Somebody’s Watching Me

 Somebody’s Watching Me Have you ever wondered how online banner ads seem to know that you were coveting that new pair of Jimmy Choo pumps or an SRT Dodge Challenger? Or, have you been curious about how that pop-up ad knew to tell you about a new coffee shop that is virtually down the street from where you live?

Every time you cruise the internet, massive data mining operations are meticulously cataloging your interests so that businesses can send you customized ads. This practice is known as “Interest Based” or “Behavioral Advertising.” Time Magazine recently wrote about “Facebook’s New Ad-Targeting Program,” for instance. Businesses are constantly watching the things you “like,” click, or view online.

BBB has partnered with Digital Advertising Alliance’s (DAA) Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising.  DAA has a focused initiative that allows consumers to opt out of interest based advertising.

As an internet shopper, this means that you now have the power to opt out of online data gathering.

Are you curious about what makes up your online profile? Businesses track your activity and speculate about your preferences by monitoring the types of websites you visit, the apps you have on your phone, as well as your YouTube and Google+ activity.

Google, Yahoo, and Facebook are some of the most popular of the over 100 businesses currently participating in the DAA’s voluntary program.

How to Opt Somebody’s Watching Me Out of Behavioral Advertising: Simply visit the DAA’s website where DAA provides you with a list of participating businesses. The DAA’s website automatically scans your internet browser to identify which businesses are already tracking your activity. Just click the checkbox beside the name of any business you don’t want tracking your internet activity. This gives you the power to control how businesses monitor your online presence.

BBB offers the following tips to help protect your privacy online:

  • Be Cautious: Be careful what websites you visit. Be mindful of what links you click.
  • Read Privacy Policies: Read a business’s privacy policy very carefully. A company may start tracking you the moment that you enter its website.
  • Google Ads: Visit Google’s Advertising Policy to learn more about how to manage your ad settings, what’s being tracked, and how to opt out.
  • Digital Advertising Alliance: Visit this website to opt out of any unwanted internet tracking and find out who is already watching what you browse.
  • Visit to find reputable businesses committed to safeguarding your privacy and advertising with integrity.

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About Alyssa Christian

Alyssa Christian is the Advertising Review Intern for the Better Business Bureau serving Dallas and Northeast Texas. She is a recent graduate of the University of North Texas with a degree in Radio, Television & Film. Her hometown is Desoto, TX.