Yahoo launches ad privacy tool; Here's what it has on you

Yahoo launches ad privacy tool; Here's what it has on you

Summary: Yahoo released a beta of a tool, Ad Interest Manager, designed to be a transparent user dashboard for privacy. It works. Yahoo has everything from your surfing habits to your operating system to your screen resolution.

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Yahoo released a beta of a tool, Ad Interest Manager, designed to be a transparent user dashboard for privacy. It works. Yahoo has everything from your surfing habits to your operating system to your screen resolution.

The tool gives users a one-stop shop to opt out of ad categories (statement). As Yahoo notes on its overview:

To make our ads more relevant and useful for you, we make educated guesses about your interests based on your activity on Yahoo!’s sites and services. Some of the ads we show you reflect these interests. You can opt out of interest-based advertising altogether using the tools on this page.

Here's what it looks like:

As noted by Kara Swisher, Yahoo's Ad Interest Manager lands just as the Federal Trade Commission holds hearings on privacy. The FTC on Monday will talk data retention, disclosure practices and targeting. Meanwhile, the Microsoft-Yahoo deal, which was finalized last week, is now up for regulators to review.

Simply put, the new privacy tool will give Yahoo something to talk about with the Feds. However, the tool could be handy. To wit:

  • I didn't know what categories I was lumped into;
  • Seeing my surfing habits in a dashboard was a little creepy even though it's clear Yahoo has all of that stuff anyway (I use Yahoo for three things: Finance, Fantasy Football and Mail);

  • And Yahoo's Ad Interest Manager detailed my IP address, OS, browser, screen resolution, age range and gender. Not sure why, but the fact Yahoo had my screen resolution was a bit odd.

Overall though I appreciate the transparency even if it does seem a wee bit creepy and I'm likely to opt out of some categories.

Topic: Social Enterprise

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29 comments
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  • Yahoo launches ad privacy tool; Here's what it has on you

    As if we didnt know that they already had that info. now they are going to push it in our faces. For the beginer it will insure them thay dont want anything to do with the internet...
    Par-Pro
  • RE: Yahoo launches ad privacy tool; Here's what it has on you

    try taking a look at the document yahoo wants taken down (cryptome) on what kind of "spying" services it is willing to supply the goverment and i willing to bet anyone that will pay it's fee's...... and then tell me that any of this really matters....
    petem@...
  • RE: Yahoo launches ad privacy tool; Here's what it has on you

    SOME PRIVACY! If they have stored all that regarding my use of the Internet, then they have violated my Privacy. Hope the FCC sees all that and clamps down quickly. Probably occuring elsewhere also. There doesn't seem to any Privacy at all when using the Internet.
    willywise
  • IE only?

    Firefox 3.5.5 isn't a browser configuration that Yahoo works with? Wow.

    I mean, if I was using Namoroko (FF 3.6) or Minefield (3.7-4.0), then I could understand. But FF release?
    Bryan Price
  • RE: Yahoo launches ad privacy tool; Here's what it has on you

    Your screen resolution reveals a lot about you, like how
    much you're willing to spend on a monitor for example.
    How long it's been since you upgraded your computer is
    another bit of info marketers would like to know.
    fastboxster
  • RE: Yahoo launches ad privacy tool; Here's what it has on you

    I think its absolutely scandalous how Internet companies can spy on us so freely and intrude on our privacy without any form of punishment. This is a clear breach of our privacy rites and these companies that keep doing this should be fined a lot of money and or even shut down. If someone went through your bins and stole your identity they would be sent to jail and in my opinion this is on the same sort of level. We should be able to browse the Internet securely and without been tracked and spied on. These companies are just as bad as our governments. I understand the terrorist threat and the need to monitor but this can be done without intruding on our privacy rites.
    mickscho@...
    • trash bins

      Once you put something out on the street for the trash people to pick up, any one,even police, can legally go through it and remove what ever they want. So, watch what you throw away.
      pvn@...
  • RE: Yahoo launches ad privacy tool; Here's what it has on you

    Have a look at Belkin Advisor, gives all the details about your computer,and licences and programes, etc
    Google,Yahoo,Bling all these companies have the same sort of access. and hav had for years big deal,In other words dont do it, if you dont want some one else to access it.
    mist27@...
  • RE: Yahoo launches ad privacy tool; Here's what it has on you

    I would imagine that screen resolution would be relevant in the respect that knowing it would allow advertisers to format ads in a more effective manner. As for the amount of information and privacy, they have exactly as much as you give them. If you don't want it out there, don't publish it. This has been a true fact since the dawn of the online world.
    tradergeorge
  • That's what bugs me about Yahoo and Google!

    They give you the opportunity to 'opt out' like they are doing you a big favor. They assume you want all the 'crapware' they have to offer. You should be given the opportunity to 'opt in' and they should stop being so presumptuous.
    Jeshimon
  • RE: Yahoo launches ad privacy tool; Here's what it has on you

    How about a link so we can try it out?
    BillDrew
  • RE: Yahoo launches ad privacy tool; Here's what it has on you

    http://info.yahoo.com/privacy/us/yahoo/opt_out/targeting/details.html
    Haas
    • According to that link...

      I'm already opted out; looks like I made the right decision when I signed up for Yahoo! Groups.

      I made the mistake of using my real name and age there, though. Too much trouble to back out now. I never use my Yahoo! mail because of that. I just login once and a while to see if it has any spam.

      What I would like them to offer is deleting my entire account to start over with. I almost never use Yahoo! because of this, you'd think they'd get it, and realize we WANT anonymity! It would be good for their business if they would wake up!!

      Besides, between AdAware,SpywareBlaster, AdBlock Plus, and MVPS, they ain't gettin' no adds, and few cookies, on by 'puter anyway!! ]:)
      JCitizen
  • what advertising?

    If you talk about something like Google AdWords - no problem - they do not bother and come handy.
    Any other ads are by default "opted-out" in my Firefox with a little help of NoScript and AdBlock.
    I haven't seen any real add for ... heck .. I do not remember when I saw something like ad last time.
    jp7691@...
    • Amen.

      <eom>
      adelacuesta
    • Forgot A Couple

      I use FF with NoScript, Adblock, BetterPrivacy, and Ghostery. Ghostery is great!!
      waldenasta
  • Why is it odd to collect Screen Resolution?

    Odd as in how can they tell what resolution you use?
    Easily done with simple programming.

    Or Odd as in why they will need the resolution?
    So they can design / reformat their current or future webpages to better fit your screen resolution! Besides, the new Yahoo Mail UI recommend a certain minimum resolution for optimal display and doesn't display well on most 10" or smaller Netbook LCD (600 horizontal line is too little). It will warn you when you want to use the new Yahoo Mail UI on a Netbook with only 1024 x 600 resolution.

    So, why it is odd for Yahoo to have your screen resolution?
    SonofChef
    • Good points and..

      one reason I like IE 8 for most surfing, is the fact that IE 8 conforms web-pages to fit and zoom better with HD 16:9 ratio monitor screens.

      However, for email, and forums, I like FF with NoScript,AdBlock Plus, and the automatic spell check built in to the browser.

      I just can't drop good 'ol FF because of that.
      JCitizen
  • RE: Yahoo launches ad privacy tool; Here's what it has on you

    A google search for "Belkin Advisor" generates very little, but did generate urls for "Belarc Advisor". A search at Belkin.com for "advisor" generated nothing. What's the url for Belkin Advisor?
    aspergerian
    • Belarc...

      I'm pretty sure the reference was intended to be Belarc and !Belkin.
      Jeshimon