Most internet users are unaware how the websites trace their activity on the web. Let’s find out the ways of tracking and what they do with all that information.
Every second you spend online, you are giving away your data in voluntarily thanks to… cookies. Cookies are small files that are placed on your computer and allow connecting websites get identifying information about you and your activity on the web. Like Hansel and Gretel breadcrumbs these cookies even trail that sometimes helpful by saving your browsing preferences or showing you relevant information. So everybody knows your name, tastes and interests.
According to recent data, all of top 1000 sites use at least one tracking service. Actually, one tracker is a good case, majority of them uses much more trackers! And we talk here about hundreds of them!
One part of these trackers (which is almost a half of it in figures) apply to ad agencies category. Another part falls into web analytic category. This data is collected for statistical purposes, like web counters, timing, geolocation or cross-device tracking, cross-domain tracking, etc.
Websites like Facebook and Google can track you even when you are not on their websites. If you use your Google login on a third-party site or use a Facebook “like” button on the article, cookies report back to the host site, giving them information on what you are doing.
Actually, recent study found out that Google sees you the 78% of the websites you visit on the internet. All the websites sell this data to sophisticated data aggregators or use it on their own advertising platforms to design targeted adverts just for you. That’s why every time you visit Booking.com or Amazon you might notice advertisings of these companies while you browse the web.
And know the obvious answer why everyone (not everyone, let’s face it) needs it. You see, your personal data and targeted advertisements cost a fortune. Here are some figures – global advertising revenue was $135 billion in 2014.
Apart from cookies, companies can use toolbars, and they might cause more harm than good. Toolbars are add-on programs for web browsers. Usually we associate a toolbar with a standard bar, and all the toolbars have a search box as well as other services like email, weather and messaging. The worst part is that every time you use a toolbar it tracks you and sends this information to a host company. Apart from it, “bad” toolbars can change your homepage and preferred search engine or even cover for inserting malware onto your computer.
We have already listed the most annoying toolbars in the “The Bad, the Worse, and the Ugly Toolbars” article. Getting rid of them isn’t always the easiest task. So if you have faced any problems or want to prevent them, consider installing Fixico.
So obviously tracking online can improve your online experience as in result you might get the things you need, but staying aware of how much information you are giving away is crucially important.