Apple Inc. “has started tracking users so that advertisers can target them again, through a new tracking technology called IFA or IDFA,” Jim Edwards reports for The Business Insider. “Previously, Apple had all but disabled tracking of iPhone users by advertisers when it stopped app developers from utilizing Apple mobile device data via UDID, the unique, permanent, non-deletable serial number that previously identified every Apple device.”

“For the last few months, iPhone users have enjoyed an unusual environment in which advertisers have been largely unable to track and target them in any meaningful way,” Edwards reports.

MacDailyNews Take: Hence the ads for stuff in which you’d never be interested in a million years.

“In iOS 6, however, tracking is most definitely back on, and it’s more effective than ever, multiple mobile advertising executives familiar with IFA tell us,” Edwards reports. “IFA or IDFA stands for “identifier for advertisers.” It’s a random, anonymous number that is assigned to a user and their device. It is temporary and can be blocked, like a cookie… The IFA does not identify you personally — it merely provides a bunch of aggregate audience data that advertisers can target with ads.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Over the last few months, sans ad tracking, complaints about ads have definitely increased. We believe that poorly targeted ads – ads for snowblowers served to people living in Phoenix – are more irksome than ads focused more on the things in which people are actually interested.

Online advertising definitely isn’t all the way there yet, but it is preferable to other more broadside forms of advertising (TV, radio, etc) where the programming demographics is the only targeting tool available to the advertisers (you’re watching “Chasing Classic Cars,” so here’s your Sears Craftsman tool ad). At least with online ads, we get ads for, say, running shoes, after we’ve searched for and browsed – ta da! – running shoes. Now, if only there was a way to tell the advertisers, “Hey, we already bought our shoes; not in the market anymore, so you can stop the shoe ads now!”

Hopefully, we’ll get there someday soon. More efficient advertising is less bothersome and simply works better for everyone, which, to us at least, means fewer ads!*

(*Earlier this year, we removed 8-10 banner ads along the right column of our site to improve user experience and page loading speeds. We continue exploring ways to limit and reduce the number of ads on our pages.)

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]