(Madrigal 2012) I’m being followed

Madrigal, Alexis. I’m being followed: how Google—and 104 other companies—are tracking me on the Web [Internet]. Atlantic Monthly. 2012 Feb 29. Available from: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/02/im-being-followed-how-google-and-104-other-companies-are-tracking-me-on-the-web/253758/. Accessed 2012 Mar 3. Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/65u7i4TqA.

Atlantic senior editor Madrigal explains the basics of the online advertising and tracking industry, and of its deep conflicts with the wishes of consumers, who often wish to avoid having their online behavior tracked. The industry’s opt-out scheme only allows users to opt out of receiving targeted ads—not to opt out of being tracked. Madrigal rejects proposals to end tracking on the ground that he wants to “keep the Internet healthy, which really does mean keeping money flowing from advertising.” He closes by expressing the hope (supported by some recent data) that tracking will eventually be abandoned because targeting is gradually becoming less effective at increasing the selling power of ads.


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