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Questions about advertisements on the internet, and what info advertisers obtain


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9 replies to this topic

#1 kurtgillis12

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 12:45 AM

Lets say I search "dogs" on youtube.

The results page has an advertisment. Does that advertiser know the url of the page it appears on, even if I don't click it? The ip? What other info?

What do they see if I do click the ad?

What about when a commercial plays before a video? Do they know what video their ad was just played before? What else do they know?

The more detail the better! Thanks guys

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#2 Guest_GNULINUX_*

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 04:43 AM

Ads can, depending on the type and the way they are served, see anything you can see on this page!

Also previous set cookies (by the same advertising company or group) can be read and altered to obtain a history about your surf behavior...

 

In short: Any ad can see what the webpage you're visiting can see!

A great example is the combo Google Ads/AdSense which can recreate your whole surfing-history because it's "everywhere"!

 

PS: Not all ads are gathering the same amount of data but in theory they can...

 

If you're worried about it use uBlock Origin available for Chromium based browsers and Firefox

 

Hope this helps!  :wink:



#3 Agouti

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 08:00 AM

This is the first hit when I search for "how do advertisers track users across the internet"...  https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/09/online-trackers-and-social-networks



#4 kurtgillis12

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 11:55 AM

Ads can, depending on the type and the way they are served, see anything you can see on this page!
Also previous set cookies (by the same advertising company or group) can be read and altered to obtain a history about your surf behavior...
 
In short: Any ad can see what the webpage you're visiting can see!
A great example is the combo Google Ads/AdSense which can recreate your whole surfing-history because it's "everywhere"!
 
PS: Not all ads are gathering the same amount of data but in theory they can...
 
If you're worried about it use uBlock Origin available for Chromium based browsers and Firefox
 
Hope this helps!  :wink:


Very ineresting, thanks!

So that google adsense thing...

Does that mean any ad company on adsense can take the cookies I get from, say, youtube? Would these cookies actually reveal the fact I searched for dogs? Or just that I was on Youtube?

Trying to get a clear understanding, thanks!

#5 Guest_GNULINUX_*

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 02:50 PM

...

So that google adsense thing...

Does that mean any ad company on adsense can take the cookies I get from, say, youtube? Would these cookies actually reveal the fact I searched for dogs? Or just that I was on Youtube?

Trying to get a clear understanding, thanks!

No, the ad company can only view/alter their own cookies but they know you were on YouTube because they know when and where their ads are viewed and/or clicked. Via their AdSense Account they get additional data such as: how long you watched the ad, the search term used to get that ad, your country based on IP...

 

The real problem is when you are logged in to your Facebook, Twitter (or what ever) at the same time. If that same Ad Company has ads on these services they can start combining data and get a pretty good picture of who you really are and what you're doing.

 

Example:

Now image that the search engine you use (Google search), the site you visit (YouTube), the Ad Company (Google Ads) and the Tracking Tool (AdSense) are all owned by the same company... and you have the biggest tracking service on the internet... it's called Google!

The same thing happens for Facebook, Facebook Ads and that thumb you see everywhere...

 

The article that Agouti mentions shows why you should block as many "requests" as possible and that the real problem is the tracking over multiple different websites!

 

Hope this helps!  :wink:


Edited by GNULINUX, 19 April 2016 - 02:53 PM.


#6 a.h.h.10

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 05:16 PM

Ads can, depending on the type and the way they are served, see anything you can see on this page!

Also previous set cookies (by the same advertising company or group) can be read and altered to obtain a history about your surf behavior...

 

In short: Any ad can see what the webpage you're visiting can see!

A great example is the combo Google Ads/AdSense which can recreate your whole surfing-history because it's "everywhere"!

 

PS: Not all ads are gathering the same amount of data but in theory they can...

 

If you're worried about it use uBlock Origin available for Chromium based browsers and Firefox

 

Hope this helps!  :wink:

 

I have a question for you - I use AdBlock Plus. Does it do the same thing as uBlock Origin?



