Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
After visiting major online computer and electronics retailers' websites, I find that they have tracked items I looked at, combined with my computer's browser settings or web address and then displayed these items as pop-up ads in my other browser pages. I believe something from the computer store website has inserted spyware into my IE9 browser settings and I refuse to trust any spyware. If I increase the security settings, many sites I need to visit no longer function. I have pop-up blocking enabled and expensive anti-virus working, but this is circumvented. I can individually block the sites, but how or what can remove their new spyware from my computer?
In this excerpt from Answercast #42, I look at that scary feeling when you visit one site and then encounter ads for those same products on another. Don't worry – it's not spyware.
My friend, you are not seeing spyware. What you are seeing is termed in the industry "remarketing."
What it means is that you have visited a site that uses an advertising service from one of several companies that do that.
I will use Google's AdSense, or AdWords, as the example here. What it boils down to is:
You visit a site;
And yes, they leave a cookie on your site
It may say, I visited site X.
Now, when you go to other websites that happen to use the same advertising partner, they may elect to show you ads related to the sites you've been to before.
As a concrete example, I will often visit the website of the hosting company that I use, LiquidWeb.com.
I do that because that's how I manage my servers. It's interesting because then, gosh, it seems like for days, on completely unrelated sites, I will end up seeing advertisements for LiquidWeb.
All it really means is the advertising network has noticed that this computer, not you as a person, but that computer happens to have visited a site that is an advertising partner. Then they assume from that, that "OK, maybe this computer, the person behind this computer, has an interest in whatever that advertising partner has to offer."
That's all it is. It is not spyware on your machine.
There's nothing you can do about it without going and getting an ad blocking solution – which of course, being an advertising supported site, I cannot support using ad blocking technology.
But that's about it.
I know that it freaks some people out, and kind-of understandably so. But ultimately, there's really nothing underhanded going on here. There's nothing nefarious going on here.
To use your terminology:
Next from Answercast 42 – Will my backup work if I replace my motherboard?
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