is true isn't exactly clear to Dave Morgan, founder of Tacoda Inc., an online advertising company that was acquired by Aol. in 2007 for $275 million. But the correlation in the data is significant enough that Avis, Hertz, and Enterprise Rent-a-Car ads should start appearing in front of you soon after you have read about the passing of an old friend, a loved one, or (as is often the case when reading obituaries) someone you didn't know at all.
Consumers today are knowingly and unknowingly providing businesses with more data than they've ever been capable of collecting before. Internet entrepreneurs, privacy analysts, and business consultants alike believe that for the next fifty years, capitalism around the world will (for better or worse) be focused on sussing out what all this data actually means. “We are finding things that are completely non-intuitive,” says Morgan. “This is just the very beginning of this enormous explosion of information being available about what people do, how they react to information, and how they interact with each other.”