Yahoo has announced the launch of a new service that allows users to control the types of ads they get while visiting the network’s sites.
Yahoo Ad Interest Manager may have the most uninteresting name imaginable but it is a handy tool if you spend a lot of time on Yahoo sites such as Flickr. The tool lets you see the type of interest-based ads it shows you and allows you to opt out of them if you choose.
If you look at a lot of, er, ‘unsavoury’ content in your private time it’s probably best not to check this page when you have friends around. All your interests (as guessed by Yahoo) are displayed as list with the option to switch each one off one-by-one, or all of them in one go.
As the kind of internet user who tends to give most Yahoo services a wide berth, I found I wasn’t on many interest lists when I tried Ad Interest Manager. Yahoo has correctly guessed that I’m interested in Technology and Internet Services although why it thinks I’m interested in Footwear I have absolutely no idea. The Yahoo engineers have obviously never seen the sorry state of my shoe rack.
Google has had a similar tool, Ads Preferences, for some time and it’s a little surprising that Yahoo has taken so long to follow suit and give users control over the ads they see. While it’s possible to opt out of interest-based ads, all you will be doing is replacing them with generic ads.
This is being billed by Yahoo as a boon for users’ privacy, letting you see the kind of information that Yahoo holds about you. Why now though? Kara Swisher at All Things Digital points out that the launch of Ads Preferences Manager comes on the same day that the US Federal Trade Commission is beginning a Roundtable debate about online privacy.