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Tired of Being Tracked and Bombarded with Ads? Ghostery

I have “do not track” enabled (in Safari, Preferences => Privacy => Ask websites to not track me). Fat chance—ad trackers and advertisers totally ignore this. That setting is all but useless and toothless.

I do not object to a reasonable number of ads on a site that are tailored to that site and relevant to that site. That’s totally fair and appropriate.

But I do object to poor response time, ads that follow me around the web across unrelated sites, a willful crossing of what I deem a “red line”: having ads follow me around the web with trackers that clearly are recording all my online site visits. That is offensive.

Experience anything like this?

  • A certain stock charting web site I was seeing annoying delays, making me wait a second or two for every one of 30 tabs or so, an irritating experience.
  • Products I had looked at on a certain photography store kept following me around on a dozen different other websites.
  • A vast array of ads cluttering some sites, including obnoxious animated ones, including ones resulting from tracking from other sites.
  • On my laptop in the field using my iPhone as a personal hotspot, response time is massively faster for some sites (personal hot spots can have latency issues and tabs can just die). The benefits are HUGE when the signal is at moderate or low strength.
  • And so on.
Ghostery tracker and ad blocker

If this is the Google and Facebook model, it seems doomed because it disrespects customers. I won’t put up with this any more. So I finally installed Ghostery:

  • The stock charting site works instantaneously; it was using a dozen or so trackers, all of which I disabled.
  • The photo products I looked at no longer follow me around on all sorts of other web sites.
  • Most all ads just vanish, cleaning up the godawful mess on some sites..

Because I’m not sure which trackers are the bad actors, they all lose—I just shotgun all of them to disabled using Ghostery. I’d rather be fair, but I am just not going to sort through 13 different ad trackers and half a dozen beacons (whatever those are) just because some ill-conceived site has no respect for my experience.

Now I know that “free” means “somehow has to pay for it” and that means ads are needed. As noted above, I accept that core idea, but not the ugly attempt to practically force me into buying something as well as the eerie feeling of being tracked no matter where I go—unacceptable.

Accordingly, this is justice: an advertiser willing to cross that red line deserves to have their ads become unseen, for tracking to no longer work, etc. Good riddance, my browsing experience is faster and cleaner now with Ghostery. I didn’t ask for the mess, but the red line means I have now cleaned it up in the only way I could.

Chris R writes:

What an excellent recommend that ‘Ghostery’ extension is, installed it on my browsers here and as you say works immediately, speeds the browser up too! .. result! Here’s another good extension you might like, it’s called - SearchLock it prevents Google from storing all your information on search you may do using your browser, you can now keep your searches to yourself - https://www.searchlock.com/about

MPG: I hve not yet tried SearchLock.

Jeff K writes:

I used Ghostery for a few years , I don't like tracking or long page
load times either.

Even though I found Ghostery useful, and free, I just uninstalled the
extension due to it's acquisition by Cliqz!

https://twitter.com/1BlockerApp/status/858578767039651841

Whether I'm right or wrong about this I spent the $10 on 1Blocker after
some good references from like-minded people.

The app is very effective, very fast and customizable with the database
updating over the net so you don't have to update the app.

Keep up your impressive work.

MPG: on the Ghostery home page one will find “Ghostery© is a Cliqz company. Learn more about Cliqz”. Cliqz has an agenda for sure. Its news page says a few things, including “Cliqz GmbH has been majority-owned by Hubert Burda Media, one of Europe’s leading media corporations. In August 2016, Mozilla joined as a strategic minority investor”. Clearly it’s worth paying attention to this area as the acquisition by a for-profit corporation seems at odds with the original mission. The major risk would of course be having a plugin like Ghostery be repurposed for tracking of its own. At this point, I have no position on this matter other than it raises issues I’d rather had not come to pass, and I don’t like rabbit holes and it does what I want it to do for now.

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