We all remember those times when the Television was on a wave and we all hated the TV commercials. Later, Billboard adds sought us in every step. Nowadays in the digital age advertisements pop up in every website you visit. But now as the whole world is connected to the WWW, advertisers are raising their game with behavioral targeting. Of course, advertising is necessary on the web as it helps to keep your liked content available and for free. If there would be no advertising, web would become unaffordable as you would need to pay pretty much for every visited website.
Behavioral Targeting All Across the Web
Advertisers want a return of their investment and this is where user demographics come in to play. It would make no sense to advertise the newest Cadillac Escalade to the 80 year-old grandpa, so what online marketers are trying to achieve is to make online advertisements more targeted and more relevant. Website owners have learned that the more focused advertisements are, the more advertisers would pay them.
The issue now becomes an online privacy. Behavioral targeting analyzes and tracks your online behavior, tracking what what services you use, what websites you visit and what you search for. This may be used to determine what ads to decide where and what advertisements are shown to you, even the same ad can follow your from one site on another. This practice is known as retargeting (remarketing). Some unsatisfied Internet users call it stalking.
Is it an invasion of your privacy? Well, tons of advertising companies that do behavioral targeting are already tracking your web usage. Although, you can resist them!
STEP 1 – Opt Out with NAI
A straightforward approach to battle targeted web ads is through the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI). It is a cooperative of online analytics and marketing companies that are committed to build consumer awareness and establish responsible business with responsible data management standards and practices. More sophisticated online advertising technologies are developed and consumer concerns about their privacy is increasing. The Network Advertising Initiative is prepared to meet those concerns with sensible protections for Internet consumers and effective industry self-regulation.
Start taking care of your privacy and use Opt-Out tool. On the website you may see how many companies that are the members of NAI have placed a cookie in your browser. Proceed to clear all of those cookies.
STEP 2 – Opt Out with PrivacyChoice
PrivacyChoice.org offers an advanced solution that includes features like consolidated opt-out bookmark. It opts you out of 100+ advertising networks including the ones in the NAI. On the website you can take a look what websites use which advertisers tracking you online.
To stop this marketing pursuit, you can use PrivacyMark (add-on is not required).
This bookmark can be dropped to the bookmark toolbar of your browser. It enables you to opt-out of advertisement targeting by over 100 companies. Although you must click on it occasionally to update your opt-outs especially after clearing cookies in your browser.
Ironically you need to allow 3rd party cookies in order to download cookies that block tracking cookies. A bit confusing, right?
This tool allows you to opt-out of ad tracking from the companies that are not compliant with an industry oversight or to opt-out of all advertisement tracking completely. You can also select what ad companies you would like to opt-out and which to leave.
This website enables you to opt-out directly from big companies like Yahoo! and Google.
The following feature is available as either a Firefox Add-on or a bookmark.
You just need to click on the installed button or the bookmark whenever you are curious of ad trackers the website use. Of course the user might not want to slow Firefox down with yet another Add-on hence the option to use this tool as a bookmark does its job fine.
This tool can be added as an add-on to your Google Chrome, Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox browser. TrackerBlock prevents ad tracking by specific companies by reading or writing cookies within your web browser. It also removes other files like Flash cookies (“Evercookies”) that are not stored in your browser by the tracking companies.
TrackerBlock automatically refreshes your block-list with the new tracking companies. This tool does not affect cookies from other websites (for things like logins) which is more convenient than switching off cookies in your browser totally.
The firefox add-on is constantly updated. JSON file is sent from their server for every session which includes the existing list of tracking companies. It also updates if an “oversight” status of any company is changed. In the add-on for IE9 it is changed every 3 days.
This tool prevents data-mining companies to use your e-mail address to find you on popular social media websites like LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.
It is a bookmark that may help you to protect your Facebook friends. If you click on the bookmark when you are on a friend’s profile you would see what information is publicly available.