Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How To Block Those Secret Web Cookies That Track Your Visits

I've written often about the practice of web sites salting your browser with cookies in order to track your movements as you surf here and there on the interweb. I've also suggested some privacy settings and browser tips and tricks to help protect you from the scourge of targeted advertising cookies that continuously invade your privacy, often without your knowledge or consent.

Now comes word that many sites are serving up flash cookies, using Adobe Flash, that aren't affected by your browser's privacy settings and that often evade browser add-ons, like TACO for Firefox.

Behavioral advertising on the web is becoming much more aggressive as the number of people using the Internet rises, and as advertisers look for more effective ways to increase click-throughs to generate ad revenue and hopefully sales down the line.

Rather than showing you random ads and hoping for a 1% success rate, it makes sense for advertisements to be targeted toward your specific interests, where the odds that you'll click on the ad would be much higher.

What better way to determine what you like than to track the kinds of websites you visit and what kind of articles you read. If you add a couple of appliances to your wish list on Amazon, that's valuable information for them to have. Capturing your location, browser type, operating system, and so on from your browser string helps, too. Microsoft users in Michigan using Internet Explorer 8 have different purchasing habits than Linux users in Dallas running Firefox, or Mac users in New York loading pages in Safari, or via an iPhone.

Firefox does have a separate extension that will help with Adobe Flash cookie blocking, called BetterPrivacy. If you're a Firefox devotee, you'll want to check it out.

For more information, it's worth your time to read more about this in Wired.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please tell me what you think.