Ad Interest Manager FAQ

  1. 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, ads you have viewed and clicked, 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.

  2. 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. Learn more about Third Parties we work with. Visit the Network Advertising Initiative (US) and the Digital Advertising Alliance Ad Choices - DAA (US), EDAA (EU), DAAC (Canada), ADAA (AU/NZ) to see your opt-out choices from other participating companies.

  3. 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.

  4. 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. When you use Yahoo Mail, our automated systems analyze your communications 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 standard interest categories are displayed in Ad Interest Manager.

  5. What if I don’t want advertising based on the analysis of my communications content?

    Please select the “On Yahoo” tab and opt-out to tell Yahoo’s automated systems to not analyze your communications content sent and received from your account for such purposes.

  6. 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, searches, and communications keywords. 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 specific keywords. These custom categories do not appear in our Ad Interest Manager. But if you choose to opt out of interest-based advertising via the “Across the web” tab, you will not receive any interest or search based ads for any interest category.

  7. My AIM shows nothing and I’m not opted-out, why?

    There are several reasons AIM may display no history for your browser or device. 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 browser or device. Second, AIM is based on your web browser cookie or device identifier, so if you clear your Yahoo cookies or rotate your device identifier on a regular basis, this could explain why you have no active interest categories.

  8. My AIM shows unexpected categorization, why?

    Interest categorization is driven by multiple factors: searches, property activity, communications keywords, and ad interaction. As standard 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 with Yahoo increases, both on Yahoo or across the web, our systems should improve their ability to predict your interests and enhance the relevance of the advertising you see.

  9. 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. Some personalization from search results can be managed through the Search History tool.

  10. 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 standard interest category. There are, however, some custom interest categories that do not appear in the Ad Interest Manager tool. If you want to ensure you are opted out of ALL interest-based ad personalization, you should opt out using the large opt-out buttons on the page -- one under the “Across the web” tab and the other in the “on Yahoo” tab..

  11. 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 standard categories intended to target kids under the age of 13.

  12. Do you use sensitive health information for interest-based advertising?

    Health is a broad category with many subcategories. We believe 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, allergies, and other over-the-counter remedy related afflictions do have interest categories represented in our advertising systems.

  13. 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 Yahoo’s 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.

  14. 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 device. If your device 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.

  15. Can I opt out of ads entirely?

    No. Like most sites and apps, Yahoo is supported by advertising. The majority of the products and services we offer, such as Yahoo Mail, photo sharing on Flickr, Yahoo News and Finance, and many others, are largely free of charge to you because we display advertising. Other sites and apps also partner with Yahoo to show ads on their sites to support what they offer.

  16. 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 remove eight or more of the interest categories shown to you, we will assume you don’t want to receive any interest-based ads.

  17. 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 within browsers. But this should not concern you, because not accepting third-party cookies or allowing only session cookies prevents interest-based advertising in many cases.

  18. Sometimes my opt-out choice seems to disappear. Do I have to opt out over and over?

    Opt-outs may be associated with cookies stored in your browser or may be available as a preference within the settings on your device. Deleting your cookies or using some anti-spyware software may impact your opt-outs. 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. Learn more about managing opt-outs for your browsers and mobile devices.

  19. If I delete my cookies or rotate my device advertising ID, 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.

    If you are using a mobile device and have not logged into Yahoo, you will be able to manage your opt-out from the settings on your device.

  20. 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.

  21. Can I undo my opt-out if I want more relevant ads?

    Yes, you can simply update your choices on our Ad Interest Manager page.

  22. When do my Yahoo cookies expire and what kind of cookies are they?

    Yahoo hosts a record of your opt-out on our servers associated with a Yahoo cookie ID. Yahoo cookie IDs expire within 1 year if you do not interact with Yahoo. If you continue to interact with Yahoo, your cookie expiration may continue to be extended 1 year from the last interaction. Read more about Yahoo’s use of cookies.

  23. 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. 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.