On Ghostery

With all the recent industry fuss over ad trackers, I got responsible and reinstalled Ghostery on my browser, and I activated many of its blockers. This has had several interesting effects.

One is that active tracker blocking is invasive in its own way. I’m creating hardships in my own browsing experience that privacy hard-liners don’t mention. If I block optimization schemes too aggressively, I can break essential functions once in awhile, including a site I manage at work whose navigation is mboxed for Adobe Test & Target tracking. Visiting Monoprice with Ghostery on, I discovered today, gnarls their top nav, too, and their search box disappears. And so on.

Another is the level of awareness that Ghostery creates in the end-user. I know about ad networks and trackers, of course I do, I’ve been in this industry 20 years now. But I didn’t actively think about them all that often.

Then I turned on Ghostery, and I visited copypastecharacter.com, a humble little type-geek website that allows for quick unicode character finding. And in finding my ✔, I also found 87 trackers. Eighty-seven! I no longer wonder what purpose the site serves beyond its builders’ nerdy satisfaction: it’s a robust ad engine. As are many other websites for whom users unwittingly expose their usage details.

The full list, behind the jump, for posterity’s sake.

Copypastecharacter tracking beacons, October 2015

Adap.tv
Adconion
AddThis
Adform
AdGear
Adify
adingo
Adition
Admedo
AdScale
ADTECH
Advertising.com
Aggregate Knowledge
AlmondNet
AppNexus
Audience Science
BidSwitch
BidTheatre
BlueKai
BrightRoll
Chango
Criteo
Datalogix
Digilant
Dotomi
DoubleClick
DoubleClick Bid Manager
DoubleVerify
Drawbridge
Dstillery
EQ Advertising
eXelate
Experian Marketing Services
Facebook Exchange (FBX)
Ghostery Privacy Notice
Google Adsense
Google Analytics
i-Behavior
Improve Digital
Index Exchange (Formerly Casale Media)
Integral Ad Science
Jumptap
Komoona
Krux Digital
Lijit
LiveRail
LiveRamp
Lotame
Magnetic
Media Innovation Group
Media Optimizer (Adobe)
MediaMath
Moat
myThings
Netmining
Neustar AdAdvisor
OpenX
Proclivity
PubMatic
PulsePoint
Quantcast
RadiumOne
Rhythmxchange
Right Media
Rocket Fuel
Rubicon
SecuredVisit
Semasio
Signal
Simpli.fi
SiteScout
SMART AdServer
Specific Media
SpotXchange
Tapad
TradeDesk
Tremor Media
Tribal Fusion
TRUSTe Notice
TubeMogul
Turn Inc.
Twitter Advertising
Twitter Button
ValueClick Media
ValueClick Mediaplex
Videology
VigLink