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Karl Wabst

Consumers, FTC Seeking Behavioral Advertising Transparency | Knowledge Network | ITBusi... - 0 views

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    "Consumers are often oblivious to the fact that some businesses share a great deal of their personal information with other businesses who deliver targeted behavioral advertising, says Anzen analysts Megan Brister and Jordan Prokopy. In an e-mail interview with IT Business Edge editor Lora Bentley, Brister and Prokopy say most consumers are just not aware of the business practices of companies that use personal information for profit.



    The Federal Trade Commission recently held meetings with consumer and privacy advocates, business and government leaders to discuss privacy, regulatory, and business issues of online behavioral advertising. It plans plan to ramp up efforts to protect consumers and possibly push for tougher legislation to protect consumers.



    One issue, Brister and Prokopy say, is the lack of transparency by companies that engage in behavioral advertising. These companies have been slow to adopt clear data-management policies and even when they do have policies, they are often written in language that is difficult to understand.



    Fortunately for consumers, some type of regulation appears to be on the way. The FTC appears eager to penalize businesses who lack transparency regardless of whether the consumer actually experienced any real negative effects as a result, Brister and Prokopy say."
Karl Wabst

Consumer Groups Launching Online Privacy Push - 2009-08-28 14:00:00 EDT | Broadcasting ... - 0 views

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    Look for almost a dozen consumer groups and privacy advocates to launch a full-court press on targeted behavioral advertising and online privacy on Capitol Hill next week.

    According to a source, those groups on Sept. 1 will release a background paper, letters to House members and other documents to make their case for stronger government oversight of online marketing targeted to kids.

    "A growing number of child advocacy and health groups have called on the FTC and Congress to prohibit the behavioral targeting of both children and teens, next week, many leading consumer and privacy groups will send a letter to congressional leaders calling for similar safeguards," confirms Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy.

    Chester saidd that 10 groups will be involved in the push, and that they will be "pressing Congress to write legislation that truly protects consumer privacy, but enables online marketing to flourish in a more responsible fashion."

    The effort comes as Congress prepares to return from its summer break. House Communications Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher (D-Va.) has made an online privacy bill a legislative priority in this session of Congress.
Karl Wabst

Internet Ad Group: Pols Should Be Careful With Privacy Rules - Business Center - PC World - 0 views

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    Behavioral targeting is not bad as a concept but advertisers would have the public opt-in by default without knowing what is being collected and what it is being used for. On the other hand not many in the public seem very concerned about this subject.
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    The Internet contributes about US$300 billion a year to the U.S. economy, and U.S. lawmakers should be careful about tinkering with the advertising-supported Internet content model in the name of privacy, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) said.

    An IAB-commissioned study by two Harvard University professors, released Wednesday, found that 1.2 million U.S. residents are directly employed in Internet-related jobs, and another 1.9 million U.S. jobs support those Internet workers. IAB released the study Wednesday, as 30 publishers of small Web sites converged on Washington, D.C., to urge U.S. lawmakers to avoid passing legislation that would harm their ad-supported business models.

    Chief among those publishers' concern was talk in the U.S. Congress about requiring Web sites to gain opt-in permission from users before tracking their Web habits as a way to deliver personalized advertising to them. Many users wouldn't give the permission, and without offering targeted advertising, many small Web sites could fold, some small publishers said.

    Small Web publishers and sellers "are the face of small business" in the U.S. in recent years, said Susan Martin, publisher of Ikeafans.com, a home improvement site.
Karl Wabst

MediaPost Publications Resonate Networks Blurs the Political Target - 0 views

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    Are you an advertiser looking to target mothers online with children under 12 who are concerned about obesity to promote a healthy snack food? Or people that don't support drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge but support offshore drilling generally?



    If so, Resonate Networks -- a new ad network geared to nonprofit, political and corporate advertisers -- promises to serve up just the right audience based on highly targeted, if anonymous, profile data focused on political views and attitudes.

    "It's really drilling down to people's beliefs and where they stand on issues," said Bryan Gernert, CEO of Alexandria, Va.-based Resonate, a non-partisan company launched by former Republican and Democratic political strategists including Harold Ickes, Bill Clinton's former deputy chief of staff and one of Resonate's investors.

    Unlike traditional ad networks that target advertising based on a site content or audience demographics, Resonate combines survey information, online and offline databases and proprietary algorithms to match Web users' political leanings and levels of activism with sites they tend to visit most often.

    "You can identify Web sites that have a preponderance of people who support certain issues," that go beyond obvious issue-oriented or political sites, said Gernert. He added that Resonate is already working with 500 of about 2,500 sites that correlate strongly with particular issues or audiences with high levels of engagement or influence.
Karl Wabst

A Leibowitz-Led FTC May Strengthen Spotlight on Digital Ads - ClickZ - 0 views

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    Online ad industry will probably continue to be a hot-button if FTC Commissioner Jon Leibowitz is named chairman.

    The Federal Trade Commission may strengthen its focus on online advertising and privacy if, as is expected, current FTC Commissioner Jon Leibowitz is named chairman of the agency.

