Why you see invasive targeted ads based on your web browsing

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I recently viewed targeted ads on Facebook for the exact product from the exact store I bought it from 15 minutes previously. It happened with my wife on NBCnews.com a few minutes later. It fed her an ad for something she had browsed on Amazon minutes before. This is creepy. And stupid.

Why would you want to see an ad for something you just bought? Advertisers are getting screwed by advertising networks who, instead of serving up intelligently targeted non-intrusive ads, feed ads of what a web surfer has just looked at or purchased. They deliver the same ad over and over too. I’ve been on web pages with the same ad in two places for something I’d just looked at elsewhere. Wow, that’s really effective advertising and certainly won’t alienate the consumer, will it?  Since these slimy advertising networks screw their own advertisers the obvious question is, what other sleazeball things are these parasites doing with our web browsing history?

Digital Trend explains how this obnoxious ad targeting works on Facebook (and elsewhere)

The advertisers interested in buying ads on Facebook install tracking cookies on your browser, so that they know what you’re surfing online. Then, when you log back onto Facebook, the advertisers target you with the ads they just bought, which are customized to reflect the Web browsing you were just doing. If you want to give yourself an aneurysm, check out this visual of how FBX works [at the top of this post].

One way to cut way down on this invasive garbage is to set your browser to delete all cookies when closing the browser or manually delete all cookies every couple of days. Blocking third party apps would also help. However if you do so you’ll find various things, such as social networking widgets like bitly, stop working.

So, delete all your cookies on a regular basis and you’ll find most of the ad tracking stops. Then use CCleaner  every week or so to delete temporary files of all types from your computer. Deleting all cookies means some websites will no longer know certain settings so you may need to login in again. However, that’s a small price to pay to get more privacy on the net.