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    How did they do that? - Tracking previous history


    A hinge on my desk broke so I Googled "furniture hinges", and clicked an obscure antique hardware link. Left it and searched for some totally unrelated topic, clicked a link, and viewed the page. Halfway down, I saw an advertisement for the same obscure antique hardware website.

    Coincidence, magic, or something else?
    Last edited by NotionCommotion; January 21st, 2014 at 06:52 AM.
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  3. Did you steal it?
    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    Thanks requinix,

    Can I get a little more detail? Not trying to duplicate it, just want to better understand what is going on. I am assuming something like:

    Step 1. Maybe Site 1 sets a cookie that I was on a given page.

    Step 2. I go to Site 2, cookies are sent to the server, and the content returned to my client is personalized for me. Is the cookie some general history cookie, or is it the cookie mentioned in Step 1?
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    Advertising companies will set a tracking cookie with a unique identifier in it on your computer. Basically the same as how a PHP Session identifier gets set when you use sessions.

    They use that identifier to track you as you go around from site to site. For each of their clients sites with embedded ads, they know details about what that site's content is. So when they detect an ad loaded for BobsFantasticFurniture.com (which they have categorized as a retail/furniture site) with your tracking ID they will note that you seem to be interested in shopping for furniture. Depending on how detailed their setup is they may even know what specific item or type of furniture you are looking for.

    They use all this information they gather to determine which types of ads to show you on their other client's websites. By continuing to show you ads for that store (or item) the hope is to keep the idea of buying it in your head long enough that you do finally decide to buy it.
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