On Your Side Alert: eBay and Ad Targeting

Published: Jul. 17, 2013 at 3:48 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 24, 2013 at 2:41 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - If you use eBay, it may not come as a surprise the company knows what you like to buy. What you may not know, is that the company is giving retailers more options to advertise to online consumers.

Law professor, Jim Gibson, with the University of Richmond says there is no need to worry.  "I think there is a lot of ways the online world intrudes in our privacy but I think on this one, the train pretty much left the station. This is Google's bread and butter, for example, and people don't seem to be abandoning Google or rising up against it in great numbers," he said.

We reached out to eBay, in a statement it says, ""We recently introduced a new service to deliver ads on behalf of third parties. Through this service, eBay works with marketers looking to reach a specific kind of audience.  We apply our expertise and analytics capabilities to determine the relevant ways to reach the audience, and then we place the ads.  This allows marketers to efficiently reach their potential customers.

The trust of our customers is essential to us, so we take privacy of our users very seriously.  We do not sell or share our users' data with third-party advertisers or marketers who place ads through us.  eBay always controls the information our customers entrust to us."

You can also read more about what eBay is doing on its website. "It is hard to decide whether this is a privacy issue problem because to some extent, having those ads come to you can be a good thing for consumers. Better to have an advertisement for something you are looking for, than an advertisement for something irrelevant. So I don't think this is going to mean that third parties are going to be spamming you with personal email. It is really what is going to appear on web pages when you are doing your day to day surfing," Gibson said.

Gibson adds if you are the type that is highly protective of your privacy, read the companies privacy policy to ensure you agree, if not, then don't accept the agreement.  "Really, you give up on any privacy rights you have when you sign that terms of use at an Amazon or an eBay," said Gibson. Remember, as always, you are your biggest privacy advocate.

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