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Author Topic: Does the computer know what ads to put up from the info on my myspace page?  (Read 9193 times)

Offline Simulated

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It's weird. I have stuff about piano, guitar, and Eddie Van Halen.

Then everytime I'm on myspace the sponsered links have something to do with those topics.

Does it know??


 

Offline JimBob

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It called cookies - these are little programs that do many things when you visit a web page - for example cookies allow you to stay logged in to this site. But they can also be written to track everything you do on the web - the sites you visit, the searches you do - everything. You can end up with absolutely NO privacy. The sites that set these cookies can develop a detailed profile of you and store it - and share it with the whole sales effort on the internet - and you cannot do anything about it once the information is out here.

Microsoft is the leading perpetrator of this invasion of privacy - at least I consider it an invasion of privacy - and there is not much you can do about it if you use Internet Explorer.

This is why I started using Netscape when it came out, then switched to the stable development version of this software, Mozilla, and still use Mozilla Firefox as my primary web browser. In this browser you can control what sites set cookies, when sites attempt to set suspicious software or install software. I also pay for good protection. I use Kaspersky Anti-virus that also warns when malicious cookies, such as fishing cookies, are being attempted to be set from a web page.

For more information on what is out there see http://www.allaboutcookies.org/ and search computer cookies on Google.
 

Offline Simulated

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Thank you
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Sorry to contradict you, Jim, but cookies by themselves can't do all that. All they can do is save data that the cookie setter has put in them in the first place; for instance an ID code or username, cookie duration, and things like that.

However, they can be used as a tool to track your browsing on the site that set them. Let's say I have a portal with search engine on my site. When you visit my site I check whether I have already set a cookie on your PC. If I have, then any data I gather from your visit can be added to what I already know about you. I can keep track of your search terms, pages on my site that you visit, ads or links that you click on my site, the site you were on before you came to mine, etc. All that data can be collated to give me a picture of what you like. I can then display ads that fit the profile of you that I have built.

They can also be a very useful method of delivering content by storing the sort of data I outlined in the previous paragraph. So, if you click on a lot of links concerned with geology, I could deliver more content on that subject to the page when you visit. I am, in fact, writing that kind of functionality for my site; but as I have a membership system it will be tied to username rather than using cookies.

Using cookies to track activity on sites that don't have membership is better than using IP addresses as most ISPs use dynamic IPs that change each time you log on to the net.

To track every site that someone visits, or everything they search for, you would need to use spyware of some kind. These will track your every action on the net, and sometimes every keystroke, and send that data back to base. This kind of tracking is very intrusive on privacy and can be used for criminal activity.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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It's weird. I have stuff about piano, guitar, and Eddie Van Halen.

Then everytime I'm on myspace the sponsered links have something to do with those topics.

Does it know??

If you have a profile on Myspace then that can be used to deliver appropriate content or ads.
 

Offline JimBob

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Yet don't cookies allow some site to place some information gathering tracking software on your computer? Especially if Micro$oft web servers and pages are used? The symptoms Simulated describe points to tracking software set by cookies and active server pages.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Cookies are passive; they can only return data they are set with. The only data they can hold are:-

name - the name of the cookie.
value - speaks for itself (often a username).
expire - when the cookie expires.
path - the path on the server where the cookie will be available.
domain - the domain that the cookie is available to.
secure - set if the cookie should only be transmitted over a secure HTTPS connection.
httponly - set if the cookie is accessible only through the HTTP protocol. This means that the cookie won't be accessible by scripting languages such as JavaScript.

There are other data that is set by the user's browser, but you need not concern yourself with techie stuff like that.

As you can see, there is nothing there that can track your activities.

If you want to know everything there is to know about cookies, visit this site:-
http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc2965
« Last Edit: 16/03/2008 09:08:25 by DoctorBeaver »
 

Offline Simulated

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Thanks you two :)
 

Offline Karen W.

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Something I noticed is my Gmail account is that if in my mail I am discussing weather or valentines or love or medicine.. etc.. my Gmail puts up adds that relate to the subjects and contents of my mail! It is weird,, at first I thought wow what a coincidence..but alas.. tis not a coincidence! LOL! It picks words from your mail and pulls things that it feels are appropriate topics for my interest! LOL!
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Karen - lots of email services do that; so do some forums. When you write an email or post a reply, the software scans what you've typed looking for keywords then directs ads at you based on those keywords. It's very easy to do. I don't know whether any sites do the same with IMs, but the method is the same.

