Their current Adsense ads show advertisements that are based on the content of the site on which the ads are shown. For example, on this site the ads might include F1 race tickets or karting companies. Google’s new Interest-based ads will show ads based on websites that the person has previously visited. So, when someone visits a site that contains Google ads, Google assumes that the person is interested in the content of that site and records that person’s interest in it. When that person visits another site with Google ads, Google will show ads based on the database of what Google considers interesting to that person.
This sounds like the Phorm (AKA Webwise) privacy scandal that BT and other ISPs got into before. Basically, they installed equipment an advertising company’s equipment that monitored websites their customers visited, and served adverts related to those previous websites. The Information Commissioner (Data Protection Act) and the EU law enforcers were concerned that privacy was being breached. It seems that BT (and maybe Virgin and TalkTalk) are going to introduce this spyware-like technology at some point in the future.
Quite simply, this whole thing worries me. It sounds like spyware. After all, people’s browsing habits are being tracked without their express permission, and that to me is spyware. So, come 1st April, my site will no longer be showing Google ads. That leaves more space for me to add things that my visitors actually want to see.
Comments welcome, for or against.