Why you’re seeing the ads you’re seeing on this blog (and others!) – Q&A Monday

Why you're seeing the ads you're seeing on websites

I had a really great question/comment pop up from a fabulous reader that I wanted to address ASAP! Sometimes I get caught up in the blog world and forget that I should do a better job of explaining how things work, in order to help keep you and your family safe from the fabulous, helpful, expansive, but creepy and potentially dangerous monster called the internet. The question I got recently was from a reader asking why I suddenly have such suggestive and borderline inappropriate ads on my site. GREAT QUESTION! I wanted to take a second to explain how ads work on websites to help you all avoid this same issue, and make sure you don't see anything but fluffy, wonderful ads from here on out! Here's what she said:

I love, love, love your blog and IG feed!You have given me a lot of great ideas to be more frugal-which I love! I just wanted to provide you with some feedback. I really dislike your new ads I have seen in the past couple of days-specifically League of Angels. I think the pictures are very suggestive. I often check out your website while my kids are around-our computer is in our kitchen. I would not want them to see those images. Please reconsider this ad-I totally get needing ads on your we site, but this particular one does not seem to go along with the overall message of your blog. Keep those fun posts coming!!!” – R.K

Here's my response:

“R.K –
Thank you SO MUCH for your feedback! Let me explain how your ads work…they are actually powered through Google, so I have no control over what ads you're seeing on YOUR screen (unfortunately! Darn you, Google!). Google creates the ads specifically for you based on what you're searching for on Google, what you write about in your emails, what you buy, watch online, what ads you click through, what sites you go through, etc. Total “Big Brother” and yes, totally kinda creepy.
Right now when I go to my own site the ads that are showing are for canvas prints and Loreal makeup, most likely because those are things I've posted about/searched/clicked on recently. As you start to shop around/look around online, you'll notice that the ads are customized to you on nearly every site you go to.
So I am SO SORRY! I wish there was something I could do! But ultimately I don't have control over the ads you're seeing. I did set up filters that no pornographic or adult ads would show (hopefully that's working! Any feedback on that anyone?? LMK if so!). Maybe clear all your cookies because maybe you ran across something in a Google search that made them think you wanted to see those ads. If you still have a problem let me know and I'll try to contact Google to see if there is anything they can do. Thanks again for the feedback!!!!!!!!
Jordan “

I found this GREAT ARTICLE that explains how social media targets you, and how to “un-personalize” ads. Please take the time to read it!

So! For everyone who is using a computer and/or has kids/teens using a computer, you need to be aware of what ads are showing, in order to keep the internet as safe as possible for your family.

Leave a comment with any other questions, I hope this clears up a few things for people! Best of luck in that crazy thing we call cyber space.



  1. AvatarCherin @ MasterfullyMe says

    I think that this is something that a lot of people don’t know about. Since I am planning my wedding any site that is using google powered ads always shows me sites like Minted, BHLDHN, Wedding Paper Divas, etc. It can become a little annoying, especially after you become aware of it.

    I hadn’t thought about clearing my browser but I am going to try it tonight. Have a great day

  2. AvatarAnn says

    I just installed an ad blocker (adblockplus.org) for Chrome and now, no more ads – it’s awesome!

  3. AvatarJessie says

    Google Ad sense does give you control over which type of ads are shown on your site and YouTube channel. Log in to your AdSense account and adjust your settings to keep down the inappropriate content.

    • AvatarFunCheapOrFree says

      Yup! That’s what I meant by filters. However, they are VERY limited – it basically lets you eliminate “adult content” but that’s about it. It’s such a bummer that I don’t have more control on my end, but Google basically runs the universe and my blog would cease to exist without the ads. So I filter what I can and cross my fingers for the rest!

  4. AvatarAbbie says

    Thank you so much for writing this! People get so angry about ads, but what they don’t realize is it’s whatever they are looking at! Awesome post 🙂

  5. AvatarMichelle V says

    It is not necessarily exactly what you are looking at though, as I was recently searching for part time jobs but one of the ads I got was a job advertisement for an inappropriately-named strip club in my area. I get the connection and why it showed up, but it was still offensive. I was worried there was no adult filter but I’m so glad to know you have one set up! This ad must get through because it is thought of as a job listing. I will be clearing my cookies anyway. 😉

    • AvatarFunCheapOrFree says

      Haha strip club!!! UGH how annoying!!!!! The internet sure is obnoxious sometimes, isn’t it?

  6. Avatarevi says

    I actually have another question regarding the look of your new website – the text has a certain width and then, the ads and links are to the right. But the width of the pictures is larger, making ads and links overlap them. It’s not THAT disturbing, because no text gets hidden (and that’s what I come here for after all ;->), but a little confusing not being able to see the whole photo… I hope you understand what I mean, English is my second language and I am blanking on a few words. One more try to describe what I mean: pictures that are vertically, that have a width that does not exceed the text’s width, get fully shown while pictures that are horizontally exceed the text’s width and get partially hidden behind the photos.
    all the best from Europe

    • AvatarFunCheapOrFree says

      Aw man! How annoying! Are you on a laptop or desktop? My website is designed to expand or contract based on how large or small your screen is. So when I expand my screen on my laptop or when I look at it on a desktop, it shifts things. Try making your window expanded…does that help?

      • Avatarevi says

        Hi Jordan, thank you for your fast reply – I am using a laptop and the window is expanded. I tried several sizes now – the text adjusts according to the width of the window, it seems that the screen of my laptop is just too narrow for the vertical pictures you are using. Well, never mind. I just wanted to know and as I said: I come here for the text, the pictures are just a goodie. 😉 thanks for the clarification and explanation!

  7. AvatarAnna Adams says

    from your post: Google creates the ads specifically for you based on what you’re searching for on Google, what you write about in your emails, what you buy, watch online, what ads you click through, what sites you go through, etc. Total “Big Brother” and yes, totally kinda creepy.

    Hi Jordan,
    First, love you site! I totally understand where the ads I see are coming from, I see and say “that the ring I just bought”. But the part about “what you write about in you emails”…. really, does Google have the right to read what’s in my personal emails to my husband, my daughter????

    We all know you have to have ads, we expect this, that’s how you make a living, but is there some way to verify that google is “READING” what we all write in our emails? That is super Big Brother and should be illegal, you cannot open a post office letter that is not addressed to you…. emails are the US mail now days?

    Thanks for all the great tips, love you site.

    Anna Adams recently posted…How much braces cost (or Invisalign)…and how to budget for them!My Profile

    • AvatarFunCheapOrFree says

      Yes it’s true! When using Gmail, google “knows” everything. Write an email about something and then watch the ads that pop up in Gmail, it’s creepy!

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