Why does this ad imply I have a criminal record?

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I recently put my name into the Norton search engine and came across the following:

Ad related to (the person asking the question’s name appears). (His name)  “was arrested?” and then the name of a website that promises to check your records with the phrase “free public record search application.”

Not only was I shocked (to see his name in the ad) but felt that anybody repeating a search on my name would infer I had a criminal record, I have written to the company demanding that the offensive link of my name with a criminal history be removed – although I’m not sure that they would be responsible for the context of my name in their advertisement for checking on an individual’s criminal history. The sad thing is that if you put anybody’s name into this company’s search engine, until a fee is actually paid, it conveys the impression that a specific inquiry would lead to a criminal background. Your words of advice would be appreciated.

First, I’ll explain what you can do about ads like this. Then, I’ll try to explain why this misleading ad is popping up in the first place.

Read moreWhy does this ad imply I have a criminal record?

Is Gmail’s targeted advertising a bad thing?

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Leo, are you aware of Microsoft’s new advertising campaign? If you follow the link, keepyouremailprivate.com/HowTheyDoIt. If true, does it not alter your generally positive attitude towards Gmail? Since I use an email client, Outlook XP/2003 rather than Gmail’s own site, I’ve not been aware of targeted ads. But the allegation certainly worries me. Is it true? Having NSA and GCHQ eavesdropping is quite bad enough without Google joining the party.

Is it true? Sure. I’m quite aware of it and it’s nothing really new at all. And yes, it actually has caused me to lose a little respect, but probably not in the way you think.

I’ve actually lost a little respect for Microsoft!

Read moreIs Gmail’s targeted advertising a bad thing?

How did a website discover my email address?

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I visited a website and two days later, I received marketing information through email from that website for their products. How could they know my email without me providing it when I visited the website? Could it be that they have group mailed somehow? The mail came on my Gmail account.

Depending on the site, it could be a coincidence. Many large companies use mass market email and the fact that you received a message might be completely random.

There are several ways that a company could do this… and again, it’s not based on paranoia. You just need to understand what technology these companies have that allows them to do this.

It all boils down to related sites or sites that use related advertising.

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How Do Those Ads Know Where I Live?

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I live in Baltimore. When I go to a website,  the content will often say things like, “Find sexy singles in Baltimore,” and stuff like that. I use spyware software religiously. So, how do they know where I live? And how do I get rid of it? These aren’t local websites that I’m visiting by the way.

Spooky, isn’t it? I see the same thing when I visit certain websites. It’s not always about “sexy singles,” but they frequently nail me down to the Seattle area.

There are a couple of ways this can happen.

Read moreHow Do Those Ads Know Where I Live?