Frequently Asked Questions about the Digital Advertising Alliance and Its Consumer Choice Tools: WebChoices & AppChoices
For answers to frequent questions about the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) self-regulatory program, interest-based advertising and other applicable uses of Web-viewing and app usage data, and how the DAA two consumer choice tools – WebChoices and AppChoices – work, please visit the following FAQ topic areas:
- Learn about the DAA’s Self-Regulatory Program
- Learn about interest-based advertising
- Learn about what DAA’s WebChoices does – and doesn’t do
- WebChoices: ‘Protect My Choices’ Plug-Ins for Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer
- Learn about what DAA’s AppChoices does – and doesn’t do
- How to use DAA’s WebChoices Tool (Tutorial)
- WebChoices Status Checks, Opt-Out Issues and Warnings
About The DAA Program
What is the DAA Self-Regulatory Program?
The Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) is an independent not-for-profit organization which establishes and enforces responsible privacy practices for relevant digital advertising, while giving consumers information and control over the types of digital advertising they receive. The DAA runs the YourAdChoices program and its WebChoices and mobile AppChoices consumer choice tools. The DAA also runs the PoliticalAds program, which is designed to increase transparency and accountability around digital express advocacy ads.
Underlying the DAA’s efforts are the DAA Self-Regulatory Principles, including updates to address changing technologies and business models around multi-site, mobile, and cross-device data. Compliance with the DAA Principles is independently enforced for all companies in digital advertising by the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC) of the BBB National Programs (BBBNP) and DMA, a division of the Association of National Advertisers. The DAA is managed by a consortium of the leading national advertising and marketing trade groups, including the 4A’s; American Advertising Federation; Association of National Advertisers; DMA; Interactive Advertising Bureau; and Network Advertising Initiative; with the advice of the BBBNP.
The DAA Self-Regulatory Program applies to data collection and use for interest-based advertising in the United States and its territories. For information regarding programs in other nations and regions, please visit sister organizations, respectively:
To what data collection and use practices do the DAA Program apply?
The DAA has issued the following Principles and related Guidance:
- Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising
- Self-Regulatory Principles for Multi-Site Data
- Application of Self-Regulatory Principles to the Mobile Environment
- Application of the DAA Principles of Transparency and Control to Data Used Across Devices
- Application of the DAA Principles of Transparency and Accountability to Political Advertising
The DAA’s Principles apply to interest-based advertising (sometimes called online behavioral advertising) and other applicable uses of Web-viewing and application use data collected from a particular computer or device over time and across different, unaffiliated Websites and apps. For interest-based advertising, the applicable Principles address the areas of education, transparency, consumer control, data security, changes to existing policies, sensitive data and accountability for interest-based advertising, and transparency and accountability for digital political advertising. The DAA’s Principles and guidance also address transparency and control for precise location data and personal directory data. They also apply to data collection for interest-based advertising purposes across devices.
About Interest-Based Advertising
What is interest-based advertising?
Interest-based advertising (IBA) – which is also sometimes called "online behavioral advertising" – uses information gathered about your visits over time and across different websites or applications in order to help predict your preferences and show you ads that are more likely to be of interest to you. For example, a sporting goods manufacturer might work with an advertising network that collects and uses interest-based advertising information to deliver ads to the browsers of users that have recently visited sports-related sites, or an airline might direct ads to users that recently visited mobile travel apps.
How does interest-based advertising work?
When a user visits a website or uses an app that works with an advertising network or other online advertising companies, these advertising companies gather information about the user’s browser or device in order to tell when that same user browser or device visits other websites or apps within the same network – even if these content offerings are run by different companies or have different web addresses or brands. Over time, the information gathered about the browser or device may help predict the user’s likely interest in particular categories of ads: for example, users who frequently visit baseball-related websites might receive more ads for the “baseball/sports enthusiast” category, or users who engage with automobile review apps might receive more ads for the particular models of cars that interest them. This inferred interest category is used to provide advertising relevant to the category to a particularly browser or device.
What are the benefits of interest-based advertising for me?
The most important benefit of interest-based advertising is the free Internet itself. For example, many non-subscription websites and online services rely on this type of advertising for revenue, so they do not have to charge users for the content they provide or otherwise subsidize the cost for providing content and services. When you check the news or the weather online, scan your favorite entertainment site or blog, play a free online game or app, or watch a popular TV show or music video on your computer, you are seeing the consumer benefits of online advertising at work.
