My Advertising Preferences FAQ

What is AdVisibility? What does it show?
AdVisibility is a tool AOL Advertising offers users to view the non-personal data collected about them for ad targeting. The categories shown in the AdVisibility viewer represent “interest segments” that are derived from non-personal web browsing activities.

What profile information is collected and how is the information utilized?
For many, the term "online advertising" conjures up images of Web pages cluttered with irrelevant ads and annoying offers. AOL Advertising delivers ads that are likely to offer greater relevance to your interests by working with a network of Web sites and advertisers to deliver ads based on your previous Web viewing activity.

For example, if you have visited a participating AOL Advertising Web site and viewed golf-related content, the next time you access a Web site, you could be shown ads from a golf equipment company or golf resort, rather than a generic ad that may not be relevant to you. If you have visited several pages reviewing new minivan models, you may later be shown ads from auto manufacturers. This activity is aimed at improving your online experience by displaying information that is relevant to your interests.

How is the profile information collected?
AOL Advertising creates profiles using cookie technology. A cookie is a small text file that is stored on your computer. These cookies allow the browser to remember specific information that can help simplify and improve your online experience. Cookies are not software, and as such, they cannot perform hidden activities or monitoring; cookies are not spyware or adware. Cookies are typically exceedingly small (less than the size of a file containing a short sentence or two) and take virtually no space on or slow down your computer.

When a user visits specific sites on the AOL Advertising network, the user's AOL Advertising cookie may be updated to include categories of interests, also known as a "segment" (i.e. "Sports Enthusiast", "Music Lover", etc.) The type of segment added to the profile will depend on the nature of the web site within the AOL Advertising network that your computer has visited recently. To view your profile, visit the AdVisibility tool. The learn more about the ad serving and targeting process, visit the Network Advertising Initiative.

How are cookies used?
When you access our websites, we, or companies we hire to track how our websites are used, may place small data files called "cookies" on your computer. These cookies are encoded so that only AOL Advertising can read and interpret the information stored in them. These cookies can be read back later, allowing the browser to remember specific information that can help simplify and/or improve your online experience. Cookies are not software, and as such, they cannot perform hidden activities or monitoring; cookies are not spyware or adware. Cookies are typically exceedingly small (less than the size of a file containing a short sentence or two) and take virtually no space on or slow down your computer.

Your browser allows you to manage your cookies. For instance, you can control which cookies are placed on your computer and also periodically delete these cookies. However, most Web sites use cookies in some way to enhance your viewing experience, from enabling easy e-commerce transactions and personalized Web pages to simplifying Web site login and receiving relevant advertising. These attributes will be lost if you delete cookies.

Opting out of the AOL Advertising data collection process is easy. Click here to visit the Network Advertising Initiative Consumer Opt-out page.

How do I opt out of the data targeting process?
Opting out of the collection process is easy - just click here to visit the Network Advertising Initiative Consumer Opt-out page. If you delete your cookies, cache files, buy a new computer, or change Web browsers, you will need to opt-out again. The opt-out is only maintained when AOL Advertising can read the opt-out cookie. Please note that opting out does not prevent you from seeing ads from AOL Advertising or our partners; it simply means you will no longer receive ads relevant to your historical viewing interests.

Can I make my opt-out preference permanent?
AOL is working together with the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) to develop an “Opt Out Protector” browser plug-in that ensures your opt out preference will be kept even if you delete your cookies. More information about the browser plug-in can be found at the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI).

Who can see my profile information?
Because the AOL Advertising servers only process the data in an automated, non-personal manner, no other "live" person ever sees your profile information but you. Profile information is stored in a cookie on your computer. Each computer you use will have a different cookie with another profile. To view the profile on this computer, visit the AdVisibility tool.

How long is my profile information kept?
Your profile information is continually fine-tuned and refreshed based on your usage and activity on the AOL Advertising network. User profiles that have seen no activity for more than 60 days are automatically deleted. Of course, you have the option to delete your profile data at any time and as often as you wish. For example, during the holiday season, you may purchase or express an interest in various products. After the holidays are over, you may still see a few advertisements for similar products, due to your recent online activity. If the product category is no longer of interest, you can delete your profile; a new one will be created with more appropriate interest segments. To view and manage your profile, visit the AdVisibility tool.

Can I add or delete specific interest segments?
The ability to add or remove specific interest segments from your profile will be available in a future AdVisibility release.

What about other ad networks?
AdVisibility only shows information collected and used by AOL Advertising. Other ad networks may offer similar pages and opt-out mechanisms. For more information about NAI partner ad networks and their data collection practices, visit the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI).

We recognize that some areas are too personal even for anonymous advertising profiles. For this reason, AOL Advertising does not create "sensitive" profile segments or use information such as sensitive health conditions, sexual activity or preference, sensitive financial information, such a credit score, etc.)

Who do I contact about privacy questions?
Contact us at PrivacyQuestions@aol.com.