internet-privacy22When it comes to advertisements, there’s a fine line between nuisance and blatant invasion of privacy. When they’re related to something you’re searching you might expect to see ads, but having them follow you around the web is definitely stepping out of line.

Yes, your behavior is monitored. They track your behavior on the Web which websites you visit, what you buy and which links you click.

Thanks to technology that lets companies track and share information about visitors to their websites. An ad you see on one site might appear on another. This is because of the content you searched or the items you purchased and is called “behavioral targeting”.

Behavioral targeting helps advertisers cut their budgets by delivering ads only to people they think are likely to be interested in their message.

What do they do?  A website creates a profile of your behavior and then shares it with other sites you visit that are in its network. They do claim that none of your personal information, including your name, age, gender or location, is released. An anonymous profile is created simply based on your actions online—Really? In addition to more complex issues, it may limit the choices you have and even possibly the prices you are offered.

There are some things you can do. One is a Do-Not-Track list that’s similar to the Do Not Call Registry for telemarketers. You would be able to list yourself and marketers would not be allowed to create anonymous profiles of you. (The Do Not Call Registry is good to a point but far from perfect.)

Listed below are some of the ways you can take control of online advertising. (These ideas come from Studio One Networks):

  • Learn how profiles are created from one of the advertising technology companies, BlueKai, which has a detailed explanation on its website.
  • Look for a white “i” icon on a blue background — this symbolizes that the ad you see was based on behavior or demographic information.
  • On Yahoo! sites, look for the AdChoices icon that links to more information on the ads you’re seeing and your options for managing your privacy.
  • Download an Internet browser plug-in (called the Targeted Advertising Cookie Opt-Out) that automatically prevents sites from creating a profile of you at
  • Read the privacy policy of sites you visit, scanning for information on opting out of their targeting program.

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2 Comments on Online Ads: Behavioral targeting and invasion of privacy

  1. Molly says:

    Nothing’s private online. There are web proxies out there that help with the problem. The best services you pay for and like the Do Not Call Registries there’s no such think as perfect. The free proxies come with ads :-)that can be turned off.

  2. Sandy Arnone says:

    A VPN will automatically anonymously encrypt your entire internet connection and hopeful secure all applications on your computer. With a web proxy you’ll need to configure certain applications manually–such as your web browser. VPN’s use much stronger encryption methods and are, as a result, considered more secure than web proxies.

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