Are the commercials at the edges of your web pages stalking you? Have you noticed after sending an email to a friend telling them about the fun you had in Fiji, the display ads try to tempt you away again? Maybe Facebook is trying to sell you a new brand of coffee and YouTube is recommending more cat videos. You may be suffering from Ad Tracking!
Through cookies in your browser, marketing companies can watch what you do online then manage your web experience to match what you’ve looked for or talked about in the past. This means the sites and their advertisers are learning more about you so they can tailor ads, articles, and search term suggestions.
You may not think this is a bad thing, after all they only know your consumer details, not your personal identity but as LifeHacker online magazine points out, there are unanswered questions about the data that’s being grabbed by ad firms:
- How long should networks hold onto your unique ID, set in your cookie, as you browse the web?
- How much data should they be able to glean from you?
- Are there certain kinds of searches and page visits that shouldn’t be tracked or monitored?
- What rights do ad networks have to sell or store your data
You can limit the amount of info these sites can collect by enabling Do Not Track features on browsers and some social media sites. If you would like to learn how to enable Do Not Track on your computer, go to the Life Hacker article and for instructions on Limiting Ad Tracking on the iPad, go to the Apple Support Community.