Block ads and prevent websites from tracking your online activity, with DoNotTrackPlus

It’s not a secret, and hardly controversial, but no sooner than you visit a webpage than it instantly starts collecting information on your behavior and demographics (e.g. location), and trying to infer your interests.

If you want to block this activity, or if you merely want to know which scripts or services are tracking you, then DoNotTrackPlus, a free extension for Chrome, Firefox, IE and Safari, is for you.

DoNotTrackPlus is a browser tool that detects and blocks tracking scripts of analytics software, social networks, and data collection companies.

It will block some but not all ads (although it is effective against annoying popup ads), and can potentially make sites load faster.

DNT  Screenshot1

How DNT+ works:

DNT+ sets opt-out cookies for all tracking services that the DNT+ developers know of, it sends a so called “DoNotTrack HTTP header” which can instruct services not to track (if they choose to accept it), and finally it blocks activity which looks like tracking requests. It is kind of like a viruskiller; it stops known tracking services via cookies, and tries to stop others by observing what they do.

But note that DNT+ does NOT deliver anonymous browsing. The information your IP collects on the site you visit is unaffected by DNT+. If you want anonymous browsing, some of the these articles might help you.

DNT  Screenshot3DNT  Screenshot2

To track or not to track:

As a website owner I will say one thing: I am not a proponent of maximum anonymity online or offline. I do not fantasize about wearing a mask and hoodie when I buy my coffee at the local Starbucks, and my very livelihood and ability to keep writing this blog depends on the ads on this website (which is actually in question ever since I was hit by Google’s Panda update). One thing I do not understand is why it is desirable to block this data collection completely; it certainly helps me, as a website owner, to know what the reader typed in Google to get to my site, and that certain of my articles are more popular than others (if I collect data on what people are reading), and that my site is popular in a certain country or state, and that the ads on my site are more likely to be relevant to the readers’ interests.

That said, I understand that people feel that too much information is being collected on what they are doing online, and too many ads are being directed their way. If this is how you feel then this software is for you.

PROS: The argument for using DoNotTrackPlus:

  • It prevents tracking services from collecting data on your behavior on certain sites (again, I am not sure why this is so exciting).
  • It removes some ads, especially annoying popups / popunders
  • As a by-product of the second point above, sites will actually load faster
  • You can customize it to allow tracking from certain sites, on a site-by-site basis
  • You can still use social sharing buttons if and when you want. Simply click on said buttons once to activate them, then click again to share.

CONS: The argument for NOT using DoNotTrackPlus

  • Tracking is not necessarily bad. If I know your interests, I know what to serve you. And I do not mean just ads, but what content to create tomorrow. It works the same way in the offline world as well.
  • Some sites will not work properly if certain scripts are blocked. If this is the case, you can allow the site individually as mentioned above.
  • Some sites (like this one) depend on ads for their survival. I just had to put that in there Winking smile

DNT+ in action: see video below

The verdict:

This is excellent software that delivers what it promises very well. If privacy is what you seek then by all means you should check it out. However, you should be aware that DNT+ does not provide anonymous browsing.

If there one thing that I would wish for, though, it would be the ability to enable DNT+ in Chrome’s incognito mode WITHOUT having it enabled in  the normal browser mode (i.e. ON in incognito mode, but OFF in normal browsing mode); this is because in incognito mode I know that I am going to visit dubious or risky sites and sites that I do not want tracking me. For all other sites, I want a normal surfing experience thank you very much.

If you want another free alternative to DNT+ check out check out ‘Ghostery’ (and if you’ve had the opportunity to use both, please share your experiences in the comments section).

Visit  the DoNotTrackPlus page to get the latest version (Chrome, Firefox, IE and Safari).


 
 
 
Samer Kurdi

Samer Kurdi

Has been reviewing software since 2006 when he started Freewaregenius.com
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  • http://alanbrandtconsulting.com Alan

    Hello Samer:

    I appreciate the depth and breadth you have infused in this brief article about “Do Not Track Plus.”

    I also appreciate your disclosure and examination of the PRO’s and CON’s from both the visitor’s perspective as well as the website owner’s.

    I find your FreewareGenius.com to be a constant valuable and educational read as a former Software Apps & Eval Consultant and current Google Page-One Ranking and CPA/CPS marketer.

    Thank you… sincerely!
    Alan

  • Fayazdo

    So far, I have yet to encounter a track-me-not add-on that actually works. Add-ons like Beef Taco, Better Privacy, Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on, and many others, are built on the idea that both sides play a honest game. But they don’t.

    Advertisers will agree to respect Internet users opting-out, and even set up special websites where you can submit you’re opting out. But in the final analysis, done by opening up my cookies list through the Firefox > Options > Privacy > Remove Individual Cookies tool, they’re still all in there. The cookies I opted out from are in the place they shouldn’t be.

    Despite add-ons like Do Not Track Plus.

    I say: If you want a faster Internet experience just get rid of all the anti-tracking cookies add-ons and accept that you’re owned by big corporate life.

  • Torin

    Isn’t this the same thing as the NoScript addon?

  • http://portablefreeware.com webfork

    > Some sites (like this one) depend on ads for their survival. I just had to put that in there

    I loathe advertisements, but I love your site. Is there some way I can do something to pay you back without having to:

    A. Look at something almost never relevant to my interests
    B. Getting tracked by the only-getting-more-creepy interweb advertising companies

    Also, if memory serves, I think NoScript/Adblock Plus have a whitelist function so you can open yourself up to websites you like. Does DNT+?

    Also, thanks for highlighting a product that might hurt your site because it ultimately might benefit your users. That’s pretty awesome.

  • Indian

    For the interest of all and author,
    I have tried both Do Not Track Plus and Ghostery.
    Found Ghostery does better job than DNT+, Both at the cost of high CPU usage.
    Tried this on IRON Browser- one of the variants of Chrome browser with Google Tracking removed.

  • http://carbonize.co.uk Carbonize

    Like Indian I to have used Ghostery but it uses far to much resources. Then I discovered that AdBlock Plus has a privacy filter list you can use that blocks tracking from web bugs etc.

    https://easylist.adblockplus.org/en/

  • http://www.apps4share.com/ avi

    thanks .. i also love Do Not Track Plus …