If there’s one thing that everyone would like more control over, it’s the mass of information you see every time you browse the internet. Two big contributors to this mass include the ads you’re see as well as the spam in your email inbox. What many people aren’t aware of however is that there are tools available to help give you more control over this. Today I want to highlight two free online tools: aboutads.info, a service to let you control online behavioral ads, and Unroll.Me, a service to help you quickly unsubscribe from any subscription in your email inbox.
The Digital Advertising Alliance is a group made up of 117 participating advertising agencies, among them some of the biggest names in the digital advertising space. The DAA has a self-regulatory program made to provide choices for interest-based ads, and part of this initiative allows you to opt out from receiving interest-based advertising from some or all of the participating companies. To start, simply go to www.aboutads.info/choices/.
Upon navigating to the website, it will begin scouring your browser for various tracking cookies associated with the DAA ad agencies. Searching my browser, it turns out 99 of the 117 companies were customizing ads in my browser. From here, you can easily toggle which companies you want to receive interest-based advertising from, if any. I should note, even if you choose to opt out from all companies, you will still receive ads from these agencies – they will simply stop tracking your preferences and interests and serve generic ads instead. One last thing to note, these opt out preferences are stored in your browser’s cookies. Thus, if you use multiple browsers or ever choose to delete your browser cookies, you will have to use this service again to opt out.
Ever wonder just how many email subscriptions you’re subscribed to? Or maybe just find it a hassle going through your email, digging into the footer to find unsubscribe links, and go through the process for every service? The folks at Unroll.Me have come up with a fantastic service to make the process of finding your subscriptions and unsubscribing as easy and efficient as possible.
To use it, simply go to unroll.me and get started. It will go through your email inbox (using Gmail, I had to give it permission to scrub my inbox) and after a few moments tell you just how many subscriptions you’re subscribed to, along with a list of each one and quick links to unsubscribe from it in an instant.
I take pride in how clean and well kept my personal email inbox is. To my surprise I was somehow subscribed to over 330 email subscriptions, and although many of them were different senders from the same organization that was still a mind-boggling number. If that’s my inbox, I can only imagine how some people’s inboxes may look like!
One other excellent feature is Unroll.Me’s Rollup, which is a digest that combines subscriptions of your choice into a single email. So after unsubscribing from all the junk, rollup all your favorite subscriptions into one to clean up your inbox even more – it couldn’t be easier.
It’s always nice to see that there are methods out there that strive to bring greater control of ads back to the users, and these are just two of many out there that try to do just that. Hopefully these services can be as useful to you as they are to me, and please let me know of any others in particular that do a great job of helping you clean up your browsing – you can’t have too much control when it comes to ads!