The Ghosts In Your Machine
The free extension we used in Safari and Chrome is called Ghostery and what it does, as you browse the web and view your favorite websites, is display all the tracking mechanisms emanating from the sites you visit.
For example, on Mac360’s home page you’ll see this in the lower right hand corner. It’s a list of the built-in tracking that comes from a couple of Google AdSense ads.
As you can see, there’s not much tracking going on at Mac360, but there’s enough that we have reduced the number of advertisements per page by nearly an order of magnitude. How does that compare to other websites?
Here’s what Ghostery tracks from the popular iMore website.
Here’s the Ghostery results of another popular Apple-oriented website that we frequent; AppleInsider.
That’s not the worst of it. Even on the simple Google AdSense ads on Mac360, each advertisement can spawn multiple tracking mechanisms which are not visible to Ghostery. This Ghostery image is from another website we enjoy reading, Jim Dalrymple’s LoopInsight
Those are all Apple-oriented technology sites. What about mainstream sites that are not technology centric? Here’s Ghostery on USA Today.
Ad blockers can eliminate some or most of those tracking mechanisms but also can eliminate the very advertising that makes the content on the website available for free. Over the past few years we’ve reduced the number of display ads and tracking mechanisms on Mac360, from a dozen and a half ads down to two. Reader tracking is handled by a simple counter link which does not identify the user but helps us to see how many pages are visited each day, and which articles are read. But not by whom. No Google Analytics on Mac360.
We trust that you will appreciate our approach and support Mac360 accordingly. Regardless, there’s a battle going on for your privacy and the lines are being drawn clearly and distinctly in the digital sand.