Opt out of advertisers’ data mining your surfing habits!

As you may or may not know, many advertising networks plant cookies (small files) on your computers that allow the advertisers tracking your internet habits.

Using these cookies, the advertisers may know where you’ve surfed, from which site you moved to which other site, what did you search for, etc.

I’m sure some of you would like to prevent this from happening.

So, apparently there’s a way.

While there’s still no regulated opt-out or opt-in service for internet ads, as it is for phone marketing or credit offers, there’s something you can do about it.

The industry, knowing how many people value their privacy, decided to do self regulation on this, and set up two sites that cover most of the advertising networks, on which you can choose to opt out from the tracking “services”. Basically, you tell the companies to stop spying on you.

Since it’s a “self-regulating” feature set up by the industry, no-one promises that the opt-out request will be in fact honored, but I’m sure that at least some of the advertisers (like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo) wouldn’t ignore you.

The sites are:

NetworkAdvertising.org – This site covers many networks, including the big ones like Google, Akamai,  and also AdBrite – the network that puts advertisements on my blog.

AboutAds.info – This site covers more than 60 networks, amongst which you can find the giants like Microsoft, Yahoo, Fox, and also Google and Adbrite as well. The site will plant the opt-out cookies based on the browser you use (not all advertisers provide tracking for all the browsers).

Although “self-regulated” opt-out services are not to be fully trusted, it might still be better than nothing. The least it can do is to show the advertisers that people do not like being spied after.

Note, that you need to “opt-out” on each of the browsers on each of your computers, as the system is based on the browser cookies.

So, do select the advertisers you’d like to stop spying on you, and submit, on both the sites.

Safe surfing,

Your Little Advisor

PS: The opt-out is only for the data-mining, meaning that the advertisers will not try to tailor their ads based on the information they gather through their tracking cookies. You will still see ads, but they won’t feel so intrusive, and might be easier to ignore.

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