Better Advertising Acquires Ghostery

Jan 19, 2010 By Adam DeMartino
Today I'm very happy to announce that Better Advertising has acquired Ghostery from its founder, David Cancel. Ghostery and Better Advertising came together for one reason: a shared mission. We are both committed to giving people transparency into how they are tracked and targeted online, and providing them with the control over their privacy that they deserve. We are both proponents of privacy by design, and have agreed to keep the information that we collect private, never using it for advertising purposes. In case you aren’t familiar with it, Ghostery is a free browser extension, currently designed as a Firefox Add-On, which identifies the companies who are tracking you on every site you visit. Ghostery is growing really fast. It averages over 17,000 new downloads per week, with a total of 2,000,000 downloads in less than a year. It’s important to know that this kind of “3rd party tracking” is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, one of the first things you will realize after downloading Ghostery is that just about all of the most trustworthy sites you visit everyday rely on 3rd party tracking to improve the services they provide and deliver more relevant advertising. The point of Ghostery is to give consumers transparency into, and control over, who tracks them. More about Ghostery here. What this means for the Ghostery community: In sum, the original principles of Ghostery will remain unchanged, but we are adding a more robust product roadmap. Ghostery has been wonderfully managed by David as a non-commercial information tool. That focus will continue. We will also be extending the power of Ghostery for current users (thank you for your feedback!) and expanding the reach of Ghostery to new platforms. But, again, the data will not be used for anything like targeting or advertising. Why did we buy Ghostery? Better Advertising will use data shared voluntarily by Ghostery users to understand the compliance and non-compliance of companies with the industry's self regulatory principles. With Ghostery, Better Advertising can provide companies and industry associations with a complete view of OBA usage. This makes complying easier for companies, and furthers our mission of providing a more transparent, trusted environment for consumers and advertisers. BTW -- this blog entry also serves as an opportunity to introduce myself publicly as a Better Advertising team member. After nearly 7 years at TRUSTe, creating and managing self regulatory privacy programs on the internet, I couldn't be more proud of my team and what we are working on here at Better Advertising. We are just getting started, but I can tell that this is going to be fun. See David Cancel's note about Ghostery and its new home.  Rafat Ali also covers the acquisition well in this post on

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