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Why Do Ads Follow Me Around the Internet?

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After visiting major online computer and electronic retailers’ websites, I find that they have tracked items I looked at, combined with my computer’s browser settings or web address and then displayed these items as pop-up ads in my other browser pages. I believe something from the computer store website has inserted spyware into my browser settings and I refuse to trust any spyware. If I increase the security settings, many sites I need to visit no longer function. I have pop-up blocking enabled and expensive anti-virus working, but this is circumvented. I can individually block the sites, but how or what can remove their new spyware from my computer?

Let me put your mind at ease: this isn’t spyware, and it’s not malicious.

It may be a little creepy, but there’s no intent other than marketing.

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!

Summary

  • A technique called “remarketing” allows advertisers to show ads for things you’ve previously looked at.
  • The technique targets your computer, not you as an individual.
  • Clearing cookies periodically, or using an ad blocker, may help.
  • Ads that seem to follow you are benign and nothing to be concerned about.

Remarketing

What you are seeing is an advertising technique called “remarketing.” It’s used by advertising networks, which are companies that websites contract with to present the advertisements you see. Most ads on Ask Leo!, for example, are provided by Google.1

It works like this:

  1. You visit a shopping site, or a site that offers some kind of service. This site may or may not show ads, but they do include content from an advertising network.
  2. The advertising network places a cookie on your computer. That cookie contains information to the effect of, “This computer was looking at X,” where X is the product or service offered by the site you’re visiting.
  3. Eventually, you move on to another website — a site that also displays ads, and coincidentally uses the same advertising network as the site we started at.
  4. That advertising network is given its own cookie back — the one that says, “This computer was looking at X” — and as a result, elects to show you ads for X.

Are you spying on me?There are several variations and I’m sure that the implementation is generally more complex than I’ve outlined above.

As a concrete example, I often visit the website of the hosting company I use, LiquidWeb.com — it’s just part of my daily activity as I manage the server that hosts my web sites. For the longest time, I saw ads for LiquidWeb as I moved on to other sites on the internet. The advertising network had no way to know that I was already a customer.

Advertising and tracking

I get that it feels a little like someone is following you. It’s like you visited a jewelry store, and as soon as you left, someone started following you, pestering you to purchase from that store. “I know you’re interested, because you came into the store and looked at this ring. Here it is again. Are you sure you don’t want to buy it?”

Technically, this type of tracking isn’t tracking you as an individual; it’s just a side effect of the places your computer has visited. Any computer that happens to view  product X will likely see ads for X as they visit other sites.

So it’s your computer, not you personally, that this happens to. Move to a different computer and it’s possible you’ll see a different set of ads. If you don’t, it’s because your activity on that second computer was similar to that on the first — i.e., you looked at X on both, and thus will see ads for X on both.2

Practical implications

I’d be shocked if this kind information was kept very long. There’s a very good chance that simply clearing cookies3 will cause the remarketing system to forget what your computer has seen and begin the process again.

It’s certainly not spyware, and it’s definitely not malicious software on your machine. It’s simply advertisers leveraging how the internet and web browsers work by showing you ads for things you’ve shown an interest in.

There’s nothing you can really do about it without using an ad-blocking solution.

I know it makes some people uncomfortable, and understandably so, but ultimately, there’s really nothing to be concerned about here.

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Footnotes

1: Except for ads I place manually, typically for my own books and services.

2: Technically, it’s even more granular than that. Since cookies are kept separately for each browser, it’s generally enough to switch to a different browser to see different ads.

3: Depending on how you clear cookies, this technique can include side effects like getting logged out of all the sites to which you are currently logged in.

74 comments on “Why Do Ads Follow Me Around the Internet?”

  1. Interesting article, but what should be noted is your privacy is violated. A friend of mine, did a search for a product for his personal hygiene, now every page he brings up has ads for this everywhere. Why would this matter? Because he has friends and clients that view his computer screen while he is working with them on projects, and now they see what he was looking for. Not very private anymore, huh?

    • When you see items you looked at on a different web site, IT IS time to run CCleaner.
      That works until the next time you look at products online again. Rinse & repeat.

