Ghostery Rewards launches in Germany

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 10, 2018

Ghostery published an update to the popular anti-tracking and ad-blocking solution in early July 2018 that is available for browsers such as Firefox or Chrome.

Ghostery 8.2 introduces an updated user interface and experience, and the new Ghostery Rewards feature. Ghostery Rewards was announced back in March 2018 as an opt-in system to highlight relevant deals to users based on their browsing activity.

Ghostery released the source code of the extension at the same time to improve transparency and user trust in the company's solution.

Ghostery Rewards

new reward ghostery

Ghostery Rewards is only available in Germany right now but the company plans to bring the feature to users in other regions including the United States in the near future.

Ghostery displays "new reward discovered" if "a set of action triggers that indicate [..] active interest in making a purchase" is discovered.

A coupon code is displayed when you activate the button. It is unclear whether you will always get a coupon code or if other offers will be presented to you as well.

The reward was triggered in Chrome while browsing the German Media Markt website. It displays a coupon code for Cyberport, another large German retailer.

ghostery reward

One thing that is interesting about this is that Cyberport is owned by Hubert Burda Media, a German media group which is one of the largest in Germany. Hubert Burda Media majority-owns Cliqz, and Cliqz acquired Ghostery in February 2017.

Ghostery comes preloaded with all rewards. The software does not transmit personal information to Ghostery, Cliqz, or third-parties, and Ghostery states that it does not collect, process, or store data centrally on a server. It states furthermore that it does not profile users or share user data with anyone.

Ghostery Rewards operates locally, meaning it is completely contained within your browser and does not transmit personal information back to Ghostery, Cliqz, or any other third party companies.

Ghostery Rewards is powered by MyOffrz which is operated by Cliqz MyOffrz GMBH, a Cliqz subsidiary.

Manage Ghostery Rewards

ghostery setup rewards

Ghostery displays a setup prompt to users after installation. Users can select between one-click setup which makes all decisions for the user or a custom setup which gives users full control.

The option to participate in Ghostery Rewards and the sharing of analytics is checked by default. Users can disable these in the settings after the initial setup (or enable them).

ghostery opt-in

Do the following to change the functionality:

  1. Activate the Ghostery icon in the browser's toolbar.
  2. Select the menu icon.
  3. Select settings when the menu opens.
  4. Go to opt-in.

There you have three options:

  • Sharing extension usage analytics.
  • Sharing Human Web data.
  • Participating in Ghostery Rewards.

You can turn any of the options on or off individually.

Closing words

Ghostery Rewards cannot be compared to price comparison extensions at this point in time. The offers, at least those that were displayed to me while using the extension, seem to be limited to displaying coupon codes to users that are not necessarily for the shopping site users are on.

Whether that is useful depends on individual users. The implementation appears to value user privacy by keeping things in the local browser which is good and the right decision for an extension that promises to improve user privacy on the Internet. (via Caschy)

Now You: What is your take on Ghostery Rewards?

Ghostery Rewards launches in Germany
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Ghostery Rewards launches in Germany
Ghostery Rewards is a new feature of the privacy extension Ghostery that displays rewards to users when they trigger certain events in the browser.
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  1. Rush said on July 12, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    Hi Martin,

    Thank you for your reply. I hope the tone of my comments didn’t imply insinuation…certainly, it wasn’t remotely close to my intent.

    Thank you, for educating myself and others with respect to app or programs that you post on your site. Sure, one “could” possibly believe a good review, equals a slick twenty in the back pocket. I have never felt that, I am sure GHacks commenting family, has never felt that as well.

    Perhaps a posted disclaimer, would keep possible doubters at bay.

    My response to TW, was merely a reminder of the independent voice here at GHacks…to review a program, to educate, with the goal simply, to let the users decide.

    Again, thank you, for your reply.

    Warm regards.

  2. John Fenderson said on July 11, 2018 at 1:14 am

    This is opt-in and doesn’t spy on you, so I have no objections. I don’t use Ghostery, but if I did, this wouldn’t put me off (although I also wouldn’t opt in).

  3. Rush said on July 10, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    I get the reasoning and meaning behind your two questions…however..
    and can only assume, that Martin may or may not get a buck or two for his
    apps he posts on HIS website. Martin does a decent job or attempting to be
    independent of the apps and programs.

    He provides the information, providing an opportunity for users to decide..and because
    of the popularity of GHacks, many, many commenters such as yourself provide a wealth
    of user experiences to convey the good, bad or indifference to ones experience regarding
    the items critiqued not promoted.

