Ad Stalking - Opinions? Good business or bad shady form?

drmike

100% Tier-1 Gogent
Ad Stalking, the process whereby as a website visitor you get cookie stuffed - cookie for site you are visiting put in your browser for long time.  Then later you end up at some other site where they too are tied into same ad network or other javascript bugging which then fires off an ad for place you were earlier.

Best example of this practice: Amazon.   Go look at a crockpot then rest of the day you see Google Ads on other sites you visit for that Amazon crockpot you looked at earlier.

Seems like a smart re-marketing / reminder to buy outreach targeting abandoned shopping carts and windows lookers.   Makes sense where the shopper or perceived shopper pre-qualified on your website by looking at crockpots and later seeing your crockpot ads? Right?

What do folks think of this practice?

What would you think of this being done where you haven't even visited such site (in our example Amazon with crockpot) but instead had visited a site with no relationship but with semi-common topical?
 
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DomainBop

Dormant VPSB Pathogen
This Out-Law article (published on Register.com) on ad-stalking is worth a read:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/01/24/ad_campaign_launched_to_educate_consumers_about_online_behavioural_dvertising/

The relevant (to EU and UK users) passages from that article are:

EU: "Under the EU's Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive storing and accessing information on users' computers is only lawful "on condition that the subscriber or user concerned has given his or her consent, having been provided with clear and comprehensive information … about the purposes of the processing".

UK: "The Directive takes its definition of 'consent' from EU data protection laws, which state that consent must be "freely given, specific and informed". The new laws were implemented into UK law in May. The amended Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations state that website owners must obtain "informed consent" to tracking users through cookies. The UK's Information Commissioner's Office has the power to impose penalties of up to £500,000 on websites that breach the new regulations."

The Digital Advertising Alliance has a consumer ad-stalker opt-out site: http://www.aboutads.info/choices/ (it's beta and slooow) and an info site for consumers: http://www.youradchoices.com/

Opinions?
Ad-stalkers can die :p
 

MannDude

Just a dude
vpsBoard Founder
Moderator
If I had a nickle for every time a DigitalOcean ad played before a YouTube video... I'd have, well, a lot of nickles.

It makes sense from a marketing stand point do try to deliver the most relevant ads to an individual as possible, I'm surprised TV hasn't caught up and done better advertising as well. Cable companies know the demographics of the household, could deliver more relevant ads based on that information. "Single male, age 20-30, income range of this, low income neighborhood." or "Family home, children channels being watched between 4PM and 6PM, high income neighborhood, bla bla". That way I can avoid getting commercials for catheters or tampons when watching TV and homes more likley to have children see more ads for toys and relevant items, etc. Poorer neighborhoods are more likely to eat fast food than higher income neighborhoods, yet TV ads are just thrown in your face with no regard to who you are. I'm sure that'll change in the coming years.

Ads don't really bother me unless they're embedded in content. This goes for websites, media like video (DAMN YOU HULU!), audio, etc. As long as it's non-intrusive, it doesn't bother me that much as long as it's relevant. Since I do a lot of Amazon shopping, I see a lot of Amazon ads and specific items I looked at in the past on other sites. Some trackers I block, some I don't. It just depends.
 

DomainBop

Dormant VPSB Pathogen
Ad-stalking has another name "ad retargeting" and probably the biggest company in the field is AdRoll (who are also the most annoying...daily cold call phone calls and emails...at least until you tell them to go F-themselves :p)

This is the (email) sales pitch they make to merchants and web site owners:

 

My name is xxxx and I work with a company called Adroll. We specialize in display retagerting - When you have customers that are interested in your product and even put it into their shopping cart, but they end up leaving the site without purchasing. That is were we specialize in putting your brand back in front of them to bring them back to your site and complete the purchase. I like how your website is built and I'm hoping to speak with you to see if Adroll's technology meets your goals along with ours. Below is some more information about Adroll.

 

 

 AdRoll, recently named the fastest growing advertising company by Inc 500, is enabling over 10,000 advertisers to execute high performance retargeting programs that drive increased sales.

 

AdRoll is the fastest growing advertising technology company for a number of reasons:


  • Smart pixel technology: easy advanced audience segmentation
  • Facebook retargeting
  • Cross network reach: 200+ exchanges - Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, Facebook
  • Full service account management
  • No minimum spends / no contracts  

 

I know you've got a busy schedule, but many companies in your same industry are seeing enormous successes with retargeting, and I'd love to help you do the same. Please let me know if you have some time to talk about what a partnership between you and Adroll could entail.
 

Thanks,
xxxx
Account Development Representative
and a followup from them after their cold call emails were ignored:


Just reaching out to discover whether or not you were able to take a moment to read through the introduction I'd sent earlier regarding what we do at AdRoll.com?

