What are "Web Bugs"?

Question

What are Web Bugs?

Answer

This question was answered on September 29, 2000. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

A Web bug is a graphic on a Web page or in an Email message that is designed to monitor who is reading the Web page or Email message Web bugs are often invisible because they are typically only 1-by-1 pixel in size They are represented as HTML IMG tags The word "bug" is being used to denote a small, eavesdropping device It is not a euphemism for a programming error.

Rather than the term "Web bugs," the Internet advertising community prefers the more sanitized term "clear GIF" Web bugs are also known as "1-by-1 GIFs","invisible GIFs", and "beacon GIFs."

Ad networks can use Web bugs to add information to a personal profile of what sites a person is visiting The personal profile is identified by the browser cookie of an ad network At some later time, this personal profile which is stored in a data base server belonging to the ad network, determines what banner ad one is shown.

Another use of Web bugs is to provide an independent accounting of how many people have visited a particular Web site.

Web bugs are also used to gather statistics about Web browser usage at different places on the Internet.

To learn more about Web Bugs, go to:

<a href="http://www.privacyfoundation.org/education/webbug.html"><font color="#003399">www.privacyfoundation.org/education/webbug.html</font></a>

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Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on September 29, 2000