Good afternoon all. I wanted to do a quick post based upon an interesting topic, which was brought up by Philipp Lenssen on his Blogoscoped blog. This topic is one that affects you and I on a daily basis and one of which you are not likely aware.
What topic are we about to discuss? GOOGLE IS TARGETING YOUR SPECIFIC INTERESTS (so are other advertising networks) by tracking and logging the websites you visit and has a new plan to allow certain advertisers access to this “anonymous” information so that they can better target relevant advertising to you. In all honesty, this is certainly nothing new. However, Google plus their newly owned property, Double Click, makes them one hell of a large purveyor of advertising. They control the vast majority of the billions of ads that reach our web browsers every year–one company with a lot of information about our web browsing habits.
Should you be concerned? That is a personal choice you will need to make for yourself. The real issue is that Google (and others) have defaulted us to be Opted-in to having our browsing history and behavior tracked while we browse Internet properties they “touch” or own. One would think that Google and others would have set the default to this as Opt-out, which means that we would have had to have manually selected to be opted-in to their tracking program. Nope! It kind of makes you wonder, right?
OK Eric, what does all of this mean and what can we do about it? Hey, I’m glad you asked!
What it means is that unless you “tell” Google and other advertising networks to stop tracking you (opt-out), they will continue to track you while you surf the Internet. Again, you may not even care and do not mind being exposed to relevant advertising while browsing the web. However, many people do not want their browsing history and behavior tracked. In other words they may just want to be in more control of when, where and how they are exposed to advertising.
What you can do about this is opt-out (or don’t). If you want to opt-out, use the following tools. You should also take a moment to read the great comments left on Philipp’s blog about his original post on this topic (the one I read that caused me to want to write this blog post).
- Google Opt-out Plugin for FireFox: http://www.google.com/ads/preferences/plugin/
- Opt out of nearly 50 Advertising Networks, including Google, with the click of a button – http://www.privacychoice.org
I posted this follow-up because I want to help spread awareness for this topic. My hope is that anybody reading this blog post will become a more informed Netizen (Citizen of the Internet).