Should You Opt Out of Behavioral Advertising Or Profit From It?

There are tons of way to make money online, and some are shady, but here’s one that you all might be uncomfortable with. Let me know how sketchy you think it is.

Working in the online advertising world, I’m always introduced to new ways to make money. Recently, however, I was introduced to a new way of making money online. It’s something you put on your website, but it doesn’t bother users; in fact, users don’t even notice because it’s hidden inside the code.

Advertisers Pay To Track You

Website owners can install a pixel that tracks users even after they leave your site. The tracking pixel records what websites you visit and your patterns. This information is then sold to advertisers. It can be very valuable to advertisers, and if users don’t know it’s there, can it really hurt them?

Check out the National Advertising Institute‘s site. Let the tool find out how many companies are currently customizing ads to you tracking you right now! Can you believe it? My browser shows 78 of their members are tracking me. Seems like a lot.

It seems kind of seedy to me. Why sell user information without being totally upfront? Sure, you might have a privacy statement hidden somewhere on your site, but it’s not apparent from visiting a homepage that a user will be tracked even after they leave the site. I have no problem with advertisers using information from a site that I use. But when I leave your site, leave me alone!

Google Is Always Tracking You

On the other hand, did you know Google does this constantly? They know your shopping preferences and they serve ads to you based on your likes and interests and past search and browsing history. I constantly have financial products being shown to me, no matter what site I visit. They know where I’ve been and will continue showing ads to me for the same products I’ve recently viewed. Like a personalized shopping assistant I never asked for.

Is it really such a bad thing? Personally, I’d rather have ads appear that interest me rather than random ones. Why have products I don’t care about come up when I can have TurboTax and Capital One 360 follow me around the Internet?

Still, I would never do this to my readers because it’s not upfront and honest. Plus the payouts are really small, like a few cents for every 1,000 visitors, so definitely not worth it until you’ve got a LOT of traffic.

As for opting out, there is good news! You can opt out of Behavioral Advertising. This includes over 80 advertising networks that use your browsing history, so simply opt out on the site and you won’t have to worry about any sneaky websites profiting from your online habits.

 Are you ok with advertisers having all this information about you? Are you going to opt out?

2 Responses to Should You Opt Out of Behavioral Advertising Or Profit From It?

  1. FI Pilgrim says:

    Whoa, 80 advertisers were tracking/serving me. I’m an IT guy so this kind of thing doesn’t creep me out, but I do get concerned about serving too many ads that are closer to my buying habits (addictions) and helping me spend too much money in the process.

    Thanks for the great information!

  2. Crazy! I had 98! I’m not surprised though and just accept it as a fact of life while using the internet.

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