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How To Opt Out Of Gmail's Emailed Ads

Gmail users who have switched to the new tabbed interface are getting Google ads in their inboxes. Here are two quick ways to get rid of them.

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Google first announced its new inbox design, which groups your email into categorized tabs such as "Primary," "Social" and "Promotions," two months ago. The new look, it said, would put "you back in control using simple, easy organization."

But Gmail users who've switched to this new layout have discovered a sneaky piece of mail appearing in their inbox: ads disguised as emails that appear above your email subscriptions. These paid messages, which land in your Promotions inbox, look just like any other email but are denoted by the small word "Ad" with an information icon just below the name of the sender.

When you click one of these messages, you're either sent to another website or shown a pop-up ad. It also gives you the option to forward it or dismiss it. Google says it does not share your contact information with advertisers; rather, this is a new placement for the ads that traditionally appeared in the margins of your inbox.

[ Nervous about the latest Gmail changes? Read Gmail Inbox Update: Hopes And Fears. ]

"Instead of ads always appearing at the top of your inbox, they've been relegated to a more appropriate place in your Promotions category. In addition, we've raised the quality of these ads and won't show you an ad unless it's relevant -- which means you may sometimes see no ads at all in your Promotions tab," Google said in a statement.

If you haven't yet switched to the new Gmail interface -- or you reverted to the old design -- you won't receive these advertisement emails. But if you have the new interface and aren't interested in receiving these messages, there are two easy ways to opt out. Here's how to do it.

1. How To Get Rid of Ads From A Specific Company.

A quick and easy solution if Google is sending you irrelevant ads is to click the X in each message to make it go away. You won't receive additional ads from that provider. Use this option if you don't mind receiving the emails and want to "teach" Google which ads are relevant to you. "We are always looking for more ways to deliver you the most useful and relevant ads -- for example, we may use your Google search queries on the Web, the sites you visit, Google Profile, +1's and other Google Account information to show you more relevant ads in Gmail," Google said. "Ad targeting in Gmail is fully automated, and no humans read your email or Google Account information in order to show you advertisements or related information."

2. How To Disable The "Promotions" Inbox.

Your second option is to remove the Promotions inbox tab from your view. If you do so, promotional emails from businesses such as Groupon or Macy's will appear in your Primary inbox, just like it did before you were switched to the new design.

To remove the Promotions inbox, navigate to your Settings page by clicking the gear icon on the top-right of your inbox. Choose the "Configure Inbox" option.

On the page that appears, uncheck the box next to Promotions and click Save. This will remove the Promotions tab from your Gmail view.

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Ramon S
Ramon S,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/27/2013 | 10:38:31 AM
re: How To Opt Out Of Gmail's Emailed Ads
Or use a real email client and set filters as needed. I gave up on the constantly changing web UI a long time ago.
User Rank: Apprentice
7/26/2013 | 2:57:23 PM
re: How To Opt Out Of Gmail's Emailed Ads
^^Exactly. The Promotions tab keeps emails from Groupon, LivingSocial, and a number of retailers I subscribe to in one spot, which is handy when I don't want to read them immediately.
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
7/25/2013 | 7:02:32 PM
re: How To Opt Out Of Gmail's Emailed Ads
"Sounds like I only see ads if I want to see ads." Not quite. At least for me, the Promotions tab ends up being the repository for a lot of email messages related to services I use. I could get rid of the Promotions tab but that would make my Primary inbox more cluttered. There's no way to opt-out of the ads while retaining the useful Promotions tab and there's no way to filter them because they don't behave like normal email. Time to explore Ad Block custom filters and other user-side scripting options I guess.
David F. Carr
David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
7/25/2013 | 3:52:31 PM
re: How To Opt Out Of Gmail's Emailed Ads
So I only see ads if I go to this Promotions tab? Sounds like I only see ads if I want to see ads. Not following why anyone would think that was a bad thing. Sounds less intrusive rather than more intrusive.

I don't have this active for my Gmail account yet, so haven't seen it in practice.
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