Print 17 comment(s) - last by jlazerus.. on Aug 10 at 8:53 PM

Search giant lets consumers receive generic advertising instead

Beginning at the end of August, Yahoo! users will be able to opt out of the company’s targeted, behavioral advertising system on both Yahoo! properties and third-party websites that use the company’s advertising network.

“Yahoo! strongly believes that consumers want choice when customizing their online experience and they have also demonstrated a strong preference for advertising that is more personally relevant to them,” said Yahoo! privacy head and policy VP Anne Toth in a press release. “However, we understand that there are some users who prefer not to receive customized advertising and this opt-out will offer them even greater choice.”

Users already have the ability of opting out of “customized” ads on and this new option will extend that choice to reflect websites outside the Yahoo! stable.

Yahoo! says it added the choice in response to an ongoing congressional inquiry into behavioral advertising – that is, tracking users around the internet in order to build an advertising profile from their activities – of which critics have raised privacy concerns.

Government regulators initially began their examination of targeted advertising once it became clear that ad networks were collecting staggering amounts of data on web surfers, in order to serve them relevant advertising. Some of this tracking included a record of partnered sites the user had visited, a fact that contributed to the U.S. government’s decision to step in.

An FTC summit into “ehavioral” advertising last November concluded with a dour warning to online advertisers: stop secretly tracking users, or else. Additional rules were suggested earlier this year; however, neither the FTC nor Congress has yet to enact any significant regulation on the matter.

Users who wish to opt out of Yahoo!’s targeted ad program can visit’s privacy center, which Yahoo! says is available at a link on the bottom of almost every page on the site. Despite this availability, however, the company reports that only 75,000 visit its privacy policy page last month, suggesting that only a small portion of visits will actually take the company up on its offer.

Yahoo’s letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee indicates that the opt-out option is cookie-based, so users will need to use the opt-out page each time they use a different computer, or clear their browser’s cookies.

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By 306maxi on 8/9/2008 5:12:34 PM , Rating: 2
"An FTC summit into “ehavioral” advertising"

Spot the typo.

Anyway I think this is a good thing. It can be a little creepy when you're chatting on a forum about something and the ads are relevant to the discussion.

RE: Typo
By FaceMaster on 8/9/2008 5:42:53 PM , Rating: 2
Strange... I've never had ads relevant to the discussion. But then again, I don't know how you could advertise the things that I'm talking about. Ho ho ho.

RE: Typo
By diego10arg on 8/9/2008 6:11:22 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe they wanted to say e-havioral which could be like electronic behaviour... or something like that.


RE: Typo
By HaZaRd2K6 on 8/9/2008 10:04:39 PM , Rating: 2
Just what I was thinking.

RE: Typo
By 306maxi on 8/9/2008 10:21:41 PM , Rating: 2
Ah. You're probably right

RE: Typo
By TomCorelis on 8/10/2008 6:46:37 PM , Rating: 2
That is correct.

Targeted ads = less ads
By Segerstein on 8/9/2008 6:43:15 PM , Rating: 2
Targeted ads mean less displayed/served ads for the same amount of revenue.

RE: Targeted ads = less ads
By GaryJohnson on 8/9/2008 9:01:11 PM , Rating: 3
Or more revenue for the same amount of displayed/served ads.

Selling and Sharing our Emails
By TechGuyCalifornia on 8/10/2008 12:23:42 AM , Rating: 3
Let me tell you, I have a account aka Yahoo and I know for a fact that they sell your damn email to everyone and anyone out there. I have a friend with a very strange nickname, he emailed me, later that week I received a spam email with his exact nickname in the subject of the damn email and it definitely wasn't from him. His nickname is so unique that only someone that would know us would know how to even spell it. I thought maybe it might be a fluke, but no. In addition, I receive so much f'in spam from Yahoo mail it is sick! I have been in the email world since the 80's, so I have the experience to avoid spam, but knowing that these big companies can breach your privacy so easily is not comforting at all. Opting out for this crap is a scam. Anyway, just my opinion...

By audiomaniaca on 8/10/2008 3:04:36 AM , Rating: 2
So do I! Not only email account names, but, something even more weird:

I watch videos on youtube (let's say "beatles"), then I immediately receive an email like this: "buy beatles, etc".

What the hell is going on? Could it be the connection provider?

By cscpianoman on 8/9/2008 11:29:03 PM , Rating: 2
Why not just block them all?

RE: Adblocking...
By lakrids on 8/10/2008 4:59:25 AM , Rating: 2
Truth. To take it up in your own hands is the best way to protect your privacy. I wouldn't ever trust my privacy to companies who lives off of abusing privacy to begin with...
Firfox+AblockPlus+Easylist filter subscription is the way to go for me.

spam for spam ?
By Soulkeeper on 8/9/2008 5:34:44 PM , Rating: 2
sounds like they are just changing the source ....
so basically you can stop receiving spam from X and get it from Y

Google Too
By jtesoro on 8/9/2008 10:18:30 PM , Rating: 2
Google has a page for it too:

However, while I have been able to opt-out of Yahoo's ads, I keep getting an error when doing the same for Google.

Will they stop using the data?
By Arribajuan on 8/9/2008 11:38:19 PM , Rating: 2
You can opt out of receiving targeted ads, but they do not say they will stop using your data to feed the ad engine.

If I will get ads either way and I do not think they will stop using my browsing data, I will just opt for the targeted data since they might even be useful.

By rtrski on 8/10/2008 9:55:30 AM , Rating: 2
...then they should get rid of the damn advertisements all over the webmail client for paying customers of Yahoo-branded DSL connections.

I emailed this when the client changed and got a 'we have to add advertisements to support the client development for the good of all' bullshit kind of 'customer service' response. While I can understand wanting to make revenue off of 'free' Yahoo mail accounts, not like they couldn't TURN THEM OFF for paying clients who just happen to be using the webmail access...just filter by the flipping email domain!!

Then again, I think I heard that Yahoo/AT&T broke their relationship, so perhaps I'm screwed regardless. (sigh) I wish FiOS was available to my home.

Kudos to Yahoo
By jlazerus on 8/10/2008 8:53:57 PM , Rating: 2
Behavioral data is collected. Ads are delivered based on the websites it appears you are interested in. I'd much rather recieve targeted personalized ads which are relevant to me than some generic mass market crap. That era is over.

The government loves nothing more than to pry into the personal lives of the citizenry, and I promise it isn't for benevolent puposes. I find it to be very hypocritical that they think this is their business. Nonetheless, kudos to Yahoo! for being the first of the group of ISPs and search portals to step up and voluntarily allow the opt out.

BTW, this has NOTHING to do with email spam.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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