There are a number of companies that track your movements on the web and sell the information to the highest bidder in real time bidding…
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Krux, in its latest study, found that more than 300 companies collected data about users, up from 167 companies in 2010. The latest figure easily topped the 131 companies that The Wall Street Journal identified in a 2010 survey of tracking on the 50 most-visited websites.
As more privacy organizations, advocates and researchers discover and disclose to the general public what social networks, governments, corporations, data miners/aggregators, advertisers and law enforcement collect; public awareness of the impact of our digital footprints and invasive online tracking tactics will become exposed.
Data collection volume increased by 400% year-over-year, from an average of 10 collection events per page to 50, and 54% of that activity was entirely beyond publishers’ control (compared to 31% the previous year). -Krux
The reality is there wasn’t a lot of discussion over the years. With credit card companies, phone companies, and others a lot of similar practices have been going on for quite some time. What’s happened here is the lack of transparency. Many other collectors, that are not the site owner themselves, are scraping this data and it’s done in a way that the publisher and the user aren’t aware that it is happening. Some would characterize it as it’s starting to get creepy. -Elinor Mills | c|net