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Be careful what you wish for…

By Chris Dawson June 20, 2013 - 11:13 am

I was browsing the Internet late last night and one of the things I did was to check flight times and costs from Southampton to Edinburgh. I was a little surprised five minutes later to see the following advert on an eBay listing.

Flybe Advert on eBayNot only had AdChoice clocked that I’d been on the Flybe website, but they’d also remembered the flight details I’d been looking at and included a link so that I could return to the Flybe website and complete the booking.

I’m undecided whether I like the ability of advertisers to track my browsing habits quite so closely. If for example I was looking for a present for a wife or girlfriend (or much worse, a mistress!) would I want others to be presented with adverts for the products or services I’d been browsing?

That was definitely the case for one Conservative MP who obviously didn’t understand how the Internet and ad targeting works. Having publicly complained on twitter that an advert for “date Arab girls” appeared on a Labour party press release, Labour embarrassingly hit back on twitter explaining how Google Adsense works, which like eBay Ad Choice shows ads based on his “interests”.

Of course you can opt out of targeted ads if you so wish, eBay AdChoice opt out is on the eBay website and linked from every AdChoice advert. Most people don’t opt out however, so if you’re browsing the web be careful what you wish for.

  • Glenn
    4 years ago

    Thanks a lot Chris. My wife also reads Tamebay and now I have some explaining to do!

  • Glenn
    4 years ago

    O’ heck she will see my comments. The hole I’m digging is getting bigger. HELP!!!!!!!!

    • 4 years ago

      Browse some flowers and expensive jewellery and ads for those will replace the dodgy ones… only trouble is you’ll then have to buy her flowers and expensive jewellery so that she knows you really were shopping for her! :P

  • Anne
    4 years ago

    The ebay ad choice link is giving a Not Found message Chris.

    • 4 years ago

      Thanks, should work now so long as you’re logged into eBay :-)

  • Anne
    4 years ago

    I’m logged in and it’s still giving me a Not Found message Chris, despite doing a forced reload of this page in case it’s a cache issue. Strange huh?

    • 4 years ago

      Strange, you’ll have to click the link beneath any advert on eBay and do it that way

  • Gerry007
    4 years ago

    .
    I have a regular couple of searches I do.

    The other week I suddenly noticed in google search a link to BOTH of the items I search for regularly…..

    I know this seems strange. BUT the 2 search items together in 1 link in Google search did seem like my search had made it into the search results.
    And yes I do search for 2 very different items [not related in anyway]and do not think it is a regular search by lots of different people on the net…..so who’s watch who.!!

  • james
    4 years ago

    I dont think the adsense & adchoice opt-out actually works on eBay, i opted out long ago, and enabled do-not-track in all my browsers.
    As soon as i visit a website for the first time which has paid google (zoho for example), then their ads are all over my eBay.

  • Mike
    4 years ago

    Use Firefox with Ad-Killer enabled and life is 99% ad-free, lovely!

    • 4 years ago

      I’d rather see who’s spying on me than be blissfully unaware ;-)

    • Cambridge_Blue
      4 years ago

      Trust me you will continue to remain blissfully ignorant of the people who are really spying on you and every move you make online because they don’t post a cookie in your browser or a personalised ad on the next website you visit – ever!
      ‘They’ are not after selling you anything apart from a false sense of security perhaps.

  • Cambridge_Blue
    4 years ago

    If you want some tips on how to improve your online security then check out the guidance in this link here: http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/how-harden-your-browser-against-malware-and-privacy-concerns.htm
    There are other sites of course but be aware that you will need to deploy several techniques to keep the ‘trackers’ at bay.
    Try to use different browsers for business and personal activity online but configured appropriately.
    We use a several browsers since we do need to have cookies etc enabled when visiting our various suppliers sites or checking on competitors offers & pricing in the various channels.
    The resulting ad ‘offers’ this generates gives us some amusement and our online profile must be highly confusing indeed.
    Thats just how we like it.

  • northumbrian
    4 years ago

    CHris, does this site use cookies? do you check where ,what, and when, and who uses the site?
    does this site have advertisers that do the same ?

    • 4 years ago

      Hi North
      Yes we do use cookies as disclosed at http://tamebaynew.wpengine.com/privacy-policy, but the only way we can identify you personally (well not personally, but enough to call you North) is when you leave a comment.

      We would recommend that you check advertisers sites for their privacy policies if you click through to them.