Category: Conscience

A mobile phone displaying a map with various adverts popping out of the locations.

Advertisers snooping? Stop the tracking cookies

Ever had the feeling that you are being watched. You visit Amazon and look at iPhone headphones, then jump over to YouTube and watch a video but the adverts are suddenly all for iPhone headphones. You go to check you Gmail, and more adverts for headphones. Then you pop by Facebook and more adverts for headphones. No matter where you go, those iPhone headphones just keep following you. Truly you are being watched. Many internet marketing companies are tracking every page you visit and purchase you make, using tracking cookies. They know a huge amount about you and they use that to sell you things.

Understandably, many people worry about these tracking cookies and their adverts. The EU made a law requiring websites to inform you of the cookies and seek your permission to use them. This resulted in a mass of pop-ups on telling that “this site uses cookies” which you probably just ignore – but should you? Should we just accept this snooping into our online lives and is there really anything you can do to stop them tracking you?

Well, in fact, you can opt out of these ad tracking cookie systems. You’ll still see ads and these firms will still make money, but you won’t be having the feeling that someone is watching you. It isn’t perfect. The opt-outs usually also use cookies to log that status so if you clear your cookies, use another machine, or re-install your system, then you will need to repeat the opt-out process again. Also, the companies don’t really want you to opt out, so they have gone out of their way to make you go out of your way if you want to actually opt out. There’s no single off switch and you have to run around a huge number of sites, clicking opt out on each of them.

Is it worth it? Well, I opted out about a year ago, and I like it. I still see ads, but they are different ads. The ads are often less relevant to me than they were before, but that is kind of the idea here.

Why not just use an ad blocker plugin? Well, they are far from perfect. For a start, many publishers simply block their content if they detect an add blocker. Furthermore, the ongoing tit for tat between the advertisers and the blocker means that the blocker might not always stop the tracking even if it blocks the display of the ad. Finally, this method, of opting out, is within the advertiser’s system and they are required by law in many countries to do this, so you can be moderately sure that they won’t circumvent it.

For google, go to https://www.google.com/settings/u/0/ads/authenticated
Make sure to turn off all three settings for signed in “Ads based on your interests”, and on the next page, signed out “Ads based on your interests” and “Google Search Ads based on your interests”

Google also uses the Doubleclick cookie and opting out of that requires you to download Google’s plugin from https://www.google.com/settings/u/0/ads/plugin

You might also want to review your Google search history and delete that too. Yes, they have everything searched for file and you can view it. https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity and also
https://myaccount.google.com/activitycontrols
https://plus.google.com/settings/endorsements
https://plus.google.com/settings
https://myaccount.google.com/locationsharing

For Yahoo! group adverts there are several places you need to go:
https://aim.yahoo.com/aim/us/en/optout/index.htm?b=oo
https://dev.flurry.com/secure/optOut.do
http://optout.btrll.com/opt_out_cookie
https://search.yahoo.com/history

Network Advertising has an opt out page for many smaller ad companies. Facebook is one of the firms listed so you can opt out of Facebook’s tracker here. Their site doesn’t work too well. You have to click the “choose all companies” opt out button several times as it only opted me out of 5 or 6 out of 110 each time: http://www.networkadvertising.org/choices

Digital Advertising Aliance (DAA) also has the same tool and lets you opt out of many ad providers: http://youradchoices.com/

To opt out of Amazon tracking, you can use the DAA link above or go to https://www.amazon.com/adprefs

For Microsoft (Bing) you should head over to https://choice.microsoft.com/en-GB/opt-out
Also if you have Windows 10:
– Click or tap the Start button.
– Click or tap Settings.
– Click or tap Privacy and then turn off Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps.

Just like google, Bing also stores all your search history. Unlike Google, they don’t make you re-enter your password to view it. So if you boyfriend leaves his laptop open why on the toilet, you can just have a gander at how he search for “Brazilian fart porn” at 22:43 on Sept 12, 2016. https://www.bing.com/profile/history

truth and lie

Don’t lie, don’t deceive, don’t mislead in marketing

Some business thing that it is OK to lie. The think that it’s a quick way to get ahead in their marketing. Or maybe they think it’s the only way to get a customer. Think of you stereotypical second-hand car salesman. The reputation is that you can’t trust them. That they will trick you and con you. This is wrong. If you want to ruin your business quickly, the fastest way to do so it to lie, to deceive and to mislead your customers. You won’t do it for long because before soon you will have no customers.

Today I saw an advert on YouTube for something that I was interested in. Doesn’t happen often. Most adverts I see get ignored. But this one was one that caught my attention. It claimed, so I thought, to take a photograph of myself, and through some photoshopping wizardry, turn it into a cartoon styled image of myself.

“Now,” I thought to myself, “I could do with some of that. It’s just what I need to make a nice catchy avatar.”

So I clicked the ad. Now I found myself very disappointed. Instead of photoshopping a photo like the advert showed, it simply let me download some software to make a Zwinky. You know those little mini me cartoons where you choose the hair, choose the shoes and choose the face and make something resembling yourself.

Now there’s nothing wrong with making a Zwinky. In fact, if the advert had been for making a Zwinky then I probably would still have clicked on it because Zwinkies are a cartoon avatar and cartoon avatars were what I wanted to make. However, the advert had promised something much more than a Zwinky. It had alluded at a much higher level of realism and customization than a regular Zwinky. I wasn’t going to get what I wanted. I had been tricked and lied to. The result was a disappointment.

Now disappointment is not a good stage in your marketing/sales process. You don’t sit down at the board meeting and discuss how best to disappoint your customers. It is quite safe to say that disappointed customers are what people seek to avoid. Avidly. Disappointment is not how you build brand loyalty. You can’t get repeat business if you disappoint.

Look at your business. Is the image that you present to your customer matching up to what you supply? Remember only happy prospects buy. Only satisfied customers tell their friends or come back to your business and buy again. Disappointed customers will go elsewhere.

Footnote: I went ahead and downloaded the Zwinky toolbar to test it for this blog. First, try didn’t work cause I was using Google Chrome not Internet Explorer. A little miffed at having my favourite browser snubbed but not too much as Chrome isn’t a major league browser and still quite new to the market. So I fired up IE. Downloaded via the ActiveX installer and nothing. Tried the manual install, nothing. Seems that Zwinky doesn’t support IE version 8. So no quite disappointed and shan’t be returning to this product anytime soon.