Put another way, advertising is the financial engine that powers most of the free websites and apps. Interest-based advertising is a significant part of that economic model. Without interest-based advertising, some free websites, apps and services might have to start charging their users or increasing fees, and others would not be able to continue delivering innovative online services. In fact, Americans assigned a value of nearly $1,200 per year to the array of free, ad-supported services and content currently available to them on computers and mobile devices, according to a survey conducted by Zogby Analytics.
There’s another benefit of interest-based advertising for users as well: more relevant ads. When advertisers use interest-based advertising tools, you get ads that are more interesting, relevant, and useful to you. If you’re a college student, for example, then you might be more interested in seeing ads for spring break destinations than for retirement homes. If you like musicals, then you might want a ticket offer for a new show and not to the ballet. Those relevant ads improve the online experience and help users find things that interest them more easily.
What types of information do companies use to advertise to me online?
In addition to interest-related information, online advertising companies may use information about users' general location, such as their city or ZIP Code, so that they can market products of most interest to a particular region (snow shovels to residents of northern states, for example), or help local advertisers reach their customers.
Advertising companies may also use demographic information, such as age, gender or occupation provided during registration for access and use of a site, or they can attempt to infer such information based on the general demographics of visitors to a particular site. They may separately use the data they have collected online to make additional predictions about users’ interests or backgrounds, or they may combine their data with related information from other sources.
A typical set of information associated with a user's web browser might include:
- Gender: Male
- Age range: 25-34
- Geography: Washington DC metro area
- Interested in baseball
- Interested in travel to Europe
- Car shopper
Some advertising companies give users access to the categories of information associated with users’ browsers, so users can edit that information to make it more useful and accurate.
How can I learn more about online advertising and how it works?
There are some online tutorials and educational materials on the online advertising “ecosystem” and how it works, which you can review on the WebChoices tutorial.
What are cookies and how are they used in online advertising?
Cookies are small pieces of text that are placed in your browser by the websites you visit and other parties including the advertising companies and content partners for those sites. Only the company that sets a cookie can read it later. You can use the preferences in your browser to view and control the cookies you have. Not all browser cookie settings are identical, so users should familiarize themselves with the default settings of each.
Cookies help websites remember visitors when they return to the site. For example, a cookie can help a website remember your computer's location, so it can show your local news or weather when you return, or it can remind a video site that you’ve already registered, so you don’t have to sign in again each time you visit. In short, cookies are used to personalize websites for you based on the preferences you’ve chosen and through predictions about the type of content that might interest you.
What are device identifiers and how are they used for interest-based advertising?
Cookies are not the only bits of technology that advertisers rely on. In apps, non-cookie technologies – called device ID’s – are used to help serve interest-based ads. DAA’s AppChoices helps consumers have transparency and control over these identifiers with the companies listed in the app.
What can I do if I don’t want to receive interest-based advertising?
You can opt out of receiving interest-based advertising from the companies participating in the DAA program’s “WebChoices” consumer choice tool, which is available in versions for desktop and mobile browsers. DAA also offers a separate choice tool – “AppChoices” -- for the collection of cross-app data on a mobile device for interest-based advertising and other applicable uses. To exercise choice for companies participating in this choice tool, you can install the DAA’s AppChoices app. Some companies participating in the DAA may also provide profile management tools. Please follow the company link from the listing within the WebChoices or AppChoices tools to explore these additional controls.
After you opt out using WebChoices or AppChoices, the participating companies will no longer collect, use, or transfer information about activity on your browser or device, respectively, for the purpose of interest-based advertising or any other applicable data practice covered by the DAA Principles. They may, however, continue to serve online advertising on the pages or apps you visit that is not dependent on information about your online interests and may continue to use data for purposes other than interest-based advertising such as operational purposes, fraud prevention, and analytics.
Browsers and mobile operating systems also provide other privacy mechanisms. We encourage you to review the privacy control settings available in your browser or device platforms settings. Note that some of these controls (such as settings that block first or third-party cookies) may impede the storage of your WebChoices opt-out preferences and may need to be reset to accept such cookies, as you use the WebChoices tool to opt-out, to honor your opt-out requests successfully.
What is the DAA ‘YourAdChoices’ Icon and what does it tell me about interest-based advertising?
