Anyone who has visited a website on the Internet is familiar with the ad that flashes across the screen, known as the banner ad. Banner ads often have some sort of graphic element that catch the viewer’s attention, along with an invitation to learn more about the product being advertised.
Banner ads are often considered intrusive and many people simply ignore them. Other ads that are less easy to ignore actually pop up on the screen while the viewer is looking at a website. Some of these ads open up in a new window, and the viewer must physically close these windows to get rid of the ad.
What many people fail to realize is that by clicking on to an Internet ad, they are authorizing a tracking device to be placed on their computer. This device will allow the advertiser to monitor the potential customer’s computer use, including other sites visited and purchases made. Many people who believe they are safe from Internet advertisers are surprised to find themselves getting offers online or in the mail because they are unaware that clicking onto a banner ad launches this tracking device, known as a cookie.