Online advertising is a trillion dollar industry. It is arguably the life blood of the internet and the fuel for almost all of the web’s most popular destinations.
Google alone is valued at nearly $400 billion and the vast majority of that is from online advertising through its AdWords platform. Facebook, Twitter, and most other search engines are also backed almost entirely by the advertising revenue they generate.
If online advertising were to disappear tomorrow, most of the internet as we know it today would disappear with it. Except maybe Wikipedia.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see why all of these online advertisers want to know as much about who they’re advertising to as possible. The more they know about their potential customer, the more they can tailor the advertisements you see, the more likely you are to buy what they’re selling. Knowledge is power.
If you’re like me, you’re not really comfortable with these organizations keeping track of everything you’re doing online. Especially when these organizations have been known to sell off information they’ve collected to overzealous government agencies and other even less scrupulous people and organizations.
Today I’m going to show you how to very easily block the vast majority of online advertisers and other groups that want to track you from collecting your data.
We’re going to use a browser plugin called Ghostery to accomplish this task.
According to the Ghostery website, “Ghostery has the largest tracker database available on the web. We meticulously select, profile and cull over 1,900 trackers and 2,300 tracking patterns.”
Ghostery acts as a kind of blacklist against online tracking, preventing online trackers them from seeing what websites you’re visiting.
Note that this won’t stop your ISP from seeing what you’re doing, though, so you’re not anonymous. You’re just not being tracked by advertisers.
Downloading and installing Ghostery is very simple. Just visit the Ghostery download page and install the plugin for your browser.
The next time you open your browser you’ll be asked a few questions about what kind of tracking you want to block. If you’re unsure, you’re probably OK to select everything. You can also unselect it later.
That’s it, you’re now virtually invisible to online advertisers and other trackers!
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