Advertising, Analytics, and Privacy

Effective September 15, 2014, the AOL Terms of Service and Privacy Policy will be updated. As part of this update, this page will change. We hope you’ll review these changes.

AOL’s websites, products, and services are supported in large part by advertising. This is how we are able to provide content and services. AOL owns an advertising network, AOL Advertising, that spans AOL owned and operated pages as well as many other websites across the Internet.

AOL may display various types of advertisements (such as banner ads, rich media ads, and sponsored links) on the sites you visit for a variety of reasons. In the same way that we use information about you (see “AOL Information”) to customize or personalize the content or services we provide, we may also use information to make the ads you see more relevant for you, and more effective for advertisers. We may also use information from other companies or sites to assist in determining the effectiveness of advertising. This helps advertisers spend their money wisely and helps the providers of content (publishers) increase revenues and stay online.

Often, an ad you see online is customized based on the content of the site.  For example, in such contextual ads, you may see sports-related ads on a sports site. We may also select an ad based on our knowledge of the audience we think may be looking at that page. This is often done with publicly available and/or aggregated demographic information, or it may be done with analysis of the aggregated traffic on a particular website, or by using the registration data or other household data you have provided or that we have acquired from other companies (your “AOL Information” as defined in the Privacy Policy).

AOL may share certain information about you as a user (such as age, zip code, or other household information AOL has collected or received) with certain ad networks and service providers, including AOL Advertising, to help deliver more relevant content and advertisements throughout their networks. AOL takes steps to ensure that the information provided to ad networks is not personally identifiable, but instead provides attributes which are linked to a non-personally identifiable cookie or user ID.

Ad networks, including AOL Advertising, also provide ads to you on AOL Services and across their advertising networks. In some cases, these ads are based on your activity on those sites or information appended from offline sources. This is often called behavioral advertising, behavioral targeting, interest-based advertising, or customized ads. When you visit sites on the AOL Advertising network, you may receive a “cookie” or other technology that helps us note, in an anonymized way, that you visited that site. This information goes into ad logs that are kept for a limited duration.  From the ad logs, AOL Advertising may use information about your activity to help us display ads that are more relevant. Note that the information shared with advertising networks is always with a unique identifier, and does not include personally identifiable information such as your name, email address, etc.  

The following third party advertisers and service providers may use cookies, web beacons, or other technologies in connection with advertising, content, and services offered through AOL Services and other sites, including providing analytics services or helping to operate ad networks. The use of cookies, web beacons, or other technologies by AOL Advertising and other content and ad network providers is subject to the privacy policies of those third parties. Click on the links below to learn more about their practices and the choices they provide to you. We may update this list of third-party providers from time to time, so you should review this supplement and the AOL Privacy Policy periodically.

AOL and our advertisers may use additional service providers not listed above. Please visit the Network Advertising Initiative and the Digital Advertising Alliance for additional information about online advertising where many additional third party providers may be listed.

Consumer Control

While it is not possible to turn off all advertising, you do have the ability with respect to some of these companies to control whether or not advertising is customized based on your behavior.

You can opt out of receiving targeted ads from AOL Advertising when you browse the web by visiting the Digital Advertising Alliance’s consumer choice page and selecting AOL Advertising.  Please note that your opt-out choice will apply only to the browser and device you are using when you opt out.  You can make your choice apply to any browser and device you use while signed into AOL by adjusting your AOL Marketing Preferences

You can learn how to opt-out of receiving targeted ads from AOL Advertising in mobile apps at Mobile Device Choices.

AOL is committed to complying with the Digital Advertising Alliance's Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising and with the Network Advertising Initiative’s Self-Regulatory Code of Conduct.  Users can find out more about interest-based advertising on the websites of these organizations.

In addition, you can use your browser to control your experience. When you clear the cookies in your browser, you may clear the information used to build a behavioral profile.  Depending on the browser you are using, you can also choose to block third party cookies (such as cookies from ad networks) or browse in a private browsing mode. As new technologies emerge to control your experience, we may provide additional information or instructions to manage your preferences.

Opt-Out Durability

Many opt outs are based on a cookie set by your browser that prevents the collection of data connected to a unique anonymous ID. If you opt-out using this method, the opt-out will generally last for 1-5 years. Please note that clearing the cookies in your browser may cancel the opt-out. In conjunction with the Digital Advertising Alliance, we offer the Cookie Protector, which will ensure that your opt-out settings persist regardless of clearing your cookies.