Anonymous Online Shopping
Has this ever happened to you? You log into an airline site or some online travel systems website, price out your vacation trip to Las Vegas and in a very short period of time you start seeing casino ads every time you go on the internet.
Coincidence? Not at all… you were tagged by cookies while browsing the travel sites and the tracking cookies recording of your internet clicks brings about a barrage of targeted marketing offers.
This happens all too often for my taste so here’s a few pro-active measures you can take to help minimize this type of marketing.
1: Cut the Cookies
In your browser’s privacy settings. Block third-party cookies to make it tougher for marketers to keep tabs on you. While you’re in there tinkering, check the “do not track” request if it’s available. This is the online equivalent of a do-not-call list.
2: See Who’s Watching You
Just visiting a single website, you might pick up dozens of tracking tags that tail you on the web. There’s a “Free” browser extension – Ghostery – that lets you see them and decide which one to delete. For shutting out third party ads, you can also try the Free AdBlock Plus browser extension. Find theses browser add-ons at: (ghostery.com and adblockplus.org)
3: Get an E-Mail alias
Finding you online via your email address – perhaps obtained from one of the many “loyalty” cards we all carry these days – marketers can link your online and offline behavior and solicit you accordingly. The only way to prevent this currently is to setup an email account solely for commercial transactions. Although this may seem like overkill to some, it’s really the only way to protect your primary email address from all the unsolicited offers we see every day. I use an old AOL address for just this purpose and make it a habit to check this account once a week or sooner if I’ve signed up for something I’m expecting an email acknowledgement for.
Ghostery is available for all the major browsers as well as Apple’s iOS
AdBlockPlus was only available for Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Android Smartphones or tablets until just recently. Due to poplar demand there’s now a version for Internet Explorer 32 and 64 bit.
Download the IE versions here: https://adblockplus.org/en/internet-explorer
Note: This release does not work under the “Metro” interface of Windows 8 or Windows RT