When you browse the web, many sites and applications ask for a piece of basic information that you may hand over without hesitation, such as your email address, and it may seem harmless, but when you enter the email, you are sharing important information for advertisers and companies, and you should think twice before doing so , according to The New York Times.
It pays to know why companies want email addresses, and for advertisers, publishers, and app makers, your email is important not only to contact you, but also to link your activity across sites and apps to deliver relevant ads to you.
For years, the digital advertising industry has relied on invisible trackers embedded within websites and apps to track our activities and then serve us targeted ads. There have been sweeping changes to this system in the past few years, including Apple issuing a software feature in 2021 that allows iPhone users to block apps from tracking them, and there is a decision by Google to prevent websites from using cookies that track people’s activities. Across sites, in Chrome by 2024.
That’s why advertisers, web publishers, and app makers are now trying to track people through other means – one simple way is by asking for an email address.
An email address can provide a lot of information for these companies, because it can be linked to other data, including where you study, the make and model of the car you drive, and your race.
“I can take your email address and find data that you may not have realized you gave to a brand,” Michael Brimm, CEO of Modern Impact, an advertising firm in Minneapolis, told the Post. “The amount of data that is available about us as consumers is literally staggering.”
“Ad technology continues to evolve, so it’s helpful to understand exactly what you’re sharing when you enter an email address. From here, you can decide what to do,” the newspaper notes.
So what work?
There are several options for limiting the ability of advertising companies to target you based on your email address.-
Create a set of email addresses. Every time a site or app asks for your email, you create a unique address to log into, which makes it difficult for ad technology companies to assemble a profile based on your email handling.--
Use email-masking tools. Apple and Mozilla offer tools that automatically create email aliases for logging in to an app or website.
When possible, simply opt out and don’t provide your email, or unsubscribe.
On the other hand, you can do absolutely nothing “if you enjoy receiving relevant ads and have no privacy concerns,” according to the newspaper.
Google plans to give phone users more privacy by limiting “tracking” through Android applications, in a move similar to what Apple has done, according to a report published by the “Wall Street Journal” in February 2022.
The report indicated that this would put restrictions on the “ad industry” that aims to collect data from billions of smartphones.
And it will lead to the end of a decade of advertising practices on these phones, especially on the part of the “Meta” company that owns the Facebook network, which has put “codes” in its applications to track user behavior, according to the newspaper.
The report stated that the changes made by Apple to stop tracking applications for users led to the loss of the “Meta” company about $ 300 billion of its market value.