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Ad tracking is a very big business.  There are numerous companies that are involved in ad tracking.  If you have ever ended up on a web page and see the ads on the side of the page match an item you were looking at on a shopping website or if you were on a sport's website before you could see an ad on this new page relating to that sport you were looking at.  This all occurs due to numerous companies trying to ad track you even though you want to remain anonymous on the web.

Why do they do this? Edit

Companies ad tracking is all part of business.  If companies know what items or websites you are looking at then they can put those ads or ones extremely similar to it on any page you visit.  The entire goal of ad tracking is to get you, the user, to click on their ad.  This is a win for them.  They are bringing you to an external website.  They do this so you see see products similar to what you were looking at hoping that you will give in and spend your money with them.  Most of these companies that are guilty of ad tracking are not the big name companies like Google and Microsoft, but mostly unknown name companies.  Their main objective is to get you to click on their ads by giving you ads that are appealing to you.[1]

How long do companies know the websites you visit? Edit

Companies are continuously tracking you.  This is not a temporary thing.  The information they gather about you is not used once or twice and then discarded.  This information has been stored into a database from these organizations.  Most of the information you looked at on the web is all across the world in databases and will probably be there forever.[1]  There are three types of people or organizations that are involved in ad tracking.  There are the people and organizations that are the buyers, that are sellers, and then the ones that are in the middle of these two groups that assist each side.[1]

How to Stop Ad Tracking Edit

This is a very complex thing.  It is not easy to be anonymous online. There is not a simple off switch that can stop all companies from tracking your movements on the internet.  In fact, it is virtually impossible.  Mozilla offers an add-on called Collusion.  Collusion is not there to stop ad tracking but it is showing you who does track you.  The plans for Collusion are to include the option to stop ad tracking in the future.[2]  You can go to the self-regulatory site run by the Network Advertising Initiative, which can help you stop this ad targeting from companies. However, this website does not stop companies from collecting data on the users.[1]

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Madrigle, A.C. (2012). I'm being followed: how Google—and 104 other companies—are tracking me on the web. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/02/im-being-followed-how-google-151-and-104-other-companies-151-are-tracking-me-on-the-web/253758/
  2. Paul, I. (2012). Firefox add-on Collusion shows who's tracking you online. PCWorld. Retrieved from http://www.pcworld.com/article/250986/firefox_add_on_collusion_shows_whos_tracking_you_online.html
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