 

If you have a moment this week, I'd love to talk to you about what we could do for xxxxx via our self-service, dedicated retargeting platform, offering you a 98% reach across the web, including Facebook and please note, there's no contracts, no minimum spending requirements and no start up costs.

 

Don't forget, with AdRoll's 97% client retention rate and 15,000+ advertisers we must be getting results for our clients. Please let me know when would be a good time for us to talk.
No, as a business owner I'm not interested.  One of the main reasons I switched tracking on my sites from Google Analytics to Piwik was to spare visitors to my sites from this type of invasive shit (and unlike Google and Facebook I honor browser "do not track" settings).
 

drmike

100% Tier-1 Gogent
If I had a nickle for every time a DigitalOcean ad played before a YouTube video... I'd have, well, a lot of nickles.
DigitalOcean is using that piece of sh!t AdRoll.

As you can see in DO's homepage source code:


....
adroll_adv_id = "S4BPDI4QWNB57PEKEZSLIP";
adroll_pix_id = "4IDGVTPEAFC4TM2QKYNQ53";
(function () {
var oldonload = window.onload;
window.onload = function(){
__adroll_loaded=true;
var scr = document.createElement("script");
var host = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://s.adroll.com" : "http://a.adroll.com");
scr.setAttribute('async', 'true');
scr.type = "text/javascript";
scr.src = host + "/j/roundtrip.js";
((document.getElementsByTagName('head') || [null])[0] ||
document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0].parentNode).appendChild(scr);
if(oldonload){oldonload()}};
}());
</script>

That slaps cookies in your browser, which later Adroll + other shit ad networks (Google most likely) pick up and read your cookies and say you have one for DigitalOcean site visit you made recently.     So they smack you with ads on other sites.

Any reason you know of as to why DO ads keep appearing for you?  Do you visit DO's website regularly? 

Ads don't really bother me unless they're embedded in content. This goes for websites, media like video (DAMN YOU HULU!), audio, etc. As long as it's non-intrusive, it doesn't bother me that much as long as it's relevant. Since I do a lot of Amazon shopping, I see a lot of Amazon ads and specific items I looked at in the past on other sites. Some trackers I block, some I don't. It just depends.
Amazon appears to employ the very same annoying ad stalking as DO... They seem to use something else to achieve such.  Perhaps an in-house system.

You know how many times a week someone sends me something to look at on Amazon?  Then 20 minutes later, all over the place Amazon product ads firing off on other sites.... happens daily and part of why I block stuff heavily, disable javascript, etc.
 

dave

Member
I don't like it, but it isn't usually a problem for me since I clear my browser cache and cookies (including flash cookies) at least daily.
 

AThomasHowe

New Member
I don't really mind that side of things, I kind of like targeted advertising. I just don't like who else could get the same data for privacy reasons.
 

drmike

100% Tier-1 Gogent
I don't really mind that side of things, I kind of like targeted advertising. I just don't like who else could get the same data for privacy reasons.
Targeted advertising = relevant to your interests.  More appropriately, seeing an ad for pizza that delivers to your address, instead of a place 2000 miles away.

Just because you use web hosting or visit a community like say this one, doesn't mean you should start seeing wonky ads when you are cruising the InterWebs later and on unrelated sites.   That's the crux of what is up and going on in multiple places.  Not here, but other places.   It's not as-if you go to Webhostingtalk get cookied, then go to the WHIR and see ads targetted on cookie for Webhostingtalk.  No it's like you go to a website and they stuff a cookie for a provider they receive cashola from in mass / get paid handily buy / perhaps own in background and then you start seeing ads all over the place for this company who you have never stated an interest in, nor have visited their site.
 

Jonathan

Woohoo
Administrator
Verified Provider
Targeted advertising = relevant to your interests.  More appropriately, seeing an ad for pizza that delivers to your address, instead of a place 2000 miles away.

Just because you use web hosting or visit a community like say this one, doesn't mean you should start seeing wonky ads when you are cruising the InterWebs later and on unrelated sites.   That's the crux of what is up and going on in multiple places.  Not here, but other places.   It's not as-if you go to Webhostingtalk get cookied, then go to the WHIR and see ads targetted on cookie for Webhostingtalk.  No it's like you go to a website and they stuff a cookie for a provider they receive cashola from in mass / get paid handily buy / perhaps own in background and then you start seeing ads all over the place for this company who you have never stated an interest in, nor have visited their site.
This is definitely a shady practice.  We use Adroll and while I hate the concept, it is a reasonable marketing avenue.

Big difference in us and what you're talking about is the only way for someone to get our tracking cookie is by visiting our website.  It would be plain dirty and wrong to have our cookie attached to someone for visiting some 3rd party site.
 
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