A consortium of national media and marketing associations has developed an online destination where you can opt-out of being targeted by online advertisements designed to track your surfing behaviors. Based on the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising of 2009, the group seeks to educate consumers and hold advertisers accountable for annoying and potentially privacy trampling practices.
Online behavioral advertising is when you visit a page or online retailer and it stores your interests, likes, and Internet surfing habits and that information shows up in other online places. For example, if you visit Amazon.com, locate pricing for a specific product and then visit a totally unrelated news web site, an ad containing your previous search will display. Another example is when you visit a technology site focused on something like System Center and then go to read an article on breaking news, a System Center-related advertisement will show on the page's header banner. It's spooky, for sure, but for smart advertisers, it's a key advantage.
If you're like me and this really creeps you out, the Digital Advertising Alliance's (DAA) Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising web site is for you. Or, if you'd love to just minimize the number of advertisements you are accosted by each day, the new resource should help.
You can drop out to the site, select from a list of participating companies, and opt-out of their targeted advertisements. There's also a nice big button to opt-out of all advertisements at once.
There's currently 84 companies participating including some of the well-known offenders like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.
The opt-out page is located here: Opt out from online behavioral advertising
Ironically, the opt-out page requires that your browser is able to accept third party cookies.