Another major element of the DAA Program is the creation and broad adoption of a clickable “icon” to be placed on or near online advertisements (or on Web pages or in apps) that links users to information about interest-based advertising, and that identifies advertising companies involved in serving such ads and describes their data collection practices. The icon should also link users to a choice mechanism – such as WebChoices – that consumers can use to notify advertising companies about whether or not they wish to opt out of future interest-based advertising.
Does the DAA Program limit the sharing of information between online advertising companies?
Yes. One goal of this program is to better explain the process and to identify the companies that are involved in the distribution of interest-based advertising to users through tools like a clickable icon inside or near the ad you view, and a choice mechanism enabling you to opt out of future interest-based advertising. In addition, the program seeks to ensure that if you opt out of having your information used for interest-based advertising, information about your likely interests will no longer be shared with other companies.
How does the program govern use of precise location data (PLD) and personal directory data (PDD) for interest-based advertising?
The DAA Program treats these two categories of information distinctly from cross-app or web-viewing data. PLD and PDD are subject to prior consent for the purpose of interest-based advertising. Marketers must also extend easy-to-use mechanism to withdraw that consent at any time.
How does the program limit the uses of sensitive information for interest-based advertising?
Companies participating in this program agree not to use specific types of sensitive health or financial data, such as financial account numbers, medical records, pharmaceutical prescriptions, precise location, or Social Security numbers about a specific individual for interest-based advertising without prior consent.
The DAA Program also prohibits the use of web-viewing or application use data for determining an individual’s eligibility for credit, employment, healthcare, and insurance. To learn more, visit the DAA’s Multi-Site Data Principles on the DAA Principles page.
How does the program limit interest-based advertising to children?
Under the Principles of this program and consistent with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), participating companies agree not to collect personal information from children known to be under the age of 13 nor to engage in interest-based (online behavioral) advertising directed toward children unless it is compliant with the provisions of COPPA.
How does the program ensure that participating companies comply?
The BBB National Programs (BBBNP) and DMA, a division of Association of National Advertisers, have implemented accountability programs to address companies’ compliance with the DAA Principles.
If you believe that you have witnessed a practice or ad that may violate these Principles, then you can report the incident to either the BBBNP or DMA.
The BBBNP and DMA will coordinate investigation of received complaints. Please click below to learn more about each organization’s complaint handling procedures.
About DAA’s WebChoices: what it does – and doesn’t – do
How does DAA’s “WebChoices” consumer choice tool work?
Companies that engage in interest-based advertising are required to provide consumers with an easy-to-use mechanism for exercising choice about the collection and use of information covered by the DAA’s Principles.
WebChoices gathers together in one place the opt-out mechanisms provided by participating companies, offering visitors a “one-stop” platform through which to opt out from the collection of Web-viewing data for interest-based advertising and other applicable uses, by some or all participating companies.
WebChoices also provides useful information about visitors' browser status with respect to interest-based advertising, including information about which participating companies are already customizing ads for a user’s browser.
WebChoices does not, however, provide information about advertising companies that do not participate in the DAA Program, or provide opt outs to any form of advertising provided by these non-participating companies.
The DAA separately provides the AppChoices app for consumers to control data collected and used across apps on mobile devices by DAA companies participating in that tool.
Will WebChoices block me from receiving any web-based ads or email advertisements?
No. The opt-outs available through the WebChoices tool apply to interest-based advertising and other applicable uses of web-viewing data by the DAA’s participating companies. The opt out choices do not apply to other types of ads provided by these companies, or carry over to ads displayed in mobile apps (for which the DAA’s AppChoices tool may be used instead for the companies participating in that tool).
For example, even after opting out of interest-based advertising from a participating company, a user may still receive other types of advertising from that company, including ads selected on the basis of the content of the web page ("contextual" ads), or other types of information (for example, demographic or general computer browser location information).
The opt-out choices provided through WebChoices and AppChoices do not apply to electronic email (or “spam”), postal mail, or pop-ups.
Furthermore, opt-out choices via WebChoices are browser- and device-specific, and users seeking to control interest-based advertising on other browsers and devices should repeat WebChoices use on each browser and device they use.
To learn more about how particular websites or applications collect or use data for other types of advertising, users should review the privacy policies of the websites and apps that they visit.
What are opt-out cookies and how do they remember opt-out preferences?
