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The hidden secret about online ads: your personal data

Hidden secrets in the cookies for ads

The hidden secret that you may not be aware of regarding ads is the way publishers collect and use your data. This helps them make more money and load your browser with more ads.

How it works

Each time you search for something on Google or access a website, the domain remembers what you searched for or looked at.

Let’s presume you are interested in buying airplane tickets. You visit a website that sells airplane tickets to Luxembourg.

Some pieces of code, called first-party cookies, are stored by the website you access. They will help it remember your language settings, keep the items you put in the shopping cart etc.

So, at this moment, you deal with good, helpful cookies.

But, if you find the tickets you were looking for and buy them, you just trigger the second-party cookies.

These are, in fact, the first-party cookies that are transferred or even sold between partners. In fact, the first company sends data it collected about you, to a second company. This one might sell, for instance, accommodation in the city you chose to fly to with the tickets you have already bought.

Now, the latter will target you with its own ads and will try to influence your acquisition. In fact they try to increase conversion and make you pay some more money.

Third-party cookies fly away with your data

But, the new website lives on a separate domain, with its own first-party cookies. So, it needs a way to connect with the one that sold flight tickets.

In order to identify you, as a buyer, as the same person who purchased a ticket and might need accommodation on different web domains, websites use third-party cookies. They keep the shared visitor ID across websites.

Although the website should inform you what it will do with the data it collects about you using cookies, your data is still away from you.

Funny or annoying?

The system seems to work well, but remember that data about you and your preferences are out there on the web. And things become either funny or annoying.

If you remember when you bought the last ticket to fly from one place to another, you surely also remember that you kept on seeing flights promotions. And that happened even after you completed the purchase, on almost every site you visited. Because they did not know that you already made a purchase.

In the beginning, this might seem funny. But when you keep on seeing ads like these, it becomes annoying.

The struggle around the hidden secret

As more and more people are pissed off with the way ads work and follow them, based on the collected data, big companies try to find a solution. But they are not ready to give up the huge money they earn out of the sales they generate using cookies.

Google, for instance, announced it would kill third-party cookies. But the process might last about two years. By that time, your details are already in the hands of all the important companies.

Meanwhile, the Vivaldi browser started using the new search engine – Startpage. So it is now serving ads without tracking users via cookies. Thus, it gives up hidden secret

This determined Google to start blocking third-party cookies in its newest Chrome version, when using Incognito mode. Now, the company has to face a trial for illegally invading the privacy of users, by tracking their use through its browser set in “private mode.”

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