YourAdvalue

YourAdvalue computes, in real time, the cost paid by advertisers to deliver ads to you (per ad and overall).

What's YourAdvalue about?

Every day, while browsing the web, ads are sent to our devices and browsers and shown in the websites we visit. Some of them are persistent and we encounter them every time we visit a specific website, but others are specifically tailored to meet our web searches, interests and hobbies, past browsing behavior, etc. For the latter type of ads to be tailored and delivered, the advertisers collect several types of data about each user and then use these data to send specific ads to the users-targets.

But how much does it cost for the advertisers to send these targeted ads?

In essence, how much does it cost for advertisers to collect all the needed data about each user, process them and use them for modeling the user's behavior and interests, and sending targeted ads to that user? The YourAdvalue extension tries to detect and report how much the users cost for the advertisers, based on the ads the user receives at real time.


Installation

Currently you can install the extension on Google Chrome web browser by downloading it from our github repository --link for the repo pending--. The plugin will be also available through the Chrome Web Store here.

In case you want to download the extension to try it but you don't want to add it in your every day Chrome configuration, you can do so! Google Chrome allows you to create multiple browsing personas. Just click on the upper right of the browser, on the icon with the figure. Then you click on "Manage people" and afterwards click on "Add person". This creates a new persona that has a completely fresh instance of the browser without your plugins, history etc.

Instructions: How to install the extension from github repo

If you downloaded the extension from our github repo, you need to do the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the "chrome://extensions"
  2. Check the box on the upper right which is labeled as "Developer mode"
  3. Click the "load unpacked extension..." button and navigate to the folder that you download the repository
Your installation should be complete and you can start navigating.

Instructions: How to install the extension from Chrome Web Store

We recommend to download the extension using the official Chrome Web Store. If you downloaded the extension from the store, you need to do the following steps:

  1. Click here to visit Chrome web store.
  2. Click on "Add to Chrome."
  3. You are ready to learn your value!
Your installation should be complete and you can start navigating.

Notes:

Remember that for this plugin to work (i.e., detect ads and calculate their cost), you should disable any ad-blockers running on your browser at least for the websites of interest.

Also, please consider providing some basic demographics for your profile, that can help our research and will further improve the plugin's operation.

Troubles:

Please contact us if you have any troubles installing it, or accessing the code, here: youradvalue@gmail.com


Plugin Functionalities

Open Extension's popup window

After you successfully install the extension to your Chrome browser, an icon will appear in the upper right corner of your browser. You can access the plugin by clicking this icon. As you navigate through various websites, this icon will change color and turn into red. When the icon turns red, a number will appear next to it. This is the number of the advertisements that were detected by the YourAdvalue extension.

User interface

user interface
Figure 1. User Interface

After clicking the extension button, a popup window should appear. The popup is divided in four different sections (Figure 1):

  1. the user demographics section
  2. the pie chart section
  3. the statistics section
  4. the options section

1. User demographics

The users can choose to share meta-data about the ads that the YourAdvalue extension detected (see Q&A for a complete list of meta-data shared). In this section of the plugin, the users can choose to declare their gender and age (in age range buckets). The correct functionality of the extension does not depend on this information. Therefore, even if a user does not specify these fields, there will be no impact in the detection and reporting of the advertisements. However, we strongly encourage the users to specify their demographics as it would greatly help us to shed light to the ad-ecosystem processes and make them more understandable and transparent to the end-user.

2. Pie chart

The pie chart displays a summary of the number of advertisements detected during the lifetime of the plugin in the user's browser. The visual is in a user friendly and understandable fashion. Advertisements are divided in two categories: 1) determined value ads and 2) estimated value ads. Determined value ads are the ads that their value was sent in an unencrypted format, so we can detect the precise price the advertiser paid for this ad to be displayed. Estimated value ads are the ads that their value was sent in encrypted format, so we apply an algorithmic method to estimate what their actual price possibly is.

3. Statistics

The statistics section displays information about the ads detected from the extension. This section is divided into two subsections: 1) "All Time Stats" and 2) "Session Stats". The "All Time Stats" section displays statistics about the advertisements delivered through the lifetime of the plugin on the user's browser. These statistics include the number of determined and estimated ads found and the total monetary value of these ads delivered and detected, in Euros. The "Session Stats" section displays the same stats as in the previous one, but only for the time period that the browser was open, until it was closed again (browsing session).

4. Options

The user can tune some options of the plugin. Namely, if the plugin will be enabled or disabled, if the plugin will report any data back to the research team for further analysis, some details about the plugin and bug reporting:

a) Disable/Enable plugin: By selecting to disable the plugin, it stops detecting the ads, as well as reporting meta-data about them.

b) Allow/Deny Data Gathering: In case the users want to keep getting notifications about the ads detected, but do not want to share these meta-data, they can do so by disabling the data gathering.

c) What is Advalue?: This button launches the present YourAdvalue webpage.

d) A button for providing the developing team with feedback regarding the extension.


YourAdvalue in Action

YourAdvalue operates in real time. This means you will be notified every time an advertisement is detected. In Figure 2, you can see an example of what it should look like when an ad was detected and counted in the plugin stats. YourAdvalue is not domain specific, so you should get information about ads during your normal web browsing regarding the website you are on.

detection of an ad
Figure 2. Detection of an ad in real time

YourAdvalue, Copyright 2019