      • Agree 100%, Mary, however, I’ve found that using Google Chrome, CCleaner doesn’t necessarily clean the cache, so my procedure, when leaving the Internet is log out of everything, leave one tab and , using the ‘hamburger’ those three bars in the top right, I clean the history out, clear browsing data and then close the final internet tab. NOW, I run CCleaner and it gets rid of just about everything.

        I also run SUPERAntiSpyware last thing, as it catches any of those sneaky cookies that may not have appeared in any cache.

      • CTRL+SHIFT+DEL is a shortcut to get to the Clear History dialog to clear cookies, the cache, history and more in most, if not all browsers.

  2. @Pat,
    That would be a case where clearing cookies would be a really good idea! It’s a pain because any memorized passwords and sign-ins also go away, but it should make the advertisements forget where he was browsing!

  3. Sometimes an installed toolbar can be the culprit. I was getting ads related to things I searched for in the past, and it didn’t matter how often I cleared out my cookies. Once I unistalled the toolbar (Google Toolbar, to be exact), the ads immediately stopped coming.

  4. Use CCleaner to clear cookies but add those cookies for passwords and sign-ins to the “Cookies to keep” list. That way you can eliminate the advertising cookies.

  5. In your answer you stated that, “…being an advertising supported site, I cannot support using ad blocking technology.”
    It’s obvious, to me anyway, that’s a personal opinion. What’s your professional opinion, aside from the fact you run a website?

    Personal and professional is the same: ads are one thing that keeps free websites free. If everyone used adblockers then I and a LOT of other sites people rely on would be unable to continue to exist. It’s pretty simple. If ads are THAT annoying then vote with your feet and don’t return to the site.

    Leo
    11-Aug-2012
    • “…being an advertising supported site, I cannot support using ad blocking technology.” I must be getting word-blind as that is not what I read. Leo said he had ‘mixed feelings’ and surely that is fair enough.

      As a user of eBay, I see the same thing a lot. I look at an item and the same item is showing up as ‘an advert’ on all other pages visited on eBay.

      It is simply marketing and you always have a choice of visiting the site or not.

      As usual, Leo has delivered a sensible and informative article.

      Hopefully, if he visits one of my web sites with adverts on it, he hits the adverts, spends a million and makes me rich:-(

      • A good way to think about it is that it is a way we “vote” for good content. When a person uses ad blocking they are voting against all the good sites they visit. The thing to do is be honest. For instance: I like Leo’s site, but clicking on every ad I see just to make him rich would be dishonest. However, if I see something that interests me I definitely click through when I see it on a site that I use.

        Another good way to look at it is the way the ads are displayed. Again, Ask Leo! is a great example. You’ll notice that there is one ad up near the top. Other sites will have so many ads that you can barely figure out where the article starts and stops. Some sites display ads so that you constantly click on them by accident. Back again to honesty and good taste.

  6. @Snert
    That is a professional opinion. If everyone using Ask Leo! used an ad blocker, he would no longer be professional but amateur as he would no longer be able to make any money from the site. These ads are what makes sites like these possible, unless of course a lot of people prefer to buy Leo a latte 🙂

    Update 1/8/17: or become a patron.

  7. Many thanks for your recent news letter, concerning setting up a wireless network, using
    an access point and adaptor, I’ve now bought these, and linked up my internet enabled tv!
    Very interesting, as before I thought that I would
    have to buy lots of ethernet cable to link it up,
    So its thanks again Leo.

  8. This is more complex than a cookie. I saw more info than website location being recorded by computer retailers. The types of items I viewed were also recorded and stored somewhere and shown again. Someone please tell the whole story. What personal information is being recorded and where it is stored?

  9. While I understand the technique in this process, it’s rationale seems a major goof by advertisers. I surf and see ads for Kaspersky which I run – why – why not a competitor. I subscribe to and use frequently Consumer Reports and yet I see ads for it all the time. It amuses me but seems kind of useless to advertisers which is also amusing as they are always trying to get one to buy something.

