Bad online behavior

If you don’t know what behavioral advertising is, it’s basically web monitoring that “delivers ads tailored to your Web preferences and usage patterns.” Not necessarily bad, but it’s always done behind your back and usually without your immediate knowledge. Especially when you visit all sorts of naughty websites on a friend’s computer. 😉

For everyone, I recommend you opt out of what online behavioral advertising you can by going here and doing a “Select All” and then “Submit”. It’s definitely not a comprehensive list of companies that do this, but it’s a good bit of them. (Or you could turn cookies off in your browser, but that really limits your overall Internet experience.)

The reason I bring that up is this: I noticed something odd when I did an outbound scan of my website. (I know, it’s a geek thing for me to do that, but I am still part-geek.) This scan is usually something I normally do when I start using a new plugin on my blog. Just so I can see what’s going on in the background. But I failed to with the addition of this last one. My bad in this case.

Doing so, I discovered the plugin is essentially collecting information to send to advertisers to track your browsing movements. After doing some digging, I found that I’m not the only one who has noticed this.

I’m SOOOOOOOO not happy about this. That seriously should have been mentioned in the plugin’s documentation. If it had been, I wouldn’t have installed it. And because it’s not mentioned anywhere, I consider this plugin to be a form of spyware.

That plugin is the AddToAny plugin for WordPress. It’s what makes that little “Share / Save” thingy at the bottom of this (and every) post possible:

For bloggers who are using AddToAny, there is a way to disable this “functionality”, albeit I had to dig really deep to find it. For those of you using the AddToAny plugin, you can disable this sneakiness by adding the following to the the “Additional Options” section of the plugin:
a2a_config.no_3p=1;

The funny thing is, I’m not even sure if anyone is even using the feature’s that this plugin provides, so I just removed it altogether.

Until next time...
Erik

8 thoughts on “Bad online behavior

  1. I never click on that widgety crap on people’s sites and have never had it on my blog. I don’t trust ANY of them. Even the established players like Facebook and Google who are (most likely) harmless are STILL using people for traffic clicks to ads. I just don’t get the thinking behind it all from an end-user perspective.

    1. I’m actually not sure why I added it in the first place, other than just an easier option for sharing with others. I guess copy-and-paste is still the best way. That’s what I get for trying to be helpful.

  2. All I understood was “blah blah blah Ginger!”

    It’s a good thing I don’t click on any of those Glade plugin things

    1. Good “Far Side” reference. 😉

      And you didn’t even have to click on it. Just going to a web page that has one triggers the unwanted behavior. That’s why I recommend everyone visit that opt-out site.

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