When a user exercises choice, those companies place an “opt-out” cookie in the user’s browser to tell the company not to deliver such advertising in future. Opt-out cookies storing such preferences that are placed by companies participating in the DAA Program have a minimum five-year lifespan, and remain in effect for the user’s browser unless these opt-out cookies are deleted (as can happen if users deletes all of their cookies using browser tools). Users should visit WebChoices periodically to review or update their browser preferences or to set preferences for new participating companies.
To prevent accidental deletion of your opt out preferences, the DAA offers a variety of browser extensions to protect your choices. To download and install the available browser extensions, please visit the DAA’s Protect My Choices page.
Browser settings such as those that blocks third party or first party cookies interfere with your ability set an opt out cookie. If you would like to use WebChoices to state your preferences against companies participating in this tool, set your browser to accept third party and first party cookies.
Does opting out stop participating companies from collecting any data?
No. Opting out for a particular browser tells the participating companies to stop engaging in interest-based advertising and other applicable data practices under the DAA Program. Advertisements not based on interest data – including those based on general location or registration data – will continue to be delivered to the browser.
After you opt out, participating companies and the Websites you visit may continue to collect and use information for other purposes. For example, participating companies may still collect and use advertising data to measure the number of ads served for a particular campaign, to limit the number of times a particular ad is served to a unique browser, for security, or to prevent fraud. In some cases, automated systems will continue to collect other data about browser visits but that data should no longer be used to deliver interest-based advertising to the user.
In addition, data may be collected and used by participating companies and Websites for a variety of purposes unrelated to advertising, including the operation of online products and services, or where the data has or will within a reasonable period of time from collection go through a de-identification process.
How does the DAA Program apply to advertising technologies other than HTTP cookies?
The DAA’s Principles promote enhanced transparency and control across the variety of online platforms used by consumers, and are adaptable to changes in the technologies through which participating companies collect data covered by the Program. The DAA Principles apply to all technologies companies employ to collect data about consumers’ web-surfing activity in order to serve them ads based on interests inferred from that activity.
The BBB’s Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability program, one of the DAA’s two independent accountability partners, has issued enforcement guidance clarifying that application of DAA Principles to all technologies, including flash cookies among other technologies.
Will WebChoices work if my browser is set to block cookies?
No. Your browser must be set to accept third-party cookies in order WebChoices to properly display status results and to set opt-out preferences for your browser. The following links show how to adjust the browser settings of commonly used browsers:
- Internet Explorer: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17442(Windows 7, 8 and 10)
- Firefox: https://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/enable-and-disable-cookies-website-preferences
- Chrome: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95647?hl=en
- Safari: https://support.apple.com/guide/safari/manage-cookies-and-website-data-sfri11471/mac (MacOS Sierra)
Safari and Firefox browser users may experience default settings that currently interfere with how cookies work, and must first reset to accept cookies before using WebChoices. This includes the opt-out cookies set by the WebChoices tool for participating companies. To set your choices preferences successfully through WebChoices while using Safari, please go to your device’s settings and tap the following: “Safari > Preferences > Privacy”; and uncheck “Prevent cross-site tracking.” After you change this setting, go back to WebChoices and run the tool again.
Does using WebChoices on one device or browser set preferences for every computer or device that I use?
No. The opt-out preferences set by WebChoices are associated with the browser and device that you use to set those preferences, not with all the browsers and devices that you use collectively as an individual. When you use a different browser, or a different device, you will need to revisit WebChoices to review your status and set your preferences for that browser and device. In addition, for apps in the mobile environment, you will need to separately set preferences for each different device you use. Please visit our AppChoices tool for cross-app data collection choice.
Additionally, there are cross-device protections when using WebChoices (or AppChoices). Setting a WebChoices opt-out on a particular device or browser does prevent data collection on that device or browser for interest-based advertising from being used on another device or browser elsewhere. Additionally, data collected on other devices or browsers for interest-based advertising may not be applied on any device or browser where a WebChoices (or AppChoices) opt-out has been applied.
Where can I find out more detail about the participating companies?
Each of the companies participating in the DAA WebChoices or AppChoices tools furnishes information about its business and privacy practices. This information can include additional privacy preference management tools for other services provided by the company, or ad interest managers. To review the information provided by a particular participating company, click on the company name listed in WebChoices or in AppChoices.
Do these FAQs address every business practice and technology used by companies participating in the DAA Program?
