Who is Grabbing Your Data from Websites?

So this post is entitled “Who’s Grabbing Consumer Data from Publishers?” by AdAge but let’s be clear here what they mean is your data from most websites.

Consumers may not know how the world of web advertising works but pretty soon thanks to concerted efforts by the IAB in the UK and advertising campaigns by EDAA due in the summer they should be a bit better informed. In the meantime information is out there but it is on trade and industry blogs and news sites like AdAge.

For most consumers it’s a confusing world that’s hard to understand with company names they have never heard of and know little about. It’s always been one of the challenges of the AdChoices initiative, consumer education is key but enabling opt-out of tracking only works when you know who is tracking you. As can be seen below many of the trackers drop additional trackers so there is a daisy chain of third parties involved and likely only one initial relationship with the website you are actually visiting.

I should disclose here that I work for AOL Advertising so many of the companies we own drop cookies for this kind of tracking, it’s nothing sinister and we don’t want to know you as an individual, we simply want to group people together to package up as an audience.

So as they say in the TV adverts here’s the science bit;

Tracking tags are bits of code that enable ad serving, site analytics, audience-segmentation, and social sharing tools on websites. In other words, tags are what make the web tick. By the end of last year there were nearly 1,000 different tracking tags floating around the top 500 websites. That was over 50% more than the 645 unique trackers found in the first quarter of 2012, according to Evidon.

Evidon’s analysis of tracking tags for FoxNews.com. See links below to launch an interactive version of this chart for one dozen popular websites.

Those tags are pretty active, too. In many cases, one tracking tag installed directly by a site publisher might spawn others, and those still additional tags, and so on. Publishers and other data providers don’t always know whether tag spawning leads to the dissemination of actual consumer data gathered on their sites, or if it is merely part of the cookie-syncing process performed to match a cookie ID in one system to an ID in another for ad targeting purposes.

via Who’s Grabbing Consumer Data from Publishers? | DataWorks – Advertising Age.