    • I agree, this sort of marketing is incredibly ineffective for most folks I know. Let’s face it – I searched the web for something, got information on it, and either decided not to purchase it (likely because it didn’t do what I need or because I found a competing product I liked better) or I went ahead and purchased it. Either way, I am no longer in the market for that thing. By the time I see ads for that thing, showing me those ads has become a lost opportunity for the advertiser.

      • I agree with Mike. It is amazing how many ad’s I get for items I already bought or other items that I decided against.
        However, I generally ignore them along with most other ads. Leo and others get their payment.

        • Actually I don’t. Most advertising is pay-per-click. No click, no pay. DO NOT JUST RANDOMLY CLICK ON ADS THINKING YOU HELP ME. That can be worse, and can get me banned from the advertising network. I offer it just to explain how advertising tries to work.

      • “I agree, this sort of marketing is incredibly ineffective for most folks I know.” – Like any form of advertising, it only needs to work a small percentage of the time in order to be cost-effective.

  10. We all respect your opinion Leo, otherwise we would not visit your site so often. However, if ads were text only, then ad blockers would not be needed. But these ads with large graphics files are actually stealing part of your monthly bandwidth when they download themselves. On this basis I cannot see why ad blockers are any different to putting locks on your door to try and prevent burglars coming in.

    • As the article says, ad blockers prevent the website you are receiving from getting ad revenue. If you want sites you visit to keep functioning, you have 2 choices, allow the ads or donate to the website to help keep it afloat. Leo offers ad blocker conscience absolution for people who donate as low as $2.00 a month through Patreon https://go.askleo.com/patreonb. Of course, there’s no mechanism to check whether someone has donated other than the voice of your conscience 🙂
      If you prefer not to subscribe through Patreon, this FAQ covers different ways people can help.
      https://askleo.com/ask-leo-patreon-faq/#payment

  11. It is quite interesting that the companies tracking you through cookies don’t realize that usually your interest only lasts a few days at most before you are off after other things. I get searches coming back to me even after months and my interest has long gone or been satisfied. Then the tracking becomes spam.
    If I buy 100 sanding disks that is it. I don’t want more. Why persist in showing me adds for sanding disks for months later ?
    Clearing cookies doesn’t help because you generally lose other cookies that you want to stay operational. And the worst of it is the “other items you may be interested in”. Never yet have they been right.
    A little utility that would scan ALL your cookies showing their main content and allowing individual deletion would be useful.

    • You should become a programmer and figure that all out for them. Sounds like a big money maker! I have also seen places on ads where you can set your preferences. That might be handy to try.

    • C-Cleaner allows you to select cookies you want to keep (it even has an automatic scan that can help you find some of those you probably want to keep). Then you can regularly mass-delete all the others.

    • Also, your browser can probably do what you request. I use Firefox, which allows you to list all your cookies, search among them, and selectively delete some of them. If you visit beautiful-store.com, the cookies it will leave on your system will probably have “beautiful store” in their name. So you search for those words, and delete the result.

      I’m sure there are a number of add-ons which make this easier. Do a search on your browser’s add-on site with the word “cookie”. You’ll probably find what you’re looking for.

  12. I just use an adblocker, which I then disable for certain sites (such as AskLeo) which I like and which I appreciate need or deserve the funding AND which limit the number of ads. Problem solved.

  13. Here’s how I dealt with the problem of ads following me around. I spent a little time at the Victoria’s Secret website. Now I have stuff following me around that I can appreciate. 🙂

  14. ​it’s particularly bad on iPad iPhone cuz the pop-up videos & graphics substantially block view of the page you went to​ & want to see –

  15. This is a timely reprint, as it recently came up in another discussion. I strongly recommend everyone also read: What is contextual advertising, and how does it affect my privacy? (See link above.)

    Both of these articles are old (2012 & 2011) technology-wise. Back then nearly everything was cookie based. Now it is much more sophisticated and complex.

    Still, it is not “individual” related. You may be the most important person in your life. However, unless you do something to draw attention to yourself, to the rest of the 4 – 6 billion people in the world, you are just so much background noise.

