Tired of being deluged with advertisements for chainsaws wherever you go on the Web, just because you searched for one on Home Depot’s site?
Or ads for shoes, dishware, pet food, or whatever? You can’t totally eliminate Web tracking, but you can reduce it.
One webpage leads to many third-party domains
By now, only the most naive PC users don’t know that online marketers track where we go, using that information to inundate us with targeted advertising.
But the extent of that tracking isn’t as well known. For example, simply viewing a particular website — not clicking any links — can give marketers and others a surprising amount of your detailed and possibly deeply personal information. When you load a new webpage, the online server for that page will know, at a minimum, your IP address, the date and time the page was requested, and the webpage you were on when you made the request for the new page. But those who run Web servers can gather — and share — much more.
Visit Home Depot, Facebook, Google, or any other site, and your personal information isn’t retained just by that specific organization. Data points collected about you and your browsing habits are often shared with numerous third parties (i.e., other domains) — typically for targeted advertising.
Much of this information can come from your own PC. When you download a webpage, you often get numerous cookies. Some of them are tracking cookies or other types of cookies that contain activity-tracking code. Keep in mind that not all Web cookies are bad. General cookies typically store information that will make it faster and easier to visit a site you like. (That information could, however, include passwords and credit-card numbers.)