Personalised custom eBay ads displayed off eBay

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When browsing YouTube yesterday I noticed that they were not only serving up eBay related adverts, but that the adverts related to the type of products I sell on eBay. In particular they were offering a laptop docking station which is typical of the items I have for sale.

Some investigation reveals that it was no random chance I was being shown relevant adverts, they were specifically targeting me with the products I could be interested in based on my activity on eBay.

The advert in question was served by Criteo and they have a help page explaining how technology enables them to display targeted banners that may interest me based on my past browsing history. They know that I’ve visited eBay recently and the behavioral advertising is based on a cookie dropped onto my computer when browsing. Deleting the cookie will end the behavioral advertising, I’ll still be shown adverts but they’ll no longer be based on my past browsing history.

eBay do warn people that they have an AdChoice program to enable them to display customised ads that they believe you’ll find interesting. They say that it enables them to “tailor and improve your shopping experience – both on eBay Inc. websites and anywhere else on the web”.

If you want to opt out of behavioral advertising then you can opt out of eBay AdChoice and also use the tool provided by the Network Advertising Initiative to find which NAI member’s behavioral advertising programs you are currently opted in to and if you wish to you can opt out via your Internet browser’s cookies. (N.B. If you use more than one brower such as IE, Firefox, Chrome etc then you’ll need to view the NAI page in all three browsers to check and/or opt out). The opt outs will only remain in force until you clear your browser’s cookies.

The type of products you browse on eBay and the Internet will affect the behavioral adverts that advertising networks display. Whist browsing was once a personal private matter, companies are now tracking what you view and marketing to you based on what you’ve previously viewed. To avoid this either opt out, or open your browser to an incognito or private browsing session which will automatically delete all cookies and tracking information when you close your browser.

7 Responses

  1. Surely there is a differance between what we might Sell on ebay and what we might Buy? If the criteria is our activity does that mean that if you sell a particular product area you will be bombarded with adverts for your competitors? It might be interesting but surely also annoying. I must admit that I find annoying all those little “improvements” that try to “think” for me. I am particularly annoyed when I am typing in for example “tamebay” and the computer sends me somewhere totally differant just because it has decided that that site is where I really want to be and I have to have a second or even third go before it finally gets the message that I do actually know where I want to be. The same goes for when I am browsing I know(usually) where I want to be and the computer should leave me to go there. At least it does not have an annoying female voice telling me where to go(unlike a sat-nav)

  2. Oh i get this on almost every site i go too.
    Small hosted websites are been encoraged to offer ads aimed at things the buyer looked at elsewhere inc ebay
    Sigh

  3. A new version of Adobe Flash 10.3 has been released that addresses Flash cookie security issues.

    You can now choose not to permit Flash cookies.

    Up until now Flash cookies have bypassed the normal browser cookie security options.

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