The goal of these FAQs is to provide an easy-to-read overview of the key aspects of the DAA Program and its choice tools. While we don’t cover every aspect of the program in this FAQ, the full DAA Principles provide detailed commentary on the coverage of the Program and the responsibilities of participants. Given the rapidly changing technology environment, we may need to update this page from time to time, so please check back for additional information on the Program.
About DAA’s AppChoices: what it does – and doesn’t – do
How do I exercise an interest-based advertising choice using AppChoices?
To opt out for a particular company, set the Choice Status button located next to a participating company’s logo to “Off.” Select “Choose All” to opt out from all the listed companies within the AppChoices application.
Important things to remember about opt outs made through AppChoices follow in this Q&A..
What is the scope of a choice made using AppChoices?
Any opt-out choice made using AppChoices on a device applies to interest-based advertising and other applicable uses of cross-app data on that same device by companies participating in AppChoices. You may still receive other types of advertising – generic ads -- in your apps from companies participating in AppChoices, and those companies may still collect information for other purposes consistent with the DAA Principles.
Your mobile operating system (such as iOS or Android) may provide you with other tools for the control of app advertising customization, including for companies that do not participate in AppChoices.
Your opt-out choices also will apply to the collection and use of data from apps on a device to customize ads in other browsers or devices by participating companies. Additionally, these choices will apply to data collected by participating companies from other browsers or devices for use in apps on a device for interest-based advertising and other applicable uses. Thus, using AppChoices on any given device prevents cross-app data collection for interest-based advertising from entering or exiting the device.
What happens if I reset the advertising ID of my mobile devices’s settings – will it have any impact on the choices I’ve made using AppChoices?
Yes. If you use your settings to reset this device’s mobile operating system advertising ID, you will also need to reset the preferences you had selected previously in AppChoices. Simply, reopen the AppChoices app, and reset your choices – for each participating company or all participating companies -- accordingly.
Do the choices I make on AppChoices affect data collection for interest-based advertising when using mobile and desktop browsers on the same device?
No. To separately make choices about customized advertising for a Web browser on any one device or browser (such as Chrome, Safari) please visit DAA’s WebChoices using your browser of choice. This step may be repeated for each device and browser you may use.
I’ve set my preferences using AppChoices – why am I still seeing ads inside apps?
AppChoices is designed to halt cross-app data collection to serve interest-based ads. In place of interest-based ads, generic ads are served so that the app content you are accessing can be paid for by advertising.
How to Use the DAA’s WebChoices Consumer Choice Tool (Tutorial)
The WebChoices Consumer Choice Tool allows you to choose whether or not you receive interest-based advertising from companies participating in the Self-Regulatory Program. You can (1) learn which participating companies have currently enabled customized ads for your browser; (2) make choices about the collection of Web viewing data for interest-based advertising and other applicable uses under the DAA Principles, from some or all participating WebChoices companies; and (3) find out which companies have already set an opt-out cookie in your browser. You may choose to opt-out from one or more participating companies, or opt out from all participating companies with a single click.
- The Initial Experience: Landing Page and Processes
- Opting Out: Your Choices and Step-by-Step Instructions
- The Final Step: Requesting Opt Outs
- Unavailable Statuses, Incomplete Requests, and What You Can Do About Them
1. The Initial Experience: Landing Page and Processes
When you visit WebChoices, you will see an image similar to the one below showing that the tool is performing an initial check of your browser for quality of connectivity and cookie permissions:
WebChoices checks your browser settings and your computer to identify: (1) whether first-party and third-party cookies are enabled; (2) which participating companies, if any, are currently customizing ads for your browser; and (3) the participating companies, if any, for which you've already set an opt out. After the status check completes, you'll see the following, with results specific for your browser:
2 Opting Out: Your Choices and Step-by-Step Instructions
a. Opting Out of Individual Companies
Once the status check is complete you'll see the “Customizing Ads For Your Browser” column, which shows the participating companies that have currently enabled interest-based ads for your browser, indicated by “Yes” and “No.” The column on the left - “Company” - shows all the participating companies in this cross-industry program in alphabetical order. The column on the right - “Opt Out?” - shows which participating companies have already set an opt-out setting for your browser.
You can click on a company’s name to learn more about its practices. To opt out from one or more participating companies, simply check the box corresponding to the company’s name and click on the “Submit your choices” button. If a check mark appears in “Opt Out?” column, an opt-out setting from that company has already been set for your browser.
b. Opting Out of All Companies with a Single Click
If you prefer to set an opt-out preference under the DAA Principles for all participating companies, then you may click the “OPT OUT OF ALL” button located at the bottom of the pane.
