Yahoo Ad Interest Manager FAQ
- What kind of information do you use to create interest categories?
We use information about your use of our services, including pages you have recently visited on Yahoo, ads you have viewed and clicked on Yahoo or that we have delivered to you on other websites, some of the searches you have conducted with Yahoo, and analysis of communications content. The information goes into computer-based algorithmic systems that help us to make an educated guess about your interests.
- Does the information about opt-out and interest categories apply to other websites and ad networks or just to Yahoo?
These preferences apply only to the Yahoo advertising network. Yahoo serves ads both on Yahoo and on many other websites. Other ad networks may also serve ads on Yahoo, but these preferences do not apply to these other ad networks. To see which ad networks serve ads on Yahoo, visit our page about Third Party and Affiliate Cookies on Yahoo. You can also see many other opt-out choices by visiting the NAI page.
- What does “persistent” mean and how is this related to the opt-out?
This opt-out is automatically persistent if you are logged in when you enable it. Persistence means the opt-out will be refreshed each time you sign in to Yahoo, and that it will apply across multiple browsers and devices used to access Yahoo. If you aren’t sure about whether you are logged in, you should log in again before returning to the opt-out page.
- What are interest categories as they relate to Yahoo Mail?
To make our ads more relevant and useful for you, Yahoo may make educated guesses about your interests based on your activity on our sites and services. When you use Yahoo Mail, our automated systems analyze your communications and also the content sent and received from your account to detect, among other things, certain words and phrases (we call them “keywords”) within these communications. In addition to using the keywords to show you contextually relevant content and ads, these keywords may also contribute to our understanding of things that interest you. These interest categories are displayed in Ad Interest Manager.
- What if I don’t want advertising based on the analysis of my communications content?
You can opt out of receiving interest-based advertising on Ad Interest Manager (accessible across the Yahoo network). If you do, then Yahoo’s automated systems will not analyze your communications content sent and received from your account for such purposes. By opting out of advertising based on analysis of communications content, however, you will also be opting out of other Yahoo services such as receiving interest-based ads, receiving contextually relevant ads within Yahoo Mail, receiving contextually relevant content, and more.
- What if I declare specific interests with Yahoo?
Opting-out of interest-based advertising and content through Ad Interest Manager will not remove the interests you have selected within the declared interest management tools (where available) on Yahoo. Regardless of your choices within Ad Interest Manager, your declared interests will continue to inform the content and ads that are shown to you. If you don’t wish to receive ads or content based on your declared interests, where declared interests are available, simply remove all declared interests from your declared interest management tools.
- How do you determine which interest categories I am able to see and edit?
We show you standard interest categories for which you are eligible to receive customized ads. Interest categories are based on a “scoring” system that categorizes many of your page views, page clicks, ad views, ad clicks, and searches. When a certain threshold is reached, you are eligible to receive ads that are associated with those interest categories.
In addition, advertisers ask Yahoo to create custom interest categories specifically for them. For example, they may wish to show ads only to people who have visited a specific page on their site or have searched for a specific keyword or words. These custom categories do not appear in our Ad Interest Manager. But if you choose to opt out of interest-based advertising, you will not receive any interest or search based ads for any interest category.
- My AIM shows nothing and I’m not opted-out, why?
There are several reasons AIM may display no history for your web browser. First, interest category placement only lasts for a short-period of time (exact time depends on the specific category), so if you’ve not had any recent activity at Yahoo in a particular category AIM will no longer display that interest category for your web browser. Second, AIM is based on your web browser cookie, so if you clear your Yahoo cookies on a regular basis, this could explain why you have no active interest categories.
- My AIM shows unexpected categorization, why?
Interest categorization is driven by multiple factors: searches, property activity, and ad interaction. As interest categorization is computer driven, the system attempts to take your collective activities and equate those to a suspected interest in a particular topic. Sometimes the system receives too little information to accurately determine your interests or the information it is provided may lead it to think you have multiple interests based on ambiguous meanings in the information provided. For example, a search on “Lake Placid” could mean interest in the travel destination, the Olympics, or even in horror movies (Betty White starred in “Lake Placid” - a film about a monstrous alligator). As your activities increase across Yahoo properties, our systems should improve their ability to predict your interests and enhance the relevance of the content and advertising you experience.
- Can ad interests be based on my searches?
Yahoo may base interest categorization on your search terms in combination with page views and ad interactions – or separately – to determine your ad interests and provide relevant ads based on those interests.
- I see 10 categories in my Ad Interest Manager. If I opt out of 5, will I only get interest-based ads in the 5 categories that remain?
Ad Interest Manager is a powerful tool that allows you to indicate and store advertising choices but also provides a view into what is used for other forms of advertising customization wherever Yahoo serves ads. Once you opt out of an interest category you will no longer receive interest-based advertising for that interest category. There are, however, some custom interest categories that do not appear in the Ad Interest Manager tool. In addition, Yahoo shows categories of searches and page views and topics on Yahoo that might be used for ad customization that you cannot opt out of individually today. If you want to ensure you are opted out of ALL interest-based customization, you should opt out using the large opt-out button on the page.
