Opt-Out of “Interest Based Ads” from Google and Other Ad Networks

While I don’t consider myself to be paranoid about being tracked around the Web, I still value my privacy. I also don’t like companies making money off of me (unless I’m getting a cut, of course) — and behaviorally-targeted ads have a higher value to advertisers, so DoubleClick (Google’s ad serving platform) and the other networks can charge more money.

So, this is why I “opt-out” of Google’s “Interest-Based Ads” and 28 other ad networks that are members of the Network Advertising Initiative. Conveniently, they have a tool online that allows you to do this fairly easily.

According to NAI:

“The NAI Opt-out Tool replaces a network advertiser’s unique online preference marketing cookie on your browser with a general opt-out cookie. It does not delete individual cookies nor does it necessarily replace other cookies delivered by network advertisers, such as those that are used for aggregate ad reporting or mere ad serving purposes. Such cookies allow network advertisers to change the sequence of ad banners, as well as track the aggregate number of ads delivered (impressions).”

Currently, you can opt-out of the following networks via NAI’s tool: aCerno, Advertising.com, Akamai, AlmondNet, Atlas, AudienceScience, BlueKai, BlueLithium, Collective Media, Dedicated Networks, eXelate Media, FetchBack, Fox Audience Network, Google, interCLICK, Lotame, Media6degrees, Mindset Media, NextAction, Safecount, SpecificMEDIA, Traffic Marketplace, Turn, 24/7 Real Media, Undertone Networks, [x+1] (formerly Poindexter Systems), Yahoo! Ad Network, TACODA Audience Networks, & Tribal Fusion.

You will still see ads wherever ads are served, but you won’t be tracked (usually, “anonymously,” which to me is a bit of an oxymoron). You will need to use this tool anytime you clear the cookies from your browser (you do this occassionally, don’t you?). You also need to do this for every Web browser that you may use. Just because you opt-out in Internet Explorer doesn’t mean that you’ve opted out in Firefox.

Opt-Out with the NAI Tool. There is a security issue that prevents Safari and IE7 users from being able to use the tool in some cases (it deals with third-party cookie permissions). View their FAQ for more information.

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