3. The Final Step: Requesting Opt Outs
When you click on the “SUBMIT YOUR CHOICES” or “OPT OUT OF ALL” button, a similar image to the following will appear:
This indicates WebChoices processing your opt-out requests in real time. Once your opt-out request(s) are submitted to the participating companies, an overlay box will indicate whether or not all of your opt-out requests completed successfully.
WebChoices makes it easy to find out about participating companies that provide interest-based advertising, and to make choices about whether to receive these types of ads in your browser.
4. Unavailable Statuses, Incomplete Requests, and What You Can Do About Them
Users of WebChoices will sometimes receive messages indicating that status information for one or more participating companies is not available, or that one or more opt-out requests were not completed. In either case, repeating the request may address the issue – since the opt-out requests are happening in real time: you can refresh the WebChoices tool to re-check for status, or use “TRY AGAIN” to repeat your opt-out request(s) for some or all companies. Status and opt-out issues that involve a significant number of participating companies may indicate that your browser or its settings are affecting the opt-out process.
If the status of one or more companies is listed as unavailable, then you will see a version of the following image specific to your browser:
You can click on “More Information” for more information about interest-based advertising. You can also see the companies for which status information was not completed by reviewing the top of the company listing at the “Company” column. You can also see which opt-out requests were not completed on the WebChoices landing page, if any, by inspecting for unchecked boxes under the “Opt Out?” column.
For more detailed information about the Status Check and Incomplete Opt Outs, including computer and software requirements, and warnings, click “Need help?”
WebChoices Status Checks, Opt-Out Issues and Warnings
Support for issues you may experience using WebChoices for interest-based ad control
This FAQ section provides support for technical issues directly related to the functionality of the WebChoices consumer choice tool, as well as answers to frequently asked questions related to functionality. Before using WebChoices, please consider the following:
- If your browser blocks third-party cookies, then it may interfere with the functionality of this tool and stop your opt-out choices from being set in your browser. Learn more.
- When status is unavailable for a company, or an opt-out request is not completed, it is logged and reported automatically. Therefore, it is not necessary for you to report these events.
- If you received a significant number of reports of status unavailable or opt outs not completed, then it is likely that software or settings on your computer are interfering with the function of the opt-out tool. Learn more.
- If you received only a small number of errors, then this may indicate a temporary issue with those particular companies’ opt outs. Please try again in a few hours or a few days.
- Firewalls, proxies, ad-blockers, anti-virus programs, or web browser settings often are configured such that they interfere with the ability of participating companies to check a web browser's status, or to set opt out cookies. Try to identify which software or setting is the problem, and then adjust it. Having third-party cookies blocked is the most common cause – see Q&A regarding Cookie Settings and WebChoices.
Please disable this/these software and settings before requesting your WebChoices opt-out requests. Such software actually interferes with your opt-out requests.
WebChoices Status Checks
Users of WebChoices will sometimes receive messages indicating that the status for one or more particular companies is “Status Unavailable,” or in the “DAA WEBCHOICES RESULTS” overlay that one or more opt-out requests did not complete.
When you receive such an error message, you should retry WebChoices by clicking on the “TRY AGAIN” button in the “DAA WEBCHOICES RESULTS” overlay or by refreshing the page which will reload the tool, and – upon your second opt-out request, seek to repeat the opt-out procedure for the list of one or more companies which were not successful in the initial attempt. If you still experience errors, see the information below about possible causes of errors.
If you have errors for multiple companies, then the likely cause is that software or settings on your computer may be interfering with WebChoices, or that your system may not meet the technical requirements for using WebChoices. See the explanations below.
Technical requirements for the WebChoices are not met:
- an internet connection (slow connections, or connections behind firewalls or proxies, may experience difficulties);
- desktop web browser (Internet Explorer 7 and higher, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari);
- a browser that accepts both first- and third-party cookies; and
You must be connected to the internet to use WebChoices. Certain proxy, firewall, VPN, ad blockers, or other configurations may interfere with the functionality of WebChoices. If you experience a high number of unsuccessful “opt outs” or “status unavailable” notices while using WebChoices, then the error likely may be caused by any number of technical issues discussed here:
- You may experience difficulties with WebChoices if you have a very slow Internet connection.