    "He would certainly keep privacy and online advertising as a focus of the FTC, so I think [his potential appointment] does matter," said Mike Zaneis, VP of public policy at the Internet Advertising Bureau.

    Reports indicate Leibowitz will be named as head of the commission, replacing William Kovacic. Kovacic replaced former Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras in March 2008, when she left to join the private sector as VP and general counsel of Procter & Gamble.

    "A kind of privacy switch is going to go on at the FTC [once the new chairman is named] and they're going to engage in this issue in a much more serious way," said Center for Digital Democracy Executive Director Jeff Chester. "Under a Leibowitz regime we would get the kind of serious industry analysis that so far has been lacking from the Bush era approach."

    "Leibowitz has been a leader on privacy issues," said Zaneis, who expects a Leibowitz-run FTC to continue along the agency's current path of pushing for industry self-regulation, rather than creating new regulations for online advertisers.

    As a commissioner, Leibowitz, a Democrat, has not ruled out FTC regulation of things like behavioral targeting. During a two-day FTC forum held in Washington, D.C. in 2007, Leibowitz noted, "The marketplace alone may not be able to solve all problems inherent in behavioral marketing." He revealed his sense of humor, adding, "If we see problems...the commission won't hesitate to bring cases, or even break thumbs."
Karl Wabst

FTC Staff Revises Online Behavioral Advertising Principles - 0 views

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    Federal Trade Commission staff today issued a report describing its ongoing examination of online behavioral advertising and setting forth revisions to proposed principles to govern self-regulatory efforts in this area. The key issue concerns how online advertisers can best protect consumers' privacy while collecting information about their online activities.

    Over the last decade, the FTC has periodically examined the consumer privacy issues raised by online behavioral advertising - which is the practice of tracking an individual's online activities in order to deliver advertising tailored to his or her interests. The FTC examined this practice most recently at its November 2007 "Behavioral Advertising" Town Hall. The following month, in response to public discussion about the need to address privacy concerns in this area, FTC staff issued a set of proposed principles to encourage and guide industry self-regulation for public comment. Today's report, titled "Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising," summarizes and responds to the main issues raised by more than 60 comments received. It also sets forth revised principles.

    The report discusses the potential benefits of behavioral advertising to consumers, including the free online content that advertising generally supports and personalization that many consumers appear to value. It also discusses the privacy concerns that the practice raises, including the invisibility of the data collection to consumers and the risk that the information collected - including sensitive information regarding health, finances, or children - could fall into the wrong hands or be used for unanticipated purposes. Consistent with the FTC's overall approach to consumer privacy, the report seeks to balance the potential benefits of behavioral advertising against the privacy concerns it raises, and to encourage privacy protections while maintaining a competitive marketplace.

    The report points ou
Karl Wabst

P&G Lawyer Calls Upon Industry to Work at Defending Self-Regulation - Advertising Age -... - 0 views

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    A top lawyer for P&G called upon industry execs to work harder than ever to defend self-regulation of the ad business at a gathering of top advertisers today.

    Speaking about the tough economic environment and increased government involvement in business affairs, Deborah Platt Majoras, VP-general counsel at P&G, said the ad business has to tout that it has been responsible and doesn't need additional oversight.

    The current business environment -- one in which market failures have prompted government bailouts and heightened government oversight -- is leading to a more skeptical outlook from policymakers about self-regulation. '

    "The road ahead is not going to be easy, but we are not helpless," said Ms. Majoras, who, prior to joining P&G served as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission from 2004 to 2008. "The industry has been far more responsible than we get credit for. It's time that we backed up rhetoric with facts," she said.
Karl Wabst

Behavioral targeting gains a reprieve, with caveats :: BtoB Magazine - 0 views

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    Last month, the digital advertising industry's use of behaviorally targeted advertising gained a reprieve of sorts when the Federal Trade Commission issued a final report confirming its earlier support of self-regulation.


    But some commission members remained concerned about ads that are shown to Web users based on their previous online activities, and in particular the possibility of violations of online privacy. Some form of legal restrictions may be imposed on the industry, the FTC indicated, if the online ad industry isn't up to the task of regulating itself.

    "Privacy is definitely the biggest concern today," said Joe Apprendi, CEO of Collective Media, an online advertising network based in New York. "There has been the concern that through such approaches as deep-packet technology, companies can leverage information through subscriber-based providers to marry anonymous behavioral segment data and identify real people.

    "The fact is, online advertising is subject to a higher standard that offline direct marketing tactics," Apprendi said.

    The FTC report, "Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising," continues to advocate voluntary industry self-regulation, in keeping with its principles governing online behavioral advertising issued at the end of 2007, despite the urgings of consumer advocacy groups that it impose rules regulating online advertising.

    The commission's new guidelines are based on four principles:

    * Transparency and consumer control. The commission advises that Web sites that collect data for behavioral advertising provide "a clear, concise, consumer-friendly and prominent statement" that the data are being collected to provide ads tailored to the user's interests and that the user has an easy and obvious way to choose whether to allow this.

