Hundreds of thousands of Web sites show ads provided by Google, such as those little text ads that offer you everything from diets to dog training. Now Google has announced plans to track your clicks across all these sites, and then serve up ads personalized to your tastes. Visit a bunch of electronics-related sites, say, and the next site you view may show you an ad for the latest must-have gadget, even if you're now reading about ways to reduce stress through yogic meditations.
As Big Brother as it sounds, this is actually something that many advertising companies already do. But don't worry: There's a way to stop Google--and all the others--from prying.
First, Google has offered up several ways to change and reduce the info it stores about you. Using its new Ads Preferences Manager, you can delete any of the interests that Google believes you have, such as Entertainment or Travel. You can even add interests, if you happen to like personalized advertising.
If you don't want Google to store any information at all, you can click "Opt Out" on their Preferences page. That gets rid of the "cookie," or little ID code saved in your browser, that Google uses to recognize you when you visit one of its advertising partners. (More info on Google's tracking method here.) (Funnily enough, opting out assigns you a different cookie instead, one that lets Google remember your browser as one it can't collect info about.)
Although it isn't well-publicized, many other Internet advertisers offer a way to opt out of their programs, too. Free yourself from dozens at once at Network Advertising Initiative, whose site shows you which ad networks are currently tracking you and lets you opt out of all of them with a click.
I'm personally a huge fan of NoScript for Firefox. I'm always shocked at the amount of little ad clicks that seem to pop-up whenever I go to a site for the first time. Everyone is using Google-Analytics.
You can always surf quietly using site servers in Nevis and other places but that's a drag.
Also don't forget to clear the Flash cookies. Those tend to be annoying as well.
Privacy is key...
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OK. I just opted out of everything from both Google and the Network Advertising Initiative and it doesn't seem to have any effect.
I am running Firefox 3.07 with the AdBlock Plus add-on so I basically don't really see any ads on any websites (including in-site banner ad's like the one POPSCI has at the top of the page).
However, I also have an add-on called Ghostery 1.3.9 which notifies you about the invisible web elements on the pages you visit. (The app tells me that POPSCI is running Quantcast and Omniture - but not what they are or what they do).
It also shows that even after the opt-out that most pages still use the things that I have opted out for such as Advertising.com.
Thanks for this posting, it was extremely informative. I find this new trend towards customized advertising a bit invasive and creepy. bdhoro87, I think you may have misunderstood what opting out does. You won't see a difference in what appears on the sites or what tracking software they have in place (that's built into the sites), but they won't be able to save any info about you. That's the real benefit of opting out.
re origin of word "google" see Oxford Universal Dictionary, Second Edition, 1955, p.813
pre-existing dictionary word, trademark applies only to the artwork
That seems an interesting way to block all providers, if it works.
I like Scroogle myself, and that exclusively blocks all Google tracking data. I'm not endorsing it, but basically it is Google without the tracking and without the fluff (no adword responses to searches..)
Plus, some of the digs that they take against Googele are pretty funny, and others are way over the top.
You can find Scroogle
or you can just do a Google search, if you want Google to know that you will not be using their services anymore :)
I have never seen what the big fuss is about these interest based type ads the keep coming up. What is the big deal if they knew you were at ESPN, or shopping on Amazon before this. If people have that big of a problem with it, then they can just opt-out like this article said. This really isn't like Big Brother at all since you don't have to participate. This will just create better ads, therefore generating more advertising revenue for companies like Google, which will then can use the extra revenue to improve the content and site. Maybe I am the only one that thinks like this haha. Anyway I found this video which provides some more good information about AdSense.
I don't like having to Opt out. I want to have to opt in!
Okay, I actually registered at this site to reply to this ( something i dont normally do ) --
@bdhoro87 -- You are doing everything right, ghostery is an awesome firefox extension, however its still going to show all the secret "web bugs" on a site, regardless of if you opt-out or whatever. Now then using Ghostery in combination with NoScript is completely Awesome! Use ghostery as a way to see what scripts are running "behind the scenes" and then use NoScript and add them as "untrusted". Even if you do that, when you go to the page you are still going to see the "webbugs" pop up in ghostery.
Also, another way you can help keep google , etc from tracking you is to edit your "hosts" file in windows. You would set up a loop back ip for the url you want to block in your host file.
okay, I hope that helps ..
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