    That is why I allow ad’s on GHacks…Via Martin and posters here…on GHacks dime, I learn every day.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 11, 2018 at 12:38 pm

      I’m never paid for articles on this site and am not influenced by companies, advertisers or anyone else in regards to the topics posted here on this site. I get weekly offers to publish paid articles but I never accept them nor will I in the future.

  4. TW said on July 10, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    What the fuck is ghacks promoting? Why are you guys paddling adware?

    1. Tom Hawack said on July 10, 2018 at 11:36 pm

      Information is not promotion except for those who evoke only their likes. And even when likes and dislikes are explicit that doesn’t mean the narrator considers the object of his feelings as good or bad, he may have that implication in mind and believe it’ll be perceived as implicit, or may not : I haven’t the right to decide what he has in mind for the simple reason that I’m unable to read in minds. If I say “I don’t like chocolate” do I mean “because chocolate is bad”? We have the right to express our likes and dislikes (even a journalist) but we haven’t the one to proclaim the quality as a cause of those likes and dislikes : that’s where demagogy or simple promotion starts.

      What do we want? Websites that stick to our convictions? That would mean websites no longer informative in a journalistic environment and state of mind but biased, hence sectarian, leading to groups all within themselves, lack of dialogue and debates. There are debates here on Ghacks because Ghacks entertains pluralism, and because pluralism is entertained we have once in a while readers who accuse the pot of melting their dislikes within all the information provided. We have to understand that likes, dislikes and convictions are plural and that information is not meant to impose a pattern of truth but to provide the realities of the area it processes.

  5. user1837 said on July 10, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    This scheme is clearly not aimed at the typical ghacks reader. I certainly won’t use it.

    I want to remind anyone who thinks this is complete garbage though that a great majority of people uses the web for shoppping and is interested in targeted advertizing.

    Ghostery is indeed a wolf in sheeps clothing, as they are in the game for their own self interest, and only pretend to care for the user. They have a shiny user interface and consciously obfuscate how everything works behind the UI. For that they invented new categories of ad blocking that do not even make any sense and probably perform worse than well selected blocklists.When you want to make money you always need to hide the simple truth and create artificial problems and solutions.

    At least their system eliminates the privacy problems of the ad industry because everything is client side. To those who reference the older trust issue with ghostery where some data was sent to them, I think the outcry has shown that they won’t get away with something like this anytime soon and they appear to be careful to establish trust again.

    The reason why Ghostery will ultimately fail is in the german industry and way of thinking: Everyone is doing their own stuff, big corporations do not cooperate with each other to create a lasting solution.

    That means Ghostery will fail to establish high level partnerships which bring in the necessary revenue and instead is left with their own companies like Cyberport.

    1. John Fenderson said on July 13, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      @user1837: “a great majority of people uses the web for shoppping and is interested in targeted advertizing.”

      This conflates two things that are different. I use the web for shopping, but I am entirely opposed to targeted advertising. Well, not the advertising per se, but the tracking required to do it. Advertising, targeted or not, is of no value to me. Tracking is of negative value to me.

  6. Tom Hawack said on July 10, 2018 at 9:14 am

    My take on Ghostery Rewards? Garbage. I do insist on the fact that this is my take free of any advice.

    The ad business is definitely in a long-haul brain-storming process, split between two strategies, the first being (still) the most active, which is to force-feed users, to spend millions in anti-adblockers code research, the second being the personalized user-driven “deal” scheme with advertisement, such as with the ‘Brave’ browser, such as with the ‘Ghostery’ extension and its “rewards”.

    I’ll repeat my take on advertisement on the Web as elsewhere : I refuse of course force-feeding, I dislike “rewards” for being fed tasteless craps as a volunteer, I have no doctrinal opposition to advertisement, I expect healthy ads, free of malvertisement, free of tracking, lesser and better, informative. Until then (if ever) I do and shall put all my energy and knowledge to evade from the ad octopus. This is negotiable given stated requirements be satisfied, otherwise ads are moved off, systematically. I rather donate (and i do) to sites I regularly visit.

    1. Citoyen said on July 11, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      @ Tom Hawack
      As You said, “Ghostery Rewards” is not only garbage, it’s a contradiction in terms of privacy, because the acceptance to spread willingly your data is raised through the offering of cheap rewards.
      Compare this with uBlock Origin strict rejection of “Acceptable Ads” and ” No donations sought”!

      “a tempered critical voice is a censured voice!”

