January 17, 2022

Startpage research: These trackers and cookies are hiding behind America’s most popular websites

Using the Startpage Privacy Protection extension, we analyzed how many trackers and cookies are lurking in the background of popular websites.

It’s difficult to comprehend the volume and severity of spying that occurs when you’re online, because trackers and cookies are invisible to the naked eye. 

Third-party advertising and tracking companies follow people across the Internet because your personal data is a Billion dollar business. From the moment you visit a website, tracking begins and more often than not, there are multiple companies monitoring and collecting your behavior on an individual website. According to research, 87 percent of the world’s most popular web domains engage in digital tracking. Recent figures show that 12.4 first- and third-party cookies are placed on the average website. Around 3.9 of this personal data is on average forwarded to third-parties.

Many major trackers belong to known advertising networks such as Amazon or Facebook. However, minor trackers are typically companies you’ve never heard of and are not public facing like “Deep.bi” which states on their website, “Deep.BI enables Media, Insurance, E-commerce and Banking enterprises to effectively increase revenues by anticipating specific user behaviors then automating actions to convert these users to paying customers and retaining them.” Another example is “Customer.io” which promises to help “craft and send data-driven emails, push notifications, and SMS messages.” Through their integration on a large number of smaller sites across the Internet, these third party trackers are able to create a very personal profile of you, bombard you with personalized advertising or share your data with others. 

Thankfully, there is now a simple solution to understand who is trying to collect your personal data and to immediately block any unwanted trackers and cookies – Startpage Privacy Protection extension. The free browser extension that blocks third party trackers and cookies immediately and provides detailed reports on what companies, both major and minor, are on the website you’re visiting

To demonstrate today’s omnipresent corporate surveillance, we took a close look at the most popular US-websites and via our new extension analyzed how many trackers and cookies are lurking in the background. We checked sites from the areas of e-commerce, finance, leisure, health and education. The results show the trackers and cookies set – and some results may surprise you.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the worst data collector of them all?

Check out the results below.

Category: Most popular US

Category: Finance

Category: Health

Category: Gaming

Category: Kids

Category: Education

 ** The number of trackers and cookies per website may vary per user, session and browser.

How can you protect yourself from unwanted tracking? The answer is simple: with Startpage, of course.

The Startpage “Privacy Protection” browser extension lets people browse the Internet more securely, automatically blocking first- and third-party trackers, while giving them more control over their browsing and searching experience.  It also prevents targeted advertising based on a personal data profile. With just a few easy steps you can install it in Firefox and Chrome. 

More information about our browser extension can be found at add.startpage.com/protection

Install Startpage Privacy Protection and try it for yourself. Which of your frequently visited sites have the most trackers and cookies? Write us a note at privacyplease@startpage.com. All submissions will receive a free Startpage webcam cover. We are looking forward to hearing from you.


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