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Best Practices for Online Shopping during the Holidays

Best Practices for Online Shopping during the Holidays
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Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for many businesses, especially those in the retail sector, which means their advertising budgets are also much bigger. This is when your ad blocker can really show its worth – helping you to remove the clutter online so you can make decisions that benefit you. To help you navigate this tricky period, here are some of our best practices for online shopping during Christmas.

Don’t let ads spoil your gifts

When you spend some time searching online, ‘targeted’ or ‘interest-based’ ads will likely pop up on social media and search engine platforms such as Instagram and Google. If you share a device with others there’s a good chance these ads could undo all your hard work and spoil the gifts you want to buy.

Using a free, open-source tracker blocker extension like Ghostery gives you more privacy and ensures your search history won’t give brands an easy way to advertise to you online.

Don’t click on search adverts

When you enter a search term into a search engine, the top 4-5 results are usually paid-for ads driven by keywords. They will look almost identical to natural, organic links (look out for the word ‘advertisement’ in the top left of the link result) but they are not as innocent as they seem.

Clicking on these types of links will activate trackers that will target and use information about you to help them make even more money from you – so make sure you don’t give them that option this year.

Use a private search engine

Another great way to take trackers out of the game is to use a private, free search engine. For example, the Ghostery Private Browser gives you a high level of anonymity online, ensuring that no data is collected and shared with third parties.

By using a private search browser, you have far more assurance that your activity is private on the web. You won’t be spied on by ad trackers and other spying entities, which means you can make decisions that are not influenced by third parties trying to sell to you or capture your data for profit.

Avoid tracking heavy websites

Even some of the biggest brands around can have track heavy websites, so it would be helpful if you could be made aware of who will share your data with a lot of third parties. Ghostery Private Search offers the ideal solution for this.

It’s an additional tool built into our web search engine Ghostery Private Browser, which doesn’t log your search history and gives a unique insight into every website before you click it. This allows you to see how many trackers are on the site so you can make a more informed decision about the type of information you want to share online.

Cookie popups can be annoying – even though it is a legal requirement to ask for your consent. Some people worry that blocking cookies will affect their access, which isn’t true in many cases.

You can manually refuse cookie tracking on every website, or Ghostery’s free popup blocker can take this worry away for you. This is done by enabling the ‘Never Consent’ privacy setting for individual websites or for every website, so you’re always in control over who gets your cookie data.

Disable unused extensions

Many browser extensions are known to track your activity, even if they are left dormant and not in use for some time. Even those that appear to be useful can be privately taking your data to use it to their advantage, making money off your likes and preferences without your knowledge.

That’s why it’s good practice to remove unused or unnecessary browser extensions so your data sharing is kept to a minimum, if they are no longer being used.


The web is an ever-expanding space and navigating it safely can prove tricky if you don’t have the right tools in place to safeguard your data.

To enhance your online privacy, try the Ghostery Privacy Suite which will help you block trackers and protect the data of your loved ones. It’s a super-efficient anti-tracking solution that will reduce your digital footprint – giving you more freedom online without being heavily influenced by ad-tech designed to make money off your browsing behavior.

Get in touch with our team if you have any questions - we are always happy to help!