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Comment on Google's Interest-Based Advertising: "People do not want their interests tracked and sold"  (View post)

Mark Scholes [PersonRank 1]

Tuesday, March 24, 2009
12 years ago4,517 views

Better ads = fewer ads, who doesn't want fewer ads?

The perfectly targeted perfect advert ceases to be an advert, it becomes information.

Of course that doesn't quite work when all the things you want appear to be free

TOMHTML [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

"People do not want their interests tracked and sold." => this is just HIS point of view. In reality people don't care about it.

Aleksey [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Actually, I don't care and don't mind if Google is collecting my interest, tracking them, or sell. They cannot do anything with it anyway, except make the search more accurate – what is very important.
Why you guys are so afraid of it? Europeans often think that all the West is in some kind of phobia – you are afraid of something you do not even know what it is, what about it is, and why it is. Its enough to tell that you are breaking my privacy rights, and everyone starts to panic, even if the do no know what is that privacy right/policy.
I can't believe you care about your search result history. If you don't want your interests to be tracked, then you have something to hide. And if you have something to hide, how we can be sure you are not a terrorist planning something horrible? Have you ever tried to think, that everything is connected to the cycle? If they will not collect any at all interest, the Google wouldn't such good search engine.

This is the same if your mother tells your friend you like "this cake", and not "that".

BTW, they are collecting your interests, but they do not know this interest is yours. I can assure you.

Brock [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

I don't see the problem here.

Frankly, Amazon has had something like this for a while ("Shoppers who looked at this item also looked at these items..."). Did that bother you? I haven't even found the practice to be very helpful (because once I've bought a food processor I'm no longer in the market for further food processors), but they're marginally more useful than ads for feminine needs products or whatever.

I think Google has already addressed the prime concern, which is targeting ads based on health research and (even though they didn't say it, I'm willing to bet) your p0rn surfing. I let people use my computer occasionally and I don't need them seeing adverts based on that stuff! :-)

Mark D. [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

So far I haven't heard any serious ethical complaints about the Recommendations feature in Google Reader. And in practice it's actually useful and more or less right on.

Isn't the general concern about the government tracking and exploiting our online behavior? In that scenario, we have cause to be worried (e.g. China).

On the other hand, a private company tracking our habits is really no different than a small business owner recognizing our face and offering us 'the usual.' It's just on a much larger and more faceless scale these days.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> BTW, they are collecting your interests, but they do
> not know this interest is yours. I can assure you.

Don't know about that, but it looks like the advertiser could easily combine that data with "you" by creating separate campaigns per individual interest, and then feeding a sign-up form a parameter of that interest. So the advertiser may be targeting "Military -> Veterans" and then when you enter your first, last name & email into the campaign's sign up form hosted at, they would know you've browsed related sites in the past. (I'm not judging on the ethics of that with this comment, I'm just saying.)

O. Berkeley [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

You are aware that you can permanently turn off their tracking, right? See, for example: ...

This is a non-problem.

Interesting blog, by the way.

Quadszilla [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

<em>"People do not want their interests tracked and sold." => this is just HIS point of view. In reality people don't care about it.</em>


Jim [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

It's relatively easy for people to opt-out, not just for Google, but for all of the ad networks at once:


ghosttie [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

I want my interests tracked and sold

Eric Itzkowitz [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Philipp, thanks for the great information. @Jim, that is a great tool! Thank you for sharing it. I'm definitely going to share this URL with my family and friends via my blog and email, so they can be better informed and make a choice.

James Xuan [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

[put at-character here]Jim, WOW! Nice link! For those who just want to click through, it's and it opts you out of 48 ad networks with the push of a button!

George R [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Daniel Brandt at scroogle (affiliated with google watch) has a critical editorial on this. He points out that it would be more proper if the tracking was "opt in" rather than "opt out". He also explains how the google cookie and the doubleclick cookie can share information. Included are a number of links to other sources.

Daniel Brandt [PersonRank 3]

12 years ago #

Cade Metz has an article about this at The Register: ...

It's not just AdSense. The same cookie that Google is using for AdSense is also effective across the old DoubleClick network. I helped Mr. Metz with this article by doing some surfing with a packet sniffer.

Google has failed to fully disclose the scope of this new behavioral targeting initiative, nor have they disclosed what information they are harvesting, and how long they plan to keep it.

George R [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Below is a Scroogle cartoon.

Dave Ward [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

I don't think the problem is ethics. That misses at least MY concern. I write online for money. I word hard to target keywords and practice good SEO. Now, however, when someone comes to one of my articles for a reason instead of finding their reason advertised to because of my relevant key words they get their own previous history. They read an article on backpacking and get an ad on weight loss. They don't click on weight loss because at that moment I am pre-selling them purposefully for backpacking gear. If I am doing my job, they are no longer interested in weight loss least not for the moment.

In other words this misses THE ENTIRE POINT BEHIND ADVERTISING. The goal isn't just to try to sell you what you already wanted. That is the END of the process. The goal is to over time convince you that you want something you didn't want before. That's how advertising really works in my mind.

In other words, my pay will go down if I do my job. If I wasn't doing my job, my pay will stay the same or go up. I think I was doing my pay is going to go down.

I hope Google either backtracks on this, or we all jump the google ship by opting out and finding a new advertising middle person.

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