"ALEXA COLLECTS AND STORES INFORMATION ABOUT THE WEB PAGES YOU VIEW, THE DATA YOU ENTER IN ONLINE FORMS AND SEARCH FIELDS WHILE USING THE ALEXA SOFTWARE, AND, WITH VERSIONS 5.0 AND HIGHER OF THE BROWSER COMPANION SOFTWARE, THE PRODUCTS YOU PURCHASE ONLINE. ALTHOUGH ALEXA DOES NOT ATTEMPT TO ANALYZE WEB USAGE DATA TO DETERMINE THE IDENTITY OF ANY ALEXA USER, SOME INFORMATION COLLECTED BY THE SOFTWARE IS PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE. ALEXA AGGREGATES AND ANALYZES THE INFORMATION IT COLLECTS TO IMPROVE ITS SERVICE AND TO PREPARE REPORTS ABOUT AGGREGATE WEB USAGE AND SHOPPING HABITS."
What types of information does Alexa collect?
If you are visiting the Alexa website (alexa.com), we collect the following information: the full Uniform Resource Locator ("URL") of the Web page from which you came to alexa.com; your Internet Protocol ("IP") address, which may include a domain name; the date and time for each page you view; the name of and information about any advertisement that brought you to the Alexa website; searches you perform, links you click on; and computer and connection information such as browser type and version, operating system, and platform. We also transmit cookies to your computer so we can track the pages of our website that you view and the order in which you view them. http://pages.alexa.com/help/privacy.html
With all that in mind...how secure do you suppose it is? Not very. There are bots and worms that will exploit the weaknesses in Alexa's security. Not to mention, how hard is it to switch from collecting your browser type and OS to collecting your Credit Card#? Or passwords? How many different passwords do you use? These are all questions you have to ask yourself. It's the same as locking your car at night. Do you have to? What if you don't? Spyware is defined as any program installed surreptitiously in a system, but can also download other unwanted applications without your consent. In other words, it's spyware. Remove it, don't use it. Besides, most of the ads come from Amazon.com anyway...they own it!
It adds tracking cookies, where Google and Yahoo! do not. Tracking cookies send collect information about your web surfing. Normal cookies "set the page" for you. This site sets a cookie that will automatically log you in. Or, "show your signature", keep the forum in a definitive mode i.e. Linear, Hybrid or Threaded.