How to Opt Out of Interest Based Ads and Behavioral Advertising

behavioral advertising opt out requests being transmitted
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Behavioral advertising, also known as behavioral targeting or behavioral marketing, is when an advertiser or advertising server hooks into the data that is stored by your browser or app, to serve you interested based ads. These things tell the advertisers and networks things such as what searches you recently conducted, what sites you visited, etc.. Behavioral advertising is increasingly being used by advertisers and their publishers (Facebook just announced they are using behavioral advertising), and consumers are becoming increasingly concerned for their privacy. So how can you opt-out of behavioral advertising?

Wikipedia describes behavioral advertising like this: “When a consumer visits a web site, the pages they visit, the amount of time they view each page, the links they click on, the searches they make and the things that they interact with, allow sites to collect that data, and other factors, create a ‘profile’ that links to that visitor’s web browser. As a result, site publishers can use this data to create defined audience segments based upon visitors that have similar profiles. When visitors return to a specific site or a network of sites using the same web browser, those profiles can be used to allow advertisers to position their online ads in front of those visitors who exhibit a greater level of interest and intent for the products and services being offered.”

So what to do?

Well, for a start, you can opt-out of the behavioral advertising programs of those companies who have signed on to the voluntary Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising set up by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA).

When you get to the opt-out page, the site will begin checking your browser to discover which of their participating companies already have their hooks in you, although the DAA calls this “your browser’s status with participating companies.”

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behavioral advertising opt-out browser participating companies

List of Companies Signed on to, Honoring, and Complying with the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising Opt-Out Program

Cox Digital Solutions
Accuen Inc.
Acxiom, Inc.
Adara Media, Inc.
Adblade Premium Ad Network
AddThis (including XGraph)
Adobe Media Optimizer
AdReady, Inc.
Aggregate Knowledge, Inc.
Amazon Ad System
AOL Advertising
Atlas Solutions, LLC.
AudienceScience, Inc.
Batanga Network
Bazaarvoice, Inc.
BlueKai Inc.
Brightroll, Inc.
Brilig, a division of Merkle
Burst Media Corporation
Buysight, Inc.
Casale Media
Catalina BuyerVision
Chango, Inc.
ChoiceStream, Inc.
Cognitive Match, Inc.
Collective, Inc.
Conversant (formerly ValueClick, Mediaplex, and Dotomi)
CoreAudience (formerly RedAril)
Cross Pixel, Inc.
Datalogix, Inc.
DataXu Inc.
Datonics (formerly AlmondNet Data Division)
Defy Media (formerly Break Media)
Dstillery (formerly Media6Degrees)
eBay Enterprise (formerly FetchBack)
Experian Marketing Services
eyeReturn Marketing
Facebook Inc.
Google Inc.
I-Behavior, Inc.
IDG TechNetwork
IgnitionOne Inc.
Inflection Point Media
Intent Media
Krux Digital, Inc.
Legolas Media, Inc.
LiveRail Inc.
Lotame Solutions, Inc.
Madison Logic
Markit On Demand
MaxPoint Interactive, Inc.
Media Innovation Group (MIG)
Media.Net t
Media ge
MediaMath, Inc.
Microsoft Advertising
MLN Advertising Inc
Mode Media (formerly Glam media)
MyBuys, Inc.
Netmining LLC
NetSeer Inc.
Neustar (formerly TARGUSinfo)
Proclivity Systems, Inc.
Resonate Networks, Inc.
RichRelevance, Inc.
Rio SEO (formerly Meteor Solutions)
Rocket Fuel Inc.
Shopzilla, Inc.
Sizmek Inc. (formerly DG MediaMind)
Specific Media LLC
Tapad, Inc.
TellApart, Inc.
the Rubicon Project, Inc. (including Fox Audience Network)
The Trade Desk
Tremor Video, Inc.
Tribal Fusion
Triggit, Inc.
TruEffect, Inc.
TubeMogul, Inc.
Tumri, Inc.
Turn Inc.
Underdog Media
V12 Group
Vibrant Media, Inc.
Vindico Bid Manager
Xaxis (formerly 24/7 Media)
YuMe, Inc.
Ziff Davis


Once the system is done checking it will show you a list of all of those companies that are already cookied or otherwise hooked into your browser, which they euphemstically make seem less intrusive by calling them “companies customizing ads for your browser.”

opt out of remarketing ad tracking

Select them all, and then hit “Submit your choices”.

opt out of companies customizing ads for your browser

behavioral advertising opt out requests being transmitted

Here is the result of our own test.

behavioral advertising opt out complete

Notice how even though the system said that there were 96 “companies customizing ads for our browser”, the results say that they opted us out of 104 companies (hrmmm), and that opt-out could not be completed for another 12 (hrmmm).

opt out not completed

We tried it again with the same results.