- When you receive an error message, you should first try the operation again -- either reload the page for status, or re-submit your opt-out choices using “TRY AGAIN.” If you still have errors, then continue troubleshooting as described here.
- If you have errors for multiple companies, the likely cause is that software or settings on your computer are interfering with the WebChoices opt-out tool, or that your system does not meet the technical requirements for using WebChoices. Continue troubleshooting here.
- Technical requirements for WebChoices are not met: Check that your system meets the aforementioned technical requirements for using WebChoices
- Software or settings on a user's computer interfere with WebChoices: Firewalls, proxies, anti-virus programs, ad blockers, or web-browser settings – such as those of Safari or Firefox – often are configured such that they interfere with the ability of participating companies to check a web browser's status, or to set an opt-out choice via cookies. Try to identify which software or setting is the problem, and then adjust it. Having third-party cookies blocked is the most common cause.
- Temporary network problems: Temporary network problems can sometimes interfere with WebChoices. Wait a while, and then try the tool again.
- Temporary issues with a company's availability status or opt-out function: If you have only one, or a small number of errors, it is possible that the affected participating companies are experiencing a temporary technical issue. WebChoices automatically logs these errors. When the logs indicate a technical issue with one of the participating companies, we will work with the affected company to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Even if you believe such an issue is the cause of the errors you have received, you should rule out the other possible causes, and try to opt out again in a few hours or a few days.
Software or settings on a user's computer interfere with WebChoices
Firewalls, proxies, anti-virus programs, ad blockers, certain add-ons and browser extensions, or web browser settings often are configured such that they interfere with the ability of participating companies to check a web browser's status, or to set opt-out cookies. Try to identify which software or setting is the problem, and then adjust it. Having third-party cookies blocked is the most common cause -- see more information on “Warnings” below.
Temporary network problems
Temporary network problems can sometimes interfere with WebChoices. Wait a while, and then try the tool again.
Temporary issues with a company's status or opt-out function
If you have only one, or a small number of errors, then it is possible that the affected participating companies are experiencing a temporary technical issue. WebChoices automatically logs these errors. When the logs indicate a technical issue with one of the participating companies, we will work with the affected company to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Even if you believe such an issue is the cause of the errors you have received, you should rule out the other possible causes, and try to opt out again in a few hours or a few days.
Warnings Regarding WebChoices Opt-Out Failures
A variety of technical issues that may lead to WebChoices opt-out request failures may be traced to the following:
Potential Cause: A Particular Version of a Web Browser is Not Supported
Troubleshoot: WebChoices is intended for recent versions of the most widely-used desktop and mobile Web browsers, including Internet Explorer 7 and higher, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. For example, Internet Explorer 6 is not supported. If you use Internet Explorer 6, then you may experience problems with the display and functionality of the WebChoices tool. We recommend that you upgrade to Internet Explorer 7 or later, or use another supported browser.
Safari and the most recent versions of Firefox are set by default to block third-party cookies, which must be enabled for WebChoices to function as designed. Please visit your Safari and Firefox browser settings to accept or allow third-party cookies.
In an app environment, where browsers do not apply, WebChoices is not the proper choice tool for controlling in-app interest-based advertising. When using apps, choose AppChoices to control data collection and use for interest-based advertising there.
Potential Cause: Cookies Not Enabled
Troubleshoot: Cookies are small text files stored in your web browser that save information associated with particular websites or domains. In order to function, the successful use of WebChoices requires that both first-party and third-party cookies be enabled in your web browser.
Note: Apple's Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox web browser disable third-party cookies by default. Visit the browser settings for each to reset the privacy setting related to third-party (and first-party) cookie acceptance.
First-party cookies are those set by the sites you visit on the internet (in this case, the WebChoices consumer choice tool and its companion YourAdChoices.com website). Cookies must be enabled so that participating companies can check your web browser's to determine if interest-based advertising is enabled, and so that your requested opt-outs requests using WebChoices can be set with particular companies.
Third-party cookies are those set by web services providers other than the website you are visiting. These "third-party" services providers furnish widgets, advertisements, or other content to the web page you are visiting. On WebChoices, all of the participating companies in the cross-industry program are treated as third parties, and therefore third-party cookies must be enabled in order for the companies to be able to report your status and to set your requested opt outs successfully.