Incidentally, go into your SPAM folder in Gmail and look at the link just above where the emails are listed. I get a link to Spam recipes!
 

Offline techmind

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Many "sponsored links" on the web are provided by Google AdSense (although there are others in the business). When a webmaster chooses to run AdSense ads on their site, whenever someone views that webpage Google is called by a piece of JavaScript on the webpage and provides the ad-box on-the-fly.
The very first time that Google is asked to provide ads for a page, it initiates a "crawl" - that is, it queues a "bot" (from robot) program under Google's control to "visit" the web page and analyse its content. (This is similar to, but separate from, the process by which Google analyses pages for indexing).
When users subsequently visit the web page, Google supplies adverts based upon its previously-obtained analysis of the page and the geographical location of the person viewing the page.
On webpages, Google's AdSense ads are not selected based on any history of the user's browsing or interests (...which could get embarrassing!) but are based solely on the serving webpage-content and geolocation of the user (or their proxy-server).

Owing to the way that Google uses a cached copy of the page for keyword-matching, if big changes are made to the content of a web page it may take several days (or even a couple of weeks) before the adverts catch up.


The display of AdSense ads is no way reliant on the use of cookies on the user's browser. On the other hand, every page displaying AdSense ads which a user visits will result in a connection to Google (to generate the ads), which means that potentially Google (or other ad provider) could collect more data on an individuals' browsing habits, especially if they do use cookies (the cookie can be used to attach a globally-unique identifier to a given user). Then again, if most of your web-browsing starts from Google, or especially if you use the Google (or other) Toolbar - then an awful lot of information on your surfing habits probably gets sent back to the toolbar provider anyway.
« Last Edit: 17/03/2008 17:55:23 by techmind »
 

Offline Karen W.

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Karen - lots of email services do that; so do some forums. When you write an email or post a reply, the software scans what you've typed looking for keywords then directs ads at you based on those keywords. It's very easy to do. I don't know whether any sites do the same with IMs, but the method is the same.

Incidentally, go into your SPAM folder in Gmail and look at the link just above where the emails are listed. I get a link to Spam recipes!

LOL.. Thats funny I never noticed that.. I remember when I first saw it and was in awe... thinking wow how do they do that.. Then me friend explained.. I was embarrassed as I had never seen it before.. LOL!
 

Offline Karen W.

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Many "sponsored links" on the web are provided by Google AdSense (although there are others in the business). When a webmaster chooses to run AdSense ads on their site, whenever someone views that webpage Google is called by a piece of JavaScript on the webpage and provides the ad-box on-the-fly.
The very first time that Google is asked to provide ads for a page, it initiates a "crawl" - that is, it queues a "bot" (from robot) program under Google's control to "visit" the web page and analyse its content. (This is similar to, but separate from, the process by which Google analyses pages for indexing).
When users subsequently visit the web page, Google supplies adverts based upon its previously-obtained analysis of the page and the geographical location of the person viewing the page.
On webpages, Google's AdSense ads are not selected based on any history of the user's browsing or interests (...which could get embarrassing!) but are based solely on the serving webpage-content and geolocation of the user (or their proxy-server).

Owing to the way that Google uses a cached copy of the page for keyword-matching, if big changes are made to the content of a web page it may take several days (or even a couple of weeks) before the adverts catch up.


The display of AdSense ads is no way reliant on the use of cookies on the user's browser. On the other hand, every page displaying AdSense ads which a user visits will result in a connection to Google (to generate the ads), which means that potentially Google (or other ad provider) could collect more data on an individuals' browsing habits, especially if they do use cookies (the cookie can be used to attach a globally-unique identifier to a given user). Then again, if most of your web-browsing starts from Google, or especially if you use the Google (or other) Toolbar - then an awful lot of information on your surfing habits probably gets sent back to the toolbar provider anyway.

So thats why it pulls medical terms also.. whilst I try to research my medical problems.... interesting...
 

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