      Btw, isn’t your critical voice allready tempered through comment policy: Not to allow the most essential of the web … hyperlinks? ;-)
      Not to blame ghacks!
      That’s their way, I guess, to prevent ruthless spamming, thus the result of advertisement, and therefor an unacceptable suppression of free speech. Just to give a simple example of other creepy implications that ads may have in your digital experience here and elsewhere … users might not realise.

      “We shall not surrender.”

      Glad to hear that … ¡No pasarán!

      1. Tom Hawack said on July 11, 2018 at 1:03 pm


        As Martin rectified, hyperlinks are checked, not disallowed, for obvious reasons. As guests we see the stage, as the administrator Martin deals with the backstage as well…

        Side-note : I don’t consider hyperlinks essential to free, uncensored speech, because they are references and not thoughts.

      2. Citoyen said on July 11, 2018 at 9:54 pm

        … they might be references to other people’s thoughts and therefore maybe interesting opinions I or any other reader did not take in consideration yet.
        Said in the sense of the origin of the web, meaning exchanging knowledge.
        Yes, in these old times, there used to be more lametta!

        But before I get lost in the off topics “Grandpa talks about the Great War” a quick Thank You for the conversation.

        Sire! … it was a pleasure ;-)

      3. Tom Hawack said on July 11, 2018 at 10:55 pm

        It’s always possible to quote a reference’s content, or to summarize it. It’s always possible as well, should links be refused, to break the url, such as robespierre at concorde dot paris :=)

        There’s worse. I have a friend who told me that on a website he knows (I forgot the name) some words — some very words! — were refused, and not those we know as the ultimate of insulting ones. and not even in the context of a quarrel between users. The site just had an algorithm which would erase certain words! Makes it complicated. Fortunately good sens, common sense, allows a sort of universal code to bypass the blocking and yet be understood. it can even be quite funny. Let us all think of examples is what I’d propose when within a party people get bored!

      4. Citoyen said on July 12, 2018 at 11:02 am

        Sireee …?!
        “There’s worse. I have a friend who told me that […] he knows [sic!]”

        Indeed, that’s worse! The worst reference in an discussion – especially in an online discussion – someone can claim to … and that’s why I prefer a link to the origin. Without, that is simply faith as belief without evidence. I leave that to churchgoers.

        ” Fortunately good sens, common sense, allows a sort of universal code to bypass the blocking and yet be understood.”

        Universal code, in practice mostly subversive language. And this is an indication of an existing dictatorship! Subversive language, however, must be constantly reinvented, because it is continually being co-opted by the powerful.

        Side note: We might have to develop some sort of secret, subversive + revolutionary ghacks-language in the next “Great Browser War” to handle all this Chromies and Pale Moonies? ;-)

        Ni Dieu ni maître

        Dear Monsieur Brinkmann
        I dedicate to You the exclusive right, to delete any of my beyond the topics comments. Otherwise thanks for publishing.

      5. Martin Brinkmann said on July 11, 2018 at 12:36 pm

        Hyperlinks are not disallowed but they are checked. If they are on-topic, they are allowed.

      6. Citoyen said on July 11, 2018 at 9:46 pm

        I was just wondering about the lack of related links, provided by ghacks commentariat. Anyway, it was a bit of a teasing from “The Department of Unexpected Questions”, just to find out why.

        Thanks for clarification.

    2. Vivent les sans culottes ! said on July 10, 2018 at 6:22 pm

      I offer a 10% reward on my 30% overpriced useless junk! So hurry up and install my addon “Cliquez&Claque”. For each install I will send a prayer to capitalistas heaven:
      “Have mercy on T. Hawacks soul, but could you please temper his critical voice!”

      1. Tom Hawack said on July 10, 2018 at 7:21 pm

        @pyjamas : a tempered critical voice is a censured voice! Viva la Revolución (avé l’accent!)

        I don’t know you, citoyen, but here ads, as they are now and especially on the Web but not only, drive me nuts (which may explain a loud critical voice). We remained open-minded for negotiations on the basis of our claims’ platform. We shall not surrender. Viva El Commondante (reminds me the seventies).

        That’s all (for now) folks :=)

    3. klaas said on July 10, 2018 at 12:13 pm

      Same here.

  7. mike said on July 10, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Binned for Ublock instead, faster, leaner, does a better job.

    1. I make you life everytime hihi said on July 10, 2018 at 4:39 pm

      Same here as well but with Nightly+WebRender enabled REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

    2. klaas said on July 10, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      Same here.

  8. Stefan said on July 10, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Ghostery was thrown out from my browsers when it came to light that they collected data about You, Your behaviour and what websites You visited. Won’t install it again – once a spyware always a spyware !

    1. klaas said on July 10, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      Same here.

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