Google Opt Out is Bullshit

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in Awake | Posted on 20-04-2012

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Google is lying to you. You CANNOT opt out of their spying on you.

While you may think that you can, check this composite screenshot…

Google opt out is bullshitYesterday I posted with the word “Filipino” in forums that use Google “Analytics”. That is the only reference, and I never visit any sites related to the Philippines or any dating sites or anything that could remotely trigger that ad, except… for the post you see in the screenshot above.

I have the “Google Analytics Opt-out Add-on (by Google)” installed. The description for that is:

Tells the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js) not to send information to Google Analytics.

To provide website visitors with more choice about how their data is collected by Google Analytics, we have developed the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on. The add-on communicates with the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js) to indicate that information about the website visit should not be sent to Google Analytics.

Do I think this is a bug? Unlikely. I don’t believe that Google is that incompetent. Google has lots of smart people, and if they put out a product, you can probably count on it working as Google intends it to work (or not work as the case may be).

So, let’s run over that real quick…

  1. I have “Google Analytics Opt-out Add-on (by Google)” installed to block Google Analytics.
  2. I post 1 reference to “Filipino” in 1 thread at a site that uses Google Analytics. (here)
  3. I get served ads that are directly targeted at the keyword “Filipino”.

To be clear, I have not seen ads like that served to me before, and it stuck out to me because I’d just posted the word “Filipino” which otherwise isn’t remotely relevant to me. Also, they use cute models! 😛

The thing here is that the likelihood of being served THAT ad is virtually zero unless there’s some targeting behind it. As I’ve “opted out” of Google Analytics, and am still be targeted, it seems obvious that I didn’t really opt out, and that Google is flat out lying to people.

Oh, and by the way, just below the dating ad there is a baldness ad… And I visited a news story on baldness just the other day. That site also use Google Analytics. I NEVER look at anything remotely related to baldness. So I know damn well that it was that exact article that triggered the ad on YouTube. Here’s a cleaner view of just those 2 ads:

Filipino baldWhat are the chances? Zero.

There are 2 highly targeted ads there that are specifically targeting me for pages that I have visited inside of the last 24 or 48 hours. Nah… There’s no coincidence here.

Google is lying to you about allowing you to opt out. You can’t opt out. There is no opt out.

Cheers,

Ryan