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Internet Online “Ad-Stalking”

Updated on January 18, 2011

Ad Stalking - Remarketing - Retargeting and Database Marketing

Internet users are being exposed to product advertisements at some time or another when “surfing” the net for information or products. Last night I logged on to search a website and an advertisement popped up extolling the virtues of AOL and AOL’s relationship with This ad invited me to purchase a membership on The ad consisted of a text box which contained my old AOL internet address and my old user name from 1997.

I’d understand what happened better if I were still using the same old computer but I’m not. Since 1997 I have purchased 5 new computers. There shouldn’t have been any way to link my newest computer with previous internet search activity 14 years ago because the “cookies” are not hiding on this new computer.

Cookies shown as text files
Cookies shown as text files | Source


 “Cookies” are small text files which are imbedded in your computer by websites when you visit them... “Cookies” recognize you when you return for example, letting you stay signed in or immediately bringing up your past purchase information but mainly “cookies” allow the site to maintain any changes you may have done and these “cookies” are used for advertising.

Online Ad Stalking

Ad Stalking or retargeted

I’m not a computer “geek,” I can only guess how I became a victim of “ad stalking.” I think the advertisement from AOL with my old information was linked by cookies somehow to the name of my ancestor. When I put in enough information for searching, full name, date of birth, parents names and birth location and parents date of birth, a cookie link was established back to me. These “retargeted or remarketed ads” are made to follow a consumer who may become unnerved because he or she feel stalked or tracked as they browse the web.

I was being “remarketed or retargeted” as a previous customer who might be willing to “purchase” again. This “remarketing ad” followed me when I went to other genealogy search websites. Even today, I was “retargeted” when I clicked on a website offering free search engines to use. “Ad retargeting” is an advertising strategy where an item to purchase must be shown at least 7 times to the customer before the customer will purchase. The “retargeted ad” item follows you around from website to website because the advertiser is betting on wearing you down enough so you will give up and purchase their product.

2010 online spending is up 12% over 2009
2010 online spending is up 12% over 2009 | Source

Huge Profits

Because merchants can collect data from their websites based upon your online shopping or searches they expect to reap huge sales profits. Online spending for 2010 holiday season resulted in a record spending of $32.6 Billion which was a large increase over 2009 holiday spending. The heaviest online spending day of 2010 was Cyber Monday (Monday, Nov. 29) where online shoppers spent almost $1.03 Billion which shattered previous records to become the greatest single spending day on record.

Avoid being Ad-Stalked

 How can you avoid being “retargeted, remarketed or Ad stalked”?  You could ignore those ads as I did.  If you really want to put an end to being ad-stalked you can purge your Cookie cache. When signing on or before signing off the internet click the tool tab on the menu bar and activate the InPrivate Browsing. You could purchase and install one of the software currently on the market that blocks ads. Another effective method would be to contact the ad server and “opt-out”.


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    • callisto123 profile image

      callisto123 7 years ago

      Hi Linda,

      I referenced this hub in my new hub:

      I find this type of advertising very interesting :)

    • profile image

      christio07 7 years ago

      hey freinds i am telling you all about the website where you can earn money online when ever you have free time beeing at home or in office and it is a relly trusted and where usefull site so plz join with the site using the link bellow

    • LC WARD profile image

      LC WARD 7 years ago from Rochester, Washington

      Interesting enough several of my friends are experiencing this ad stalking. I appreciate your feedback on my article. I have a hard time coming up with topics but this one "jumped" out at me while searching the net. Thanks again!

    • callisto123 profile image

      callisto123 7 years ago

      Interesting article, I've never seen marketing quite like that! There is a Google add-on for Firefox (and probably Internet Explorer) that disables their search based marketing tactics. Alternatively, you could install an ad-blocker and disable ads altogether.