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Opt-out of online targeted advertising networks and companies

Opt-out of online targeted advertising networks and companies
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If you surf the web, you're going to see ads. That's a given, and there's not much you can do about it. What you can change is whether or not you see targeted ads. These are the ads that follow you from site to site and seem to know what you've been looking at online. It's creepy and very annoying.

Online behavioral advertising -- which is also sometimes called "interest-based advertising" -- uses information gathered through your browser about your visits over time and across different websites in order to help predict your preferences and show you ads that are more likely to be of interest to you.

For example, a sporting goods manufacturer might work with an advertising network that collects and uses online behavioral advertising information to deliver ads to the browsers of users that have recently visited sports-related sites, or an airline might direct ads to users that recently visited travel sites.

Advertisers record and store your online habits on your computer as a small file called a cookie. You can remove these yourself, but they'll just keep coming back.

In the advertising world, cookies are used in many different ways. Online advertising companies use cookies to help deliver ads and track their performance. Cookies provide information about how many times an advertisement has been seen, which browsers have received it, and what sites were being visited when it appeared.

They can also help predict which type of advertisements might be of interest to groups of users in the future and help advertising companies recognize the the browsers of users in that group so that these ads can be delivered to them.

Instead, I have a better idea. You want to opt out of ad tracking entirely. Fortunately, many ad companies belong to the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising.

I found this great Consumer Choice Page that will find any cookies from participating companies. You can then choose to opt-out of receiving their advertising. And you can totally opt-out of all companies, too.

Note: If you've disabled receiving cookies, you will need to enable them in your browser in order to opt out.  If you aren't sure how to enable cookies, or even what they are, you can click here to learn more. You can always disable receiving cookies after your download is completed. You will also need to temporarily disable any ad blockers.

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