Blog 8

Ghostry and DuckDuckGo have both taught me a lot about internet privacy. Ghostry is an extension that I enjoy especially as it blocks advertisements on websites and blocks ad trackers. It surprised me to see how many ad trackers were following my actions on websites. Companies can learn a lot of information about me without me having to take any specific action. I was unaware of how many trackers and third-party encryptions there were on my websites. Many of the trackers were software or companies that I have never heard of. Social media is a common tracker as it is prevalent on nearly every website tracking your information. It is really eye opening to see how nearly every movement on the internet is followed and analyzed. Ghostry showed me why I get the advertisements that I do. It showed me the companies that are looking to sell to me based on my online habits. DuckDuckGo was interesting because it showed me the privacy rating of the website I travel to. The site that had the best privacy was TCU online which makes sense as it has restricted access. The sites I went on that had the worst ratings were ESPN, Fox News, and Sparknotes. These sites rely heavily on advertisements as a source of revenue. They are very public sites that have many trackers on them. Ghostry had a big impact on my computer for these websites because it blocked the ads and allowed the sites to run smoother. I wish I had downloaded the extension sooner, so I could enjoy my internet browsing more. For my Writing Project 3, I will likely use either Barstool Sports or Sparknotes. This project will help me learn more about the behind the scenes tracking and analyzing of these sites. Both these sites pertain to a particular group of people. Barstool Sports pertains to young sports fans who enjoy comedy. This site will have many ads that pertain to this demographic. Sparknotes pertains to students who enjoy reading and studying. Trackers will follow the demographic information of these two different websites and allow advertisers to use this knowledge to promote their ads. Both of these websites rely heavily on ads. Barstool Sports sells merchandise but also makes a large amount of their revenue from ads. The ads you can see when you visit their site include foods, men’s clothing, sports memorabilia, etc. Sparknotes does not sell any products so the vast majority of their revenue is from advertisements. There are also links to follow on Sparknotes to take fun study breaks. Trackers can learn even more about a user’s preferences based off of the links they follow and engage in. This project will be beneficial to my understanding of advertisement promotion and site analytics. It is interesting to learn about the information companies can obtain by the sites you visit. They can sell information about your preferences, habits, and personality without you having any idea. Most people are unaware of the tracking and ad analytics that exist.