The Problem with Advertisements
The problem with Advertisements. There seems to be a huge problem with advertisements these days on the Internet. There are a lot of problems that involve tracking online, but this article will be specifically directed towards Advertisements. This article is not meant in anyway to say advertisements are bad, and you should avoid them at all costs. I actually enjoy advertisements while browsing on the web. The web would not exist without advertisements. But, with Advertisements, comes problems. Advertising can be great, it can show you things that are in your interest range, and open up new doors to websites you have never seen. It can show you information, products, movies, television shows, or whatever you like based on your interest. But, it is based on your interests. How do all these Ads know you right when you see them? How do they know what to show you? This is the problem. Many ad networks collect large portions of data on and about you. This may not sounds like a bad thing, as it can enrich your web experience, but myself and others have a huge problem with it. I do not like to be stalked by websites that can predict what I want before I know what I want, and you may feel this way too. Many ad networks big or small will collect data on you. When you go on Google and look up, Galaxy S IV, Google will take that data and store it on your internet profile they created for you. Then, when you go on a website that is using the Google Adsense network, you will see most likely be shown advertisements based around the Galaxy S IV, or ads in mobile phone arena. Or if you go on Google and look up the Windows Phone, if the website is not using the Google Adsense network, it may be using another network. This network will take the data you are viewing and store it in a profile. When you are on another website using that Ad Network, it will recognize you, and show relevant ads to what you were viewing earlier. Now this may not bother some, but it may bother others. The problem is for the ones it bothers, there is no real solution. There is no option to opt-out of these ad tracking, without completely blocking them. Blocking ads hurts every website you go on, hurts the companies, and really hurts the internet overall. As I said, the web would not exist without ads. Should we be forced into these ads, or should we be able to choose who and what collects our data?
Who cares? What do they do with this data anyway?
The problem is what they do with the data. These ad networks don’t just hold the data to themselves. They will sell this information to other ad networks, and/or some networks sell it to whoever wants it. This is called data mining, the process of building databases on us, showing us relevant content, and selling the data they have “mined” on us. It isn’t always as bad as it sounds, but some companies can go rogue with the data. This is my problem with certain Ad Networks. Not all networks do this, only some.
How can we stop begin Data Mined, or tracked?
A lot of people believe that blocking ads stops data mining, and tracking. It does not. Blocking the ad simply gets rid of the “physical” content you see. But it is still mining you in the background. Also, as I stated above, blocking ads is not a good solution. It will make your web experience not as fun, and it hurts the Internets existences. It is easy to block all ads, and go on with your day. But at the end of the day, you are taking away a paycheck from that website you viewed, or a sale that websites are working so hard for. I always out myself in the shoes of an advertiser. Not all ads are run by big Internet Moguls, a lot of ads are just someone working from their house trying so hard to get a sale so they don’t have to work the average 9-5 job, or so they can make their dream a reality.
If this is all good and bad, what are some solutions?
There is no permanent solution to stop tracking, and I doubt there ever will be. You can not escape ads, no matter what you do (not all ads track which is great). One of the solutions I use is a VPN. A VPN can be a high quality paid VPN, or you can use a lower quality free VPN. How will a VPN stop this tracking? It won’t stop tracking, but it will stop individual targeted tracking. You won’t be tracked as a person, you will instead be tracked as a network/server (hundreds of people are on the network, so it is picking up on everyone’s interests on the VPN network. It will also not show who you are, so they cannot data mine you as an individual). You will get raw ads, that you may, or may not like. But I see that as a better option, than having a companies know what I want, before I know what I want. Yes, a VPN is paid. Why should you pay to use the internet? There are many benefits to using a VPN, as seen here. Every human is worth millions of dollars on the internet. You may see that as bad, and begin auctioned off. But, it is actually a good thing. This means you are wanted online. You can pay, $3 a month, protect yourself, and help thousands of companies around the world.
Should I be worried about these companies tracking me? In the end, no you should not. The companies are simply doing their jobs, and helping create a better web experience. But should I be paranoid about this? There is no reason to, it isn’t going to stop any time soon. There are millions of people on the internet every second, there is no reason they are gonna target you maliciously over some ads. Think about ads, and choose the option you want, but always think about the pro’s, and con’s of your choice. Ads are fun, play around with them and see what suits you. Remember you are someones paycheck no matter which option you choose.