    * Security for data retention. Companies that collect data for behavioral advertising should provide "reasonable" protection of that information and reta
Karl Wabst

BT: Privacy Peril Or Key To Web Prosperity? 02/27/2009 - 0 views

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    If behavioral targeting is the key to providing Web users with advertising that's better tailored to their particular needs and interests--instead of banner ads that they ignore--then what's the harm to consumers?

    That was a central question tackled by a panel of privacy and online marketing experts Thursday at the OMMA Behavioral conference in New York. Whether online user tracking--even when anonymous--represents a growing threat to privacy has become a hotly debated issue in the last year, with FTC, Congress and state governments considering increased regulation of behavioral targeting.

    For Jules Polonetsky, co-chair and director of the AT&T-funded think tank Future of Privacy Forum, that debate has become almost superfluous. Whatever side one takes, he emphasized that there is now a widespread perception among consumers and regulators that online tracking is creepy at the very least.

    The key to diffusing the controversy is for publishers and marketers to give Web users notice that their behavior is being tracked in order to provide them with more relevant content, recommendations and marketing offers.
Karl Wabst

2007 FTC Workshop: Ehavioral Advertising: Tracking, Targeting, and Technology - 0 views

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    On November 1 and 2, 2007, the Federal Trade Commission will host a Town Hall entitled "Ehavioral Advertising: Tracking, Targeting, and Technology." The event will bring together consumer advocates, industry representatives, technology experts, and academics to address consumer protection issues raised by the practice of tracking consumers' activities online to target advertising - or "behavioral advertising." The Town Hall is a follow-on to a dialogue on behavioral advertising that emerged at a November 2006 FTC forum, "Tech-Ade," which examined the key technological and business developments that will shape consumers' core experiences in the coming ten years. In addition, several consumer privacy advocates, as well as the State of New York, recently sent letters to the FTC asking it to examine the effects of behavioral advertising on consumer privacy.

    The Town Hall will explore how the online advertising market, and specifically behavioral advertising, has changed in recent years, and what changes are anticipated over the next five years. Among other things, it will examine what types of consumer data are collected, how such data are used, what protections are provided for that data, and the costs and benefits of behavioral advertising to consumers. The Town Hall will also address what companies are disclosing to consumers and what consumers understand about the online collection of their information for use in advertising. In addition, the Town Hall will look at what regulatory and self-regulatory measures currently govern the practices related to online behavioral advertising, as well as anticipated changes in the behavioral advertising space in the future.

    The Commission invites interested parties to submit requests to be panelists and to recommend other topics for discussion. The requests should be submitted electronically to behavioraladvertising_requests@ftc.gov by September 14, 2007. The Commission asks interested parties to include a stat
Karl Wabst

Concern Rises Over Behavioral Targeting and Ads - NYTimes.com - 0 views

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    As arguments swirl over online privacy, a new survey indicates the issue is a dominant concern for Americans.

    More than 90 percent of respondents called online privacy a "really" or "somewhat" important issue, according to the survey of more than 1,000 Americans conducted by TRUSTe, an organization that monitors the privacy practices of Web sites of companies like I.B.M., Yahoo and WebMD for a fee.

    When asked if they were comfortable with behavioral targeting - when advertisers use a person's browsing history or search history to decide which ad to show them - only 28 percent said they were. More than half said they were not. And more than 75 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, "The Internet is not well regulated, and naïve users can easily be taken advantage of."

    The survey arrives at a fractious time. Debate over behavioral advertising has intensified, with industry groups trying to avoid government intervention by creating their own regulatory standards. Still, some Congressional representatives and the Federal Trade Commission are questioning whether there are enough safeguards around the practice.

    Last month, the F.T.C. revised its suggestions for behavioral advertising rules for the industry, proposing, among other measures, that sites disclose when they are participating in behavioral advertising and obtain consumers' permission to do so.

    One F.T.C. commissioner, Jon Leibowitz, warned that if the industry did not respond, intervention would be next.

    "Put simply, this could be the last clear chance to show that self-regulation can - and will - effectively protect consumers' privacy," Mr. Leibowitz said, or else "it will certainly invite legislation by Congress and a more regulatory approach by our commission."

    Some technology companies are making changes on their own. Yahoo recently shortened the amount of time it keeps data derived from searches. It is also including a link in some ads that explains how
Karl Wabst

A Guide to Google's New Privacy Controls - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com - 0 views

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    Google has moved forward the debate about privacy and Internet advertising, in its typical way, with deceptively simple engineering and a willingness to impose its way on others.

    On Wednesday, Google became the last of the big advertising companies to start keeping track of where Internet users surf online so ads can be shown to people based on what they might be interested in buying.

    In its approach to ad targeting, the company is responding to calls by the Federal Trade Commission and others to be more clear with users' information and control over the information it collects.

    It has created a window into part of its database, so users can see that Google has deduced that they are interested in "Anime & Manga" comics, or "Alternative-Punk-Metal" music or travel to Afghanistan. (Yes, those are on its list of 600 interest categories.)

    It also built technology to allow your browser to remember that you don't want Google (or its DoubleClick unit) to remember anything about you. It is more robust than the opt-out system used by many companies that rely on cookies in browsers. These are technical feats that other ad companies said would be too hard.

