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Student Project Could Kill Digital Ad Targeting

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    Last Updated: July 5, 2013


    An anonymous reader sends this quote from Ad Age: “[Rachel Law's] creation, called ‘Vortex,’ is a browser extension that’s part game, part ad-targeting disrupter that helps people turn their user profiles and the browsing information into alternate fake identities that have nothing to do with reality. People who use the browser tool, which works with Firefox and Chrome, effectively confuse the technologies that categorize web audiences into likely running shoe buyers, in-market auto buyers, or moms interested in cooking and football. … It’s a bit like the ad blocker extensions of yore, except it scrambles information to trick ad targeters, all in service of an addictive game deemed ‘Site Miner,’ which allows players to fish for cookies visualized as sea creatures. Players can gobble up cookies Pac-Man style, creating a pool of profile information that has nothing to do with their actual web behavior. … Vortex features a profile switcher that people can use and share to take on a new identity while browsing the web. ‘It’s a way of masking your identity across networks,’ she said.”

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