So you’re surfing the web without any Ad Block plugin installed in your browser, because you know that Internet content isn’t free.
And you’re checking out some site and you see an ad for a product that you recently Googled for. Or for a website that you visited the other day. Or for a travel destination that is related to a message board you frequent.
All of these are targeted ads, placed there by the businesses as a way to draw you back to their site to conclude any unfinished business you may have left there.
And there’s nothing wrong with a little targeted advertising. We do it all the time — whether via the TV shows you watch or radio stations you listen to (how the beer industry knows that NFL fans like to drink beer is just amazing, isn’t it?), or by the barcoded discount card you use upon grocery store checkout. Saving $0.10 on a gallon of gas is a drop in the bucket for the purchase information you’re sharing with the supermarket, either knowingly or unknowingly.
The same thing goes for online ads – you’re being tracked, no matter how well you think you conceal yourself. Something is going to get through and end up targeting an ad specifically to you, to your browser.
And if not an ad, then it may end up being some type of targeted content from the site itself. Just give in and let the advertising happen. It’s inevitable.
But there is one thing you can try: OPT OUT OF BANNER AD TRACKING.
The website EVIDON has compiled a page of over 250 BANNER AD COMPANIES that you can use to opt-out of their personalized tracking campaigns. For some, you just click the OPT-OUT icon and you’re done. For others, you’ll have to click over to the other company’s page and opt-out from there.
This won’t prevent you from being shown ads. It will help prevent some of that behind-the-scenes personalization from happening, which can make you a little bit more private than you thought you were.