ACB got yer number? An Internet Privacy Rant.

TL:DR -> go Here, go to bottom, select all, opt out. Peter Frank Makes Bank.

Today, I was browsing the internet, looking for an article of clothing to buy myself for my birthday. I visited two websites of people that make clothes. Shortly thereafter, I visited the ACB. I noticed, to my surprise, that the banner ad was for one of the brands I had just visited.

Clicking through to a stupid argument about israel, I noticed that the banner ad had changed to another of the brands I had visited. Both are fairly obscure and do not have large enough advertising budgets to buy blanket banner ads. Poking around in the ACB’s HTML-cave, I found out they use both google analytics and Quantcast. Essentially, they track you around the internet and extrapolate harmless data from you. Like whether you’re black, how old you are, whether you attend college, how much money you make and what brands of clothing you like.

Quantcast is unique in that they essentially tell you the aggregate data they’ve gathered from a site. I recommend going here and taking a good long look at this. http://www.quantcast.com/collegeacb.com

Not that we should be especially freaked out by such things – this is, after all, what pays for the internet – but I guess I just felt a little violated having my recent browsing habits thrown back into my face so brazenly. A few of the more responsible advertisers, including both Google and Quantcast, offer a way for you to opt-out of them collecting information on you. (ironically, this comes in the form of a cookie)

Visiting this site will tell you how many companies are gathering data about your browsing habits and allow you to opt-out of them. (at least if/until you clear your cookies at which point you will have to visit and opt out of all of them again.)

Again, I’m not sure why I care about this, but i feel like someone’s been looking up my skirt or something.

EDIT: an astute reader has corrected me. The actual advertising provider does not offer an opportunity to opt-out of their rapeyness. Suggest installation of AdBlock Plus and verification that *.reduxmedia.com/* is on the blacklist. Nevertheless, the analytics thing is creepy enough.

14 thoughts on “ACB got yer number? An Internet Privacy Rant.

  1. anon

    What I do find interesting from the analytics are the following statistics:

    The 35-50+ age demographic comprise 35% of viewers.

    “Has Kids” is 37% of viewers

    Bad news: you’ve got lurkers.
    Worse: they’re your parents.

  2. anon

    What I do find interesting from the analytics are the following statistics:

    The 35-50+ age demographic comprise 35% of viewers.

    “Has Kids” is 37% of viewers

    Bad news: you’ve got lurkers.
    Worse: they’re your parents.

  3. anon

    You’re peeved because the collection of what you admitted was harmless data allowed advertisers to serve you advertisements more pertinent to your actual interests?

    Is it just me, or wasn’t this sort of what the internet was supposed to do? How is this not an upgrade to be listed in the pro column? I for one am tired of being lumped in with the incontinent elderly when watching late night television.
    More than that, it’s helping fund the very site you are obviously enjoying, since your eyeballs are still on the screen to see these ads.

  4. anon

    You’re peeved because the collection of what you admitted was harmless data allowed advertisers to serve you advertisements more pertinent to your actual interests?

    Is it just me, or wasn’t this sort of what the internet was supposed to do? How is this not an upgrade to be listed in the pro column? I for one am tired of being lumped in with the incontinent elderly when watching late night television.
    More than that, it’s helping fund the very site you are obviously enjoying, since your eyeballs are still on the screen to see these ads.

  5. info

    Also, Quantcast’s demographic data is not collected from your visit, and Analytics does not have any demographic data.

    Both services directly measure traffic information – visits, pageviews, bounce rate, etc. That’s what those javascript tags you found enable.

    Quantcast indirectly measures demographics by surveying a volunteer “user panel” and extrapolating the results – much like how Nielsen provides television ratings.

    Here is a post on how Quantcast acquires demographic information for sites such as CollegeACB and what they do with it: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/quantcast_demographic_search.php

  6. info

    Also, Quantcast’s demographic data is not collected from your visit, and Analytics does not have any demographic data.

    Both services directly measure traffic information – visits, pageviews, bounce rate, etc. That’s what those javascript tags you found enable.

    Quantcast indirectly measures demographics by surveying a volunteer “user panel” and extrapolating the results – much like how Nielsen provides television ratings.

    Here is a post on how Quantcast acquires demographic information for sites such as CollegeACB and what they do with it: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/quantcast_demographic_search.php

  7. info

    Sorry if this is a double post, previous entry did now show up after I clicked submit…

    Quantcast and Analytics are pure measurement services; scroll down to the actual ad placement and you’ll see that the true villain engaging in behavioral targeting is CollegeACB’s ad network, Redux Media.

  8. info

    Sorry if this is a double post, previous entry did now show up after I clicked submit…

    Quantcast and Analytics are pure measurement services; scroll down to the actual ad placement and you’ll see that the true villain engaging in behavioral targeting is CollegeACB’s ad network, Redux Media.

  9. Braille Post author

    nah, this is just filed under the general eeriness of machine-optimized advertising. totally non-unique to ACB

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