back to article Google behavioral ads tap DoubleClick eyeball

So, Google is now using your surf history to tailor online ads to your particular online interests. It's a rather creepy thought, but that's not the problem. The problem is that Google won't say how much of your surf history it's capturing - or how long it plans on keeping this potentially ginormous data hoard. When Google …


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  1. Tom Silver badge

    No cookies for me thanks

    Double click is completely blocked on my computers, have been for years.

    Google cookies are deleted on exit and I don't use any google service that requires a logon (no gmail for me), and my IP is dynamic so there is no way they can link the bits back together.

    If they will not tell me what they are up to then they can stuff their cookies where the sun don't shine.

  2. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Adblock and Noscript.....

    I use these extensively when browsing.

    Google ads, what google ads?

    Doubleclick has been on my shitlist for over a decade due to various attempts to load malware, not that it affects a linux box. :)

    Ditto for most other ad-serving networks.

    For the el-Reg people - breathe easy, I don't block ALL adverts, just most of them.....

  3. Bill Coleman
    Paris Hilton

    Blocking the snoops

    Tom, Alan - that's v interesting... I'm not really up to speed on how to block these guys from my life, so a couple of questions:

    - will adblock type plugins entirely block conact with the add server or will they just prevent the adds being rendered in the browser - if the latter then how to totally block the ad servers... at the firewall level?

    - If i do block from the firewall, are there a range of urls/IPs to block or is there a way to specifically target ad-sense/dbl click?

    and a complete noob question: i don't have a static IP, so without correlating timestamps against ISP data, how could they string it all together? Are we over-reacting, or am I being simple here?

    If i do decide to shut out google from my life, whats a good free full featured email alternative with IMAP & account consolidation? is there one?

    Paris, cause I guess I'm being a little clueless here!

  4. Chronos Silver badge

    Re: Adblock and Noscript....

    I don't get this. It's not as if people like us click through ads anyway. I don't as a matter of principle, that principle being that I already paid for my bandwidth like everyone else and ad brokers don't get to use it without permission. El Reg et al will never lose any money from us since we'd never generate click-through revenue even if the ads were shown. Blocking at gateway level is actually beneficial, AFAIAC, since it saves the webhost sending stuff I don't want, saving bandwidth.

    Anyone who is tempted to take me to task for this really needs to remember the original ethos of "The Internet," which wasn't one of "make money wherever you can." That's a sad reflection of our society that puts greed above altruistic use of resources to further the knowledge of humanity. There really isn't a single "Internet" at all; it's an agglomeration of peering agreements and private networks that have absolute authority over their corner of IP space to accept or deny traffic at whim without it being any bugger else's business - that includes leaf nodes. These companies that try to "monetize" (a horrible term for a horrible practice) this loose association of private networks, along with those who think the world owes them a living would do well to remember this.

  5. A J Stiles

    Easy solution

    Run your own bind, and deflect requests for Google's (and everyone else's) advert servers into nowhere.

    Or, achieve the same effect with entries in your /etc/hosts file.

    You'd think at least one ISP out there would be offering "ad-free surfing" as a paid-for option. (You know who's paying for it; so you give them IP addresses in a different range, which see doctored nameservers and/or a transparent proxy which strips out the obnoxious content.) It's got to be worth an extra tenner a month not to see them, surely?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sorry reg people

    DoubleClick in my "Adblock" filter list.... maybe you should switch to Phorm? :)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Simple. Don't use Google or do use Scroogle

    There are alternatives. It just requires effort and that is what "they" all rely on. If it is too much effort you won't do it. If you do do it you're probably not what they're aiming at anyway. If, like me you're a member of the "foil hat" brigade you'll appreciate we just don't matter to them or, sadly, our regulators.

    Showing by your action that you wont take it is no loss to you, will encourage others and may encourage enterprises/regulators to cater for the disaffected. Wins all ways round.

  8. General A. Annoying

    Devil's Advocate.

    Look at it this way, if you're using Google's 'free' services (Gmail, picasa, search, maps, whatever) then they're using 'your' data to turn a profit. Which, if you think about it, is pretty fair.

    They should, however, make this completely clear and transparent, and no data should be linked to any IP address for any longer than, say 14 days.

    Time to come clean guys.

    Phorm/BT on the other hand, are not going to be operating this model. The user will already be paying BT for their service. Phorm/BT are simply harvesting this info to make MORE money, with no discernible benefit to the users, as far as I can see ('Targeted' or 'more relevant' ads do not, IMO, constitute a "discernible benefit")

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Ain't gonna get me

    I got google and doubleclick cookies disabled and surf with anon proxies. They ain't gonna get me!

