by Iain Wilson
Recently we've had more than a few colleagues and clients comment on the same adverts popping up on the various sites they visit. It's as if these ads are 'following them around'.
The visited sites didn't have anything in common, but still the same adverts kept coming up. In most cases, the individual had clicked on the ad once before while browsing.
Are there sinister adverts following your every move? Well yes and no. What is probably happening is that when you clicked on that advert (probably a Google Adword or similar), the advertiser (Google et al) stored some cookies in your browser. A cookie is just a little bit of data information that can be retrieved in future. It is (or at least should be) non-harmful.
Then when you go to make a search or to another webpage that has Google adverts, the software checks your cookies to see your browsing history and adverts you've previously shown interest in. It then serves up adverts that it thinks would be of interest to you.
Now, you might think that is a little Big Brotherish. Google and the rest of them will argue that they are making your browsing experience more personal. To quote the Google privacy page:-
But, if you want to stop it happening - just go to the options in your browser and get rid of the cookies periodically or use something like CCleaner to get rid of all cookies when you shutdown/startup.comments powered by Disqus