Christmas Shopping Without an Ad Blocker Could Cost You · 2018-11-23 17:10 by Susie Concannon
‘Tis the season for discounts, coupon codes, and free shipping. Shopping from the comfort of your couch after your post-turkey nap sounds a lot more appealing than standing in line at the mall during the wee hours of the morning. It definitely beats risking getting trampled or being caught in the middle of a Black Friday brawl. Yet, the punches thrown over the last TV on discount will not be the only fight going on this week. The busiest shopping week of the year means an absolute bombardment of ads fighting for your attention.
These ads are annoying for sure, which is reason enough to block them. But what if you like seeing Christmas ads because you want to score the best Cyber Monday deals? You may want to think twice when you know what’s lurking behind that 40% off banner:
Ads can track you.
Can you imagine if, after your drove by a billboard, it followed you home? That’s what ads are doing online. Sometimes behind those sparkly images are trackers that can creep on you around the internet, even after you leave the website that you saw the ad on. The only tracking that should happen when you’re shopping is while you’re waiting for your packages to be delivered.
Ads can follow you.
Have you ever looked at something online and then noticed ads for that thing mysteriously appearing everywhere else you went on the internet? That’s not a coincidence: it’s retargeting. Advertisers track what you’re looking at and then follow you around with ads for that item. Advertisers like to give the excuse that people prefer ads like this because they are more interesting to you than random ads, but do you really want to be followed around the internet by ads for that singing fish plaque you almost bought Uncle Henry because he still thinks it’s funny over a decade later?
Ads can collect your information.
Those trackers hidden in ads may not only be tracking you:they could also be collecting information about you. The websites you visit and pages you spend time on could give advertisers a ton of detailed info about you like, what brands you like, your political preferences, your hobbies, what devices you use, and where you travel. This all happens without you even knowing it. They should definitely be on the naughty list for this.
Ads can infect you.
Malvertising is the nasty malware that can be hidden behind internet ads that look completely normal. They have even been found on reputable sites, never mind the depths of the internet you’re searching for the perfect stocking stuffers. The scariest part? You don’t even have to click on one of these ads to get infected.
Shop in Peace
The best thing you can do before starting your online bargain hunt is to treat yourself to an ad blocker. Adblock Plus will let you shop in peace and with better peace of mind. And if you can’t find something for everyone on your list, remember that we don’t need a Black Friday sale because we’re always free. You won’t have to wrap us either!