  10. Martin

    no google day

    All companies seem to go through a phase, when they get big enough, of forgeting who actually enables the revenue to be generated. Is it not about time we had a 'no google day' or month or year?

    may help get the message across about who is the important stakeholder

  11. Anonymous Coward

    @ Bill Coleman

    "If i do block from the firewall, are there a range of urls/IPs to block or is there a way to specifically target ad-sense/dbl click?"

    Simple solution, make use of your hosts file, see here for some information :

    Still want to use Google without all the tracking etc :

    (dont foget you could aslo use some obscure operating system which parses all the data to a text file which you can veiw in the command line editor of your choice!)

  12. Robert Hill

    Ahhh, more freetard thinking....(@CHRONOS)

    Sure, you paid for your bandwidth - but did you pay for all of the array of ad-funded (not FREE, ad-funded) content on the web? That includes all the free email services, picassa, flickr, YouTube, every news site, El Reg, MySpace, Twitter, Blogger, and the whole lot?

    No, you didn't. Nor did anyone else, at least not with a monthly check or subscription. You continue to think there is a free lunch, that "free" content is really free. No - almost all of it is AD-FUNDED, not free.

    Either accept the ads, or lose the content, long-term. Stop half the ads, or make them less targeted and effective, and lose part of the content. And targeting is a KEY requirement now that click-through rates have fallen so low.

    The problem with so many El Reg readers is that they are trying to make that choice for the general public, without even being honest to the public about the services they will lose...including ones that will never get built because there is no revenue to support it.

    Once again, there is no free lunch...

  13. Maurice Shakeshaft

    @ Robert Hill.

    I've little problem with adverts, even pop-ups which I'll block.

    I have major problems with direct analysis of my browsing habits. Consider the analogy of me walking through an Arcade looking at windows and the Arcade owners fits me with a tag so that they can see were I go. Not a big deal? Until they start selling that data and my address to other companies for mailing purposes. What if the arcade owner then starts to pop up adverts all over the arcade specifically targeting me and leaving them there so that people following me can see what I like. Nah... I'll do without that. Is this what you mean by "Targeting"?

    If Google needs advertising revenue to generate more applications I don't need and won't use then the sooner they go bust the better. If the web becomes more expensive then maybe that is not a bad thing as it might encourage bandwidth economy and service innovation.

    But what do I know.....

  14. A J Stiles

    @ Robert Hill

    If I'm not going to buy the products that are being advertised (and I'm not; advertising a product to me will cost you my business), then there's no point in me seeing the advertisements and I have absolutely no compunction about blocking them. Whether it's recording a programme on TV and fast-forwarding through the adverts, or blocking adverts on the Internet with a veritable arsenal of software tools.

    And if by blocking adverts I'm stopping you from getting money, well, tough titty. Nobody has a right to get paid. I'd like for Severn Trent to pay me for the shite I flush down their sewers, but they won't. You have to do something the people with the money think is worth paying for.

  15. CypherDragon

    @ Robert Hill

    >And targeting is a KEY requirement now that click-through rates have fallen so low.

    And why are click-through rates so low? Because everyone is getting tired of having advertising, promotions, and "product placement" thrown at them every time they turn around! To hear the ad companies, unless everything that you do (including the time you get up to use the loo, what color it was, and how many times you wiped) is recorded, analyzed, and stored in a database indefinitely, then every business will soon be bankrupt and the internet will go dark.

    I wouldn't mind subtle, appropriate advertising on the pages I browse...but I do have a problem with adverts that get thrown in front of the content I'm trying to see (pop-ups and flash ads), surprise me (pop-unders and on-unload popups), are annoying (just about every form of banner ad I've seen), or are malware-laden (a smaller, but still significant, percentage of ads). Until the ad companies figure out some way to serve adverts that aren't intrusive and they adopt very stringent privacy practices (including information anonymazation with a very short shelf-life), AdBlock and NoScript will remain staples to install on every single machine I touch.

    I would like to know, how did businesses every survive, let alone turn profits, before this wonderful ad-machine called the internet?

  16. raving angry loony

    war, and I own the battlefield

    # cat /etc/hosts



    That plus adblock, noscript, and auto-deletion of any doubleclick cookies that might be presented.

    Fuck 'em. It's war, and I own the battlefield. It's my computer, damnit.

    If they had any imagination they'd find a different advertising model. But they're stuck in the TV world of throwing loud and obtrusive and annoying things at peoples eyes and ears in the hopes that something, somewhere will stick. I don't mind (and have even been known to click on) advertising that is unobtrusive and well thought out. I've seen it, I know it exists, but it's damn rare out there.

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