Microsoft: Everybody Else is Doing it

    August 19, 2008
    Chris Crum

Microsoft is tracking your data.

But so are Google and Yahoo!, as they are so quick to point out when confronted by the House.

A classic example of the "but everybody else is doing it" excuse that they taught us in D.A.R.E. in elementary school.

The drug of choice for search giants is not crack or pot though. It is ad-targeting – learning about you so they can fill your screen with advertisements from companies whose profits would be in their own best interest.

At least we’re getting relevant ads

It may seem like you are just getting relevant results, but as Marketing Shift breaks it down in "regular people" terms, it has those companies’ best interests in mind; not giving you the best information.

Silicon Alley Insider points to the official excuse document from Microsoft, who says that they’ve been collecting data since 2006, but the practice was boosted by the acquisition of aQuantive.

Just opt out.

Microsoft claims that users can opt-out of having their data collected, but finding the way to do this is the hard part, which is probably why only 1,800 people have actually opted out. That and the fact that the option just became available this past Spring.

For those of you who wish to utilize the feature, go to, click the small "privacy" link at the bottom, then in the middle of that page filled with text, look for a link that says "display of advertising", then click that and look for yet another link on that page that says "opt-out page". Somewhere in the middle of that page you can find a couple of checkboxes and an "apply" button.

That’s simple enough right? By the way, you must be signed in if you want the change to be applied from any computer.