You’re not being paranoid, you are being Ad Stalked
I had a sneaking suspicion that something wasn’t right a few weeks ago. That’s when I first noticed this particular product advertisment that seemed to pop up on every website I visited. It was everywhere, despite the fact that I had not click any links or visited any websites for that product in some time. My suspicions were confirmed when I read an article titled “Time for a web Do Not Track List?” written by PC World detailing this latest internet craze termed ‘re-marketing’ or, as PC World more appropriately labeled it, Ad Stalking.
As more and more consumers of every type spend greater amounts of time on the internet, marketing firms have become bolder in their attempts to capture your attention for their products. This re-marketing or Ad Stalking, depending on how you feel about it, uses your browser’s Cookies Settings to track your visits to various websites. Marketing firms then create an internet ad, targeting your potential interest in products you’ve recently viewed and begin displaying it on other sites. For example if you are researching ‘digital cameras’ on any website, you will suddenly begin to notice pictures and links of digital cameras being touted on subsequent,completely unrelated websites you visit.
You’d think deleting your Cookies would solve the problem. Unfortunately, it does not. In fact it appears the only way for you to break free from these annoying ads tagging along behind you all over the internet is to Opt Out. Opting Out is no easy feat though. Usually there’s a tiny ‘i’ in the top right corner of the ad (Note: This only appears to be present in advertisement that is a part of Google’s AdWorks Marketing Program) that you must click and follow the instructions, one of the of which warns you that deleting your Cookies essentially re-sets your consent,exposing you all over again to Ad-Stalking.