About Adalytics' Browser Extension

A crowd-sourced social experiment to improve how the internet does advertising

Every day we use the internet, we see hundreds of digital ads. However, the majority of those ads are not relevant to us. This hurts businesses (by wasting ad spend) and annoys consumers.

A large part of digital advertising infrastructure is built to collect data about consumers and share that data with ad tech companies. This can have a negative impact on consumer privacy, and it is unclear whether all that consumer data gathering actually helps companies target ads more accurately.

Adalytics is a crowd sourced social experiment. We initially want to enable users to view what ads are being sent to them via a browser extension that 'logs', categorizes, and summarizes their ads. This gives a quick insight into how many relevant or irrelevant ads we see as individuals. We also want to enable users to compare their ad experience with other individuals - are the ads you are seeing the same as those your friend sees? Or it there some kind of bias, where only your friend sees luxury brand ads or high-paying executive job ads, but you do not?

Our extension lets you see:

  • categories of your ads - do you see as many Technology, Finance, Health, or Political ads as your friends or co-workers?
  • which ads appear most often - who is targeting with you ads, and how hard are they trying to reach you?
  • ad spend - in certain cases, we can figure out how much an advertiser paid to show you an ad on a particular website. Find out how much you are worth to advertisers and website owners

Long term, we want to see if we can empirically prove that the current paradigm of consumer data collection and ad-targeting needs revisiting, both for moral and business outcome reasons.

Got any ideas or want to try it out?

We are currently in private beta. You can sign up for early access, or reach out to us with any ideas, feedback, or questions. You can see some of the research we have done so far with this extension on our blog.