    As for ads – personally, I don’t mind them. It is a small price to pay for free content. Those I don’t like are mainly due to poor page design, not the ad service. Where ads are placed, how big they are, or how often they change are controlled by the site. Leo has a nice, clean layout. His page specifies the location and size of the ads, and possibly how frequently they change. Unfortunately, many sites seem to have any controls in place, so the page keeps jumping around based on what ad is displayed and their renewal rate.

      • Yes, tracking seems a growing problem. But, as Leo points out in the other article, trackers are interested in trends, not individuals. Trends drive sales – individuals have very little ROI.

        Of course, there is the potential this will change in the near future. As the geo-political environment changes, the greater potential for Big Brother to emerge. It is important to consider not only the possibility, but also the probability and anticipated advantage.

        • “But, as Leo points out in the other article, trackers are interested in trends, not individuals.” – That’s not the case at all and tracking can absolutely impact us on an individual basis. For example, it’s been established that some online retailers adjusted pricing based on customer demographic: in other words, your price may not be the same as my price. And that’s simple the tip of the iceberg…..

          http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/04/15/3985934.htm

          http://www.cnbc.com/2014/04/09/big-data-knows-youre-pregnant-and-thats-not-all.html

          • This is more nuanced. EVen so, the tracking is not about me as an individual. No one cares what I, as an individual, am doing. Pricing differences tend to reflect more global demographic differences than individual tracking. (IMO it’s wrong regardless, but that’s a different discussion.)

          • “Even so, the tracking is not about me as an individual. ” – It’s very much about you as an individual. There’re companies that likely know more about you – as an individual – than all but your closest family and friends. These companies harvest personal data from multiple online and offline sources and aggregate it to create an extremely detailed profile of you as an individual. The profiles are then sold to other companies and can be used to decide whether or not to mail you coupons or whether or not to lend you money.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/technology/acxiom-the-quiet-giant-of-consumer-database-marketing.html?mtrref=undefined&gwh=500B701F8925A6AC937CCE31006C5147&gwt=pay

            Some people may not see this as a bad thing. I mean, if you’re going to see ads anyway, they may as well be relevant ads, right? But if your profile causes you to see inflated prices or to be turned down for life insurance coverage because a past Google search or social media post indicates you may have some health concerns or participate in activities that the insurer considers risky, then that is a bad thing.

            The reality is that we have no clue what information is collected from our devices, the apps we use and the websites we visit and nor do we know how it’s aggregated with offline data, who uses the data or the purposes for which it’s used. And that’s quite concerning – especially the legislation that governs such practices is wishy-washy at best.

  16. My problem with online advertising is not so much that people/companies do it, but that I find it so distracting, I mean really painfully distracting having ads loading every time I change page and flashing in my peripheral vision. I was so pleased to find ad blocking software for my browser and I don’t regret it. I find browsing far better as a result.
    When you read a magazine there are ads at intervals as you turn the pages but you are not forced to notice them by them flashing at the edge of the page, or making you feel your page is taking longer than usual to load… It’s about time online advertising discovers a better way of trading its wares, which is more like a magazine; something that is there, you know it is there, but you don’t feel it is impinging on your personal space. Seriously, online advertising sucks.

    • Back when it was popular for ads to show people squiggling and jumping around as if they had sat on an anthill, I used an ad blocker. It consisted of a 6″x12″ piece of cardboard. Just lean it against the monitor where the ads display (usually the right side), and they no longer distract you. Since that area is taken by ads, you don’t lose any useful information.

  17. Hi, I have also raised a query to leo , in a different way, as is there anyway to stop auto playing of ads as video on visiting pages. I also got the reply that it could not be blocked easily, without using adblocker. But nowadays the menace has increased in all the sites, taking away your download storage,download limit, without you play the video on some sites.
    The whole internet community should do something to the menace. How to play a video by clicking a link in the google is as mysterious as anything. Commercialization has gone beyond control ?