According to the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising support page, the following can affect successful opt-out, and what to do about it:

  • If your browser blocks third party cookies, it may interfere with the functionality of this page and stop your out out choices from being set in your browser
  • When status is unavailable for a company, or an opt out request is not completed, it is logged and reported automatically. Therefore, it is not necessary for you to report these events.
  • If you received a significant number of reports of status unavailable or opt outs not
  • completed, it is likely that software or settings on your computer are interfering with the function of the opt out tool

  • If you received only a small number of errors, this may indicate a temporary issue with those particular companies’ opt outs. Please try again in a few hours or a few days.
  • You can try your own luck at opting out of behavioral advertising here.


    Block Interest Based Ad Tracking and Behavioral Advertising on Your Browser

    A more proactive approach (do both, not one or the other) is to use an advertising blocking, privacy enhancing add-on for your browser, and app for your mobile devices.

    One browser add-on that we like and use, and that is free as well, is AdBlock Plus. There are others, but AdBlock Plus not only blocks ads, it blocks tracking.

    As AdBlock Plus explains on their site, “With every browsing session, there are multiple firms tracking your online activity and browsing history. There are hundreds of ad agencies tracking your every move, but with Adblock Plus you can easily disable all tracking, and browse the web truly anonymously.”

    AdBlock Plus is available for all major browsers. You can install Adblock Plus here.


    Block Interest Based Ad Tracking and Behavioral Advertising on Your iPhone or Android Phone

    To block this sort of ad tracking on your iPhone, go to Settings – and where you will go from there will depend on your iOS version:

    Block ad tracking on iOS 7

    Go to Settings > Privacy > Advertising

    iphone ad tracking settings ios 7-1

    limit ad tracking ios 7 advertising setting


    Block ad tracking on iOS 6

    Go to Settings > About > Advertising

    turn of advertising tracking older ios 6


    Block ad tracking on Android device

    Go to your Google settings (not your general Android settings!), and click on “Ads”:

    opt out ad tracking android

    Opt out of interest-based ads:

    opt out android interest based ads


    Of course, all of this is just one more arms race – just as spammers find ways around spam filters, you can be sure that advertisers will find their way around these measures. Especially when the advertisers are the ones controlling large parts of the Internet.

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    7 thoughts on “How to Opt Out of Interest Based Ads and Behavioral Advertising

    1. of the 133 advertisement companies available to opt out of, only 63 were successful. The rest were conveniently unavailable. Don’t use Microsoft Edge, use Firefox and install Ublock Origin and go watch how to use it on YouTube. Install Facebook Container add on too as these tools will block data from going to Facebook. Facebook can eat pickled dick.

    2. I have adblade ads and ad choices and google ads messing with my pch games! How can I get rid of them free ofcharge!

    3. Adblade driving me crazy. I try to research using ‘Washington Times’ and it keeps loading and coming on. ANd full page ads. Your opt worked for most of the others but not ADBLADE. I lived in NJ but would like to dump ADBLADE people in the Atlantic Ocean permanently. HOW CAN I GET RID OF ADBLADE?

    4. I tried to opt-out, and tried to contact Catalina BuyerVision through the above posted address, but AOL won’t allow me to send an email.


      You can always contact us in order to (i) update the personal information that you have provided to us, and (ii) change your preferences with respect to marketing contacts by e-mailing us at or if available also logging into your account to update your information. If you have any other questions about our Privacy Policy or this Privacy Policy, or our Safe Harbor commitments under U.S.-EU & U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor programs, please feel free to contact us through our Site, email us at, or write to us at: Chief Privacy Officer; c/o Catalina; 200 Carillon Parkway; St. Petersburg, FL 33716 USA.

      as found on this page:

      1. contact them and asked to be removed
      2. make an account and edit you choices

    6. I can’t opt out:

      Catalina BuyerVision


      No matter how many times I run the opt-out tool it won’t work. I visit the page and there is no where on the site where I can opt-out. I have changed my privacy settings and run the tool but still can’t clear it – HELP!!!

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