#7 kurtgillis12

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 07:07 PM

...
So that google adsense thing...
Does that mean any ad company on adsense can take the cookies I get from, say, youtube? Would these cookies actually reveal the fact I searched for dogs? Or just that I was on Youtube?
Trying to get a clear understanding, thanks!

No, the ad company can only view/alter their own cookies but they know you were on YouTube because they know when and where their ads are viewed and/or clicked. Via their AdSense Account they get additional data such as: how long you watched the ad, the search term used to get that ad, your country based on IP...
 
The real problem is when you are logged in to your Facebook, Twitter (or what ever) at the same time. If that same Ad Company has ads on these services they can start combining data and get a pretty good picture of who you really are and what you're doing.
 
Example:
Now image that the search engine you use (Google search), the site you visit (YouTube), the Ad Company (Google Ads) and the Tracking Tool (AdSense) are all owned by the same company... and you have the biggest tracking service on the internet... it's called Google!
The same thing happens for Facebook, Facebook Ads and that thumb you see everywhere...
 
The article that Agouti mentions shows why you should block as many "requests" as possible and that the real problem is the tracking over multiple different websites!
 
Hope this helps!  :wink:

Everything you say makes total sense to me, except one tiny thing.

How does adsense know the search query used to get to the ad? I understand that if you click the ad, adsense would show a referral url, which would contain the search. Is that what you meant?

How could they get that if I only view it? Do they just automatically receive every url their ad is displayed on??

#8 Guest_GNULINUX_*

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 05:29 AM

I use AdBlock Plus. Does it do the same thing as uBlock Origin?

Yes, more or less but I prefer uBlock Origin because it's lighter on resources and more configurable. It also has some additional (privacy) features that I like.
 

How does adsense know the search query used to get to the ad? I understand that if you click the ad, adsense would show a referral url, which would contain the search. Is that what you meant?
How could they get that if I only view it? Do they just automatically receive every url their ad is displayed on??

First of all the Ad Company always get the search term (for their almighty keywords and SEO) through their AdSense Account, it doesn't matter if you click the ad or not. AdSense monitors the whole page but (luckily) not all the data is passed on to the Ad Company, Google does some filtering...
If you click the ad the Ad Company can see the whole referrer, in that case there's no need for AdSense to get all that data because they have a direct connection with you, their own monitoring system does the work...
 
Even ads that are placed directly on pages, typical example is affiliate ads on blogs, have their own tracking system... Although their tracking is more depended on cookies and the actual click on it.
 
Don't go all crazy about it... it's the modern internet, big $$$ involved...
Block as much tracking as you can (start with blocking third-party cookies and use an ad-blocker) and surf happy and safe!
 
If you want to go further there's always Tor, VPN's and different browsers for different activities!
The tracking doesn't stop but at least you get some sort of (pseudo) anonymity...  :wink:
 
Greets!



#9 Agouti

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 07:49 AM

I have a question for you - I use AdBlock Plus. Does it do the same thing as uBlock Origin?

https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock/wiki/uBlock-vs.-ABP:-efficiency-compared

https://www.maketecheasier.com/ublock-origin-better-than-adblock-plus/

http://www.idigitaltimes.com/adblock-plus-vs-ghostery-vs-ublock-origin-not-all-adblockers-were-created-equal-488257

http://lifehacker.com/ublock-is-a-fast-and-lightweight-alternative-to-adblock-1625246461

http://www.idigitaltimes.com/ad-blocking-adblock-plus-versus-ublock-which-better-440987

https://www.google.com/#q=adblock+plus+vs+ublock+origin



#10 Guest_GNULINUX_*

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 08:35 AM

Agouti: Very good info for the TS and everybody else!  :thumbup2: 

 

And before anybody asks why I didn't mention Google Analytics which is interwoven with Google Ads and AdSense...

First of all to not make things more difficult than they already are!

Second because it's just one of the many tracking solutions although I'll admit it's probably the biggest and most used!

 

Another very good read (from 2012) about those many other trackers:

TOP 100 WEBSITES: HOW THEY TRACK YOUR EVERY MOVE ONLINE

The irony: uBlock Origin seems to be very useful on that site!

 

Greets!






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