- What does “high,” “medium,” and “low” mean when you are summarizing my observed activities?
These are relative measures of activity. For example, if you visit Yahoo Sports less frequently than the average Sports visitor, you will register as a “low” frequency visitor. If you visit more often than the average Sports visitor, you will be shown as a “high” frequency visitor.
- Do you target kids who are under the age of 13 with interest-based advertising?
No, Yahoo’s ad serving systems do not use information about visitors we know to be under the age of 13 to target interest-based advertising. We also do not create categories intended to target kids under the age of 13.
- Do you use sensitive health information for interest-based advertising?
Health is a broad category with many subcategories. We believe that all health categories are not the same, so we examine each individually. Some types of health conditions, such as sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, cancer, and mental health disorders, do not have interest categories represented in our advertising systems. Others, like cold and flu, dental, heartburn, and allergies do have interest categories represented in our advertising systems.
If you would like to receive information based on sensitive categories such as some health-related conditions, where available, you can select those interests in your interest management tools. This declaration is a signal to us that you are explicitly interested in this category as a subject for both content and advertising. Where declared interests are available, de-selecting a subject from the media interest tray in the your declared interest management tools will turn the experience off for that subject.
- Do you share my interest categories with advertisers or other websites?
No. But an airline advertiser might want to show ads for vacation destinations to Yahoo visitors who have shown an interest in those destinations. The advertiser gives us information about the audience they would like to reach. We show their ad on our sites and across our ad network to people who match the characteristics they have given us. We do not share lists of users with advertisers or other websites when an advertiser works with us on a customized ad campaign.
- Where did you get the demographics (age, gender) that you are showing?
In many cases, the age and gender reflect the general demographics of the last person signed in on your computer. If your computer is used by multiple family members or if you are at an Internet café or library, we don’t store or display this information. We obtain information about your location through various methods such as when you register for a Yahoo ID or when you have entered a location into Yahoo Maps. We may use this information to customize the ads you see both on Yahoo and other websites. For more information about how Yahoo obtains information about your location, please visit our Yahoo Location privacy page. To manage your location settings, please visit our Location Management Page.
- Can I opt out of ads entirely?
No. Like most websites, Yahoo is supported by advertising. The majority of the products and services we offer, such as web-based email with unlimited storage, photo sharing on Flickr, Yahoo News and Finance, and many other services, are largely free of charge to you because we display advertising. Other websites also partner with Yahoo to show ads on their sites to support what they offer.
- I’ve opted out of a lot of categories and now it looks like I am opted out of everything on the page. Why?
Our systems can record and support up to eight interest-category opt-outs. If you have more than eight categories of interests shown and choose to remove eight of them, we will assume you don’t want to receive any interest-based ads.
- I don’t accept third-party cookies in my browser. Can I still opt out?
If your browser does not accept third-party cookies or if you have a browser with specific privacy controls that you have edited to delete cookies after each session, you may not be able to opt out. Opt-outs rely on cookies to operate. But this should not concern you, because not accepting third-party cookies or allowing only session cookies prevents advertising customization.
- Sometimes my opt-out choice seems to disappear. Do I have to opt out over and over?
Opt-outs are cookie based, so you can inadvertently delete them when you delete cookies on your browser or if you have antispyware software installed that deletes cookies regularly. If you have a Yahoo account, you can associate your opt-out with your account so that it is refreshed each time you sign in to Yahoo. There are other tools available that will restore opt-out cookies that you can install for your browser.
- If I delete my cookies, will my opt-out choice be deleted too?
Yes, if you do not use the persistent opt-out that can be associated with a Yahoo account. You'll have to check the opt-out page from time to time to ensure your opt-out is still active. But if you have enabled the persistent opt-out, your choice will be maintained. The opt-out will be reset the next time you sign in.
- Do I need to have a Yahoo account to opt out?
No, you can opt out without having a Yahoo account or without signing in to your account. Just click the opt-out button. You will need to opt out separately for each browser that you use and check back from time to time to ensure that your opt-out was not deleted. This is a bit more work for you, so if you have a Yahoo account, we encourage you to use the persistent opt-out feature.
- Can I undo my opt-out if I want more relevant ads?
Yes, you can simply change your choice on our Ad Interest Manager page.
- When do my Yahoo cookies expire and what kind of cookies are they?
Yahoo’s policy is that an opt-out cookie expires 20 years after the date it was set. All other Yahoo cookies should expire two years after they are set.
- How long does Yahoo keep interest categories and the data used to create them?
Ad customization categories are a rolling average of a person’s interest. This means they change over time based on a person’s most recent activity on Yahoo. Most categories have a lifespan of anywhere from a few days to a few months. We tend to believe people are more likely to be interested in ads that reflect more recent visits and activity. For more information, please visit our "The Life of an Ad Interest" blog post.
Prefer not to receive advertising based on your interests? Learn about your ability to opt out of interest-matched advertising served by Yahoo.