other posted in other news  on 10 April 2012
by Andrew Lang 
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Annoying Google Ads that Follow Me

I'm not sure how well the updates to Google's privacy policy are helping deliver more relevant ads on their Adsense platform. Case in point: I visited a competitor's site the other day, and since then, many other sites I visit (that have Google Adsense) have this company's ad appearing. Even on top of youtube videos, I see the ad appear. I close it, watch another video, it appears again. This has been going on for four days now (and is still continuing). It's like the ad that never goes away - unwanted and annoying. Just by myself, I must be driving down my competitor's click-through rate! I think it may even have a detrimental affect on the advertiser as the ads start to become associated with negative feelings. I don't run ad blocking plugins but this kind of thing could make me consider it...

I think the assumption is that because I visited a site, I must want to go back to the site, and the ad acts as a way for me to navigate back to the site. However, they should surely take into account actions you take - such as closing the ad repeatedly on youtube, and never ever clicking on the ad despite it being delivered to me perhaps over a couple of hundred times over four days across dozens of sites and page views. It would be better to vary the ads I see and show similar ads in the same category (web design), but perhaps that's me being too obvious....

I understand as an Adsense publisher myself that website publishers that run Adsense can choose to deliver such "personalised" ads or not. I noticed the following setting was set on my own Adsense account : "Advertisers are allowed to use their audience information to deliver more relevant ads to my site" - since unchecking that option, my Adsense clicks jumped up around 40% over the last two days - I only did this because of the aforementioned annoying ad that stalks me wherever I go, and I didn't want my own sites to annoy my own visitors.

Update 24th May 2012: same ads still following me wherever I go, even though I've visited enough sites now to somehow get new ads to "follow" my browsing. I guess I could clear cookies on the browser to get rid of this, but I don't know exactly which cookies to delete, and don't want to clear all the cookies stored in the browser. This is kind of like 2 months without Google Ads in bizarre way since I'm so blinded to these ads now. Maybe it's time for AdBlock even though I prefer to support sites that make a living from ads (and I did use to click on these ads from time to time....when they were varied).

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