Part of my business model is providing statistical feedback to my clients and I use regular software which informs me of who opened a newsletter and when, what they clicked on and if they forwarded it to a social network.
However, it is actually very frightening. Your simple surfing behavior is being monitored and the data gathered from lots of users like you is collated and analysed. We are not talking about sophisticated spyware, Microsoft’s Outlook has had a function to monitor when your email was opened for over 10 years. Google Analytics provides you with a free app which gives you details of who visited your site, from which sort of computer or browser, even down to whether they reached you site from a link, search engine or typed URL. tapped phone signs
Have you noticed how the ads seem to be more and more tailored to what interests you and reflect your online shopping behavior? For each advertisement that appears online, someone records the precise moment you click, roll over, or see it. Known simply as “ad tracking”, the practice stems from age-old market research methodology that determines, on several levels, the effectiveness of the advertisement. On the Internet, most ad tracking is accomplished by way of third-party cookies, or pieces of text that, unbeknown to you, become embedded in your Web browser depending on various Web page criteria.
If you disable your cookies completely, you will find browsing on popular sites like Amazon, eBay and Yahoo much more difficult. Also, the ads you will start seeing are of no interest to you.
Some cookies are used to store relevant information such as passwords and addresses, which make life quite convenient and you would not want to delete or block them.
Others. like the ads on Google’s Gmail and Yahoo’s Ymail pick up keywords in your emails and uses them to select ads which will appear next to your emails. The advertisers can select which keywords they will want to trigger the appearance of an ad on your Gmail window.
The good news is that there is also software to enhance your privacy. Some firewalls will help protect you, but they are usually beyond the budgets of the smaller businesses and private individuals. Others like Disconnect, Abine, Ghostery and Reputation have different approaches. Obviously the pricing for such protection increases with its effectiveness and scope.