  18. I had problem with McAfee not finding virus on my computer, this happened often, now I have changed to ScanGard antivirus and have no trouble with virus or ads, they also got rid of duplicate files. My computer running very good now

  19. I have my IE setup to delete cookies on shut down. I have no google, nor msn, tool bars on my computer. So how does the new site I visit the next day know that I looked at razors the day before?
    What am I missing?

  20. Here is an idea I have never seen discussed: Why do ad companies target the USER, rather than the PAGE CONTENT?

    The exact behavior described here – say, seeing luggage ads everywhere after pricing airline tickets – is not at all likely to be an effective promotion for me. Seeing ads like that on a site unrelated to travel would make me respond, “Out of my way! I’m not thinking about travel when I go here.”

    But if the page content is targeted, the ads become part of it. For example, Brian Krebs at krebsonsecurity.com selects all his own ads rather than using an ad network. Thanks to visiting that site, I can tell you that BAE Systems “is not just security, it’s defense.” Since I’m thinking about computer security when I go there, related messages get absorbed along with the content. So in the case of the example given for askleo.com, instead of showing jewelry ads because the site visitor had just looked at jewelry elsewhere, the advertising network could show computer and tech-training related ads because that’s what’s on the site.

    • Actually, I believe they do both kinds of targeting. Very often, I see ads which relate to what an article is talking about. One thing I trust companies to do is spend their money in the way best suited to their financial interests

      • “One thing I trust companies to do is spend their money in the way best suited to their financial interests” – Indeed. While some commenters have questions whether remarking actually works, the fact that it’s used by so many companies is proof that it does.

        • One thing I have learned over the years is whether I think something will work or not is irrelevant. What matters is testing what actually does work, and it turns up some very non-obvious results at times. Clearly remarketing works, for whatever reasons.

      • One of Adsense (the network I used) early features is that it was PRIMARILY a page-content based match. That made the ads, to me, much more relevant and interesting to the page viewer. Today they’re all over the map with remarketing.

  21. Also, as requested, I disabled my ad blocker for this site. Now I am getting an ad for the “fromDOCtoPDF” browser toolbar with a big green DOWNLOAD button. Things like that are exactly why I tell my tech support clients to run ad blockers. I understand the website owner has no control over what Google Ads puts up, so I’m not blaming Leo or anyone else for this. I will continue leaving ads show here, and using Google’s “flag as inappropriate” option for ones that cross the line of trying to make unwanted modifications to a user’s computer.

  22. Like others have posted, ads are maybe a little annoying, but they don’t do anything for me (except when they cover some article I am reading because the ad is too big). When I do research it is usually a one time thing (or at least not often). How often do you buy a laptop or a snowblower? I do my research and get on with it. These Ads that then pop up for snowblowers and laptops don’t interest me because I am done, I have made my choice and have ordered or purchased the products. Ads are too little too late.

    Someone I work with mentioned just a few minutes ago that he doesn’t have a turntable in his microwave so I did a quick search to send him some info on ‘aftermarket microwave turntable’ – and I know I am going to start getting ads for something I have no more interest in. (can I get the ads to show up on his system instead of mine 😉

    What is worse is when you get on a site and they sign you up for emails about the product or some service without you actually signing up. I get a lot of emails from computer magazines on many different subjects stating that ‘I signed up for this service’ – and am constantly unsubscribing. I don’t need them telling me what I am interested in. When a subject interests me, I do the research then – I have the information I need, and I get on with my life. For me, these ads/emails are always too late or not needed.

    Now – if they could come up with a way to read your mind and show ads that are needed at the moment – that might be better – but really that is why we have keyboards or voice activated systems – so we get the ads when we need them.

    I would be interested in knowing how many people actually did see an ad for something that followed them around and did click on it because they wanted it?

  23. I realize this is a common, acceptable practice on one hand, but isn’t there also spyware out there that causes the same effect (targeted advertising). How do the white hat and black hats differ, please? Thanks!

  24. G’day Leo,

    You said ” …but there’s no evil intent other than marketing.” Marketing is another word for spying as the information accumulated is used to monitor consumer behavior and with the accumulated interpretation there of is then used to manipulate The “Sales and Marketing” of a Product!

    So much for “Cookies” and why these still exist is yet another matter to address in the spying on consumers game we tend to allow.

    The tactics employed by The CIA, FBI and other Agencies including Sales and Marketing departments of large and small Corporations, is akin to that Propaganda (another word for Marketing) used by Joseph Göbbles (Paul Joseph Göbbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945) who was still Marketing and lying that the German Armies as winning the war and making newsreels showing this lie to the German People month’s before the surrender.

    Marketing is exploiting and exaggerating, lying, about the worth of a product (including Political Parties and current serving Governments) to be worth more than what they are in reality. Political Parties make election promises which they break after they win election. Manufacturers make promises in the description of their products on their websites or on their product packaging and when you get, buy the product it fails to meet these descriptions or promises.

    OK so whats new, we know not to trust and be very discerning when choosing!
    However I never agreed to “Cookies” or anyone invading my “Privacy” in any manner whatsoever!
    So to hell with ‘Marketing” ploys or anyother means of tracking what we do when we browse the Internet.

    In the mean time try and have fun computing and using a Microsoft Operating System who have been tracking what you do since they started with IE and have now completely broken International Privacy Laws with the spying that is occurring with the use of Window 10.

    Regards

    • When something is offered free to you, you are the product. But nowadays, people don’t know when to stop. You pay the price for a product and you get ripped off.

  25. I’ve seen something much creepier than the situation you described. I did a clean reinstall of my PC. From scratch. Not only that, but I took the time to erase my disks in-between. Just in case. As soon as I had reconnected to the Internet, I was targeted by an ad showing a very specific product, relative to a search I had done before reinstalling. I can’t prove it, but it was so specific and so unusual that I’m sure this was targeted and not random.

    How is this even possible ?

    • Remember that your ISP also collects and sells your statistical data. Your ISP account is tagged with your online behavior.
      Remember, if your ISP wanted to, they could track and specifically identify every page you visit and everything you send and receive via the internet/email. The little “s” on the “http” is not a serious obstacle for the motivated snooper.

  26. I came to PC long before there was ever internet

    I also came to PC in the age where the PC did what it was told to do and forgot everything that ever happened every time it was shut off

    this worked that way all the way to win 3.11 WFWG where win 9x started the .lnk recent docs
    up to win 3.11, zero user and program usage history (each program was to provide its own recent file list, the OS didn’t)
    saved settings are different than following me around inside the OS logging everything I do
    which is what every version of NT does unless you turn it off
    Win 2K to Win 8.x had functional Group Policies that allowed for easily configuring the OS for privacy
    allowing the turning off most of the user / program and file usage tracking
    and the home versions (which never should have happened) XP to win 8.x will obey the same policies when imported from .reg files
    now with 10 they’re going back to the ya can’t turn off the user and usage tracking

    that bit of history is information about how I see the computer is to be used
    kinda like a car
    you get in you drive to your destination and return home
    the car doesn’t actually record the trip so you can just get in and it will “remember” how to do the same trip
    and tell you when and where to turn etc.

    thus to me, the browser should never remember anything when closed
    bookmarks are for saving previous locations you want to return to and would be OK with family or total strangers seeing
    the history functions of the Browser and OS are invasive
    I disable IE as much as possible and never use it
    there is a handy policy in group policy,
    > Don’t run specified windows applications: enabled : block iexplore.exe
    clicking the E leads to a dialog about this program can’t start because of policy settings, contact your administrator

    I use Firefox and configure it for privacy
    nuke all history on exit
    also set the CPD / CRH dialog to clear everything
    I use the following add-ons
    NoScript
    AdBlock Plus (disable: allow non intrusive ads)
    FlashBlock
    Better Privacy (LSO Flash / super cookie remover)

    thus from the beginning of my using PC to now I have never seen these follow me around ads
    since my first encounter with a computer Apple ][ e in 1982
    my systems have been 12703 days without ever getting a virus, spyware, ad-ware, malware etc. infection

    as to the ad supported sites:
    – see above about not ever being infected
    – I will never whitelist any site for the ads, because I pay for each byte delivered to my system, why should I pay for viewing ads?! especially when those ads use more data than the site
    – it’s not the fault of the site, it’s the ad networks fault for being aggressive and abusive

    like the old song video killed the radio star
    bad, intrusive, abusive and now malvertising ads brought about the need for ad blockers
    and bad / malicious JS brought about the need for JS blocking

    • When you pay for basic cable, you get some ad-free programming, but the majority of programming is ad supported. In that case, you are paying for the cable service and still getting ads. The ad revenue goes to the content provider not the cable company. You have the option of commercial free programming by subscribing to premium channels. The web mirrors that model. Kill the ads, kill the free content. Just basic logic.

      • actually not as simple as the TV / Cable example
        when the ads come on, you can change channels
        and when you change back they’re over and done
        and they still get paid
        when ads appear on a site you can’t switch tabs and hope they’ll be gone when you switch back

        I don’t subscribe to cable,
        the local OTA stations are good enough
        they get paid for their ads regardless of whether I’m tuned in or not (mostly not, as maybe I’ll turn on the TV 2 or 3 times / year)

        the web, not so much
        if I never visit a site, they still have to pay the bills

        the majority of end users run in Default OOBE settings
        and will “see” the ads,
        so no one is really killing sites (yet)

        and does my visit actually increase the cost the site owner pays for the data used
        one would expect websites are going to be run on “unlimited” uncapped connections
        the cost for the data is the same whether there is one visitor or 3 trillion visits in the month
        the web server(s) run 24/7/365 with trillions of visits or hundreds

        kinda like the local library
        I can go in and sit down, read a book and walk out
        all without having a library card
        I can’t take book out, but I can read it there
        and the library’s bills are the same regardless of my visit or not
        the web is more like the library than TV / Radio
        I would be mighty annoyed if several dozen or more of the pages in a book were covered with ads : “because I don’t have a library card”

        the users who use ad blockers are likely to never click on an ad anyway

        then there is the who cares crowd
        like one of the managers at the place where I work
        who couldn’t be bothered with the amount of “work” it takes to install an ad blocker in the browser
        which is less than 5 minutes
        and doesn’t really pay any attention to the ads

        when I get flyers in the mail box
        It’s my choice whether or not I look at them
        and they still get paid for the print and delivery

        when ads come on the Radio
        it’s the same as TV, either mute or change stations
        and when you come back or un-mute they’re gone
        they still get paid though

        The web needs to come up with a different model
        or continue with the status quo
        – the OOBE users will see ads (and be “followed around”)
        – the blocker users will not

  27. I find it more humorous and a waste of money for these advertisers as the ad sources just latch onto anything, not sophisticated AT ALL…

    It all started on Google Groups Usenet portal twenty years ago when they thought up Adwords or Adsense, whatever. There were ads in the right column based on topics, and in my radio group tranny is short for transformer, which always brought up some unusual links to say the least. I told my niece to stop using it to advertise her prestigious and family oriented business because of this.

    Yes, if you mention somewhere that you have a malady, like dogs and cats, even toss in some casual use of Spanish or other language in a post somewhere you are bound to get ads in Spanish or whatever. Also ads for businesses a few hundred miles away (like that plumber is going to come that far) and it’s just complete nonsense. What a total waste of small business money at the least! Even worse than expecting I’ll ever like you on Facebook for a discount.

    Maybe one of the few advertisers that gets a good deal of this mess is one of the large grocery store chains in the area.

    And hinting that you don’t have a car but like old cars, etc doesn’t affect that ad program one whit. It finds the word car and bombards you with car ads as an example. Say you don’t travel and can’t afford it, bingo, airline ads. I consider it the most Pythonesque, if not schizophrenic system ever.

    And really, I already HAVE that software…stop the insanity! That’s what that lady Australian fitness trainer said in the 90s, the one with really short white hair. Quite frankly I can find more useful images, articles and memes with a search engine than the ads the same company sends me.

    It’s of little wonder that people block ads now. They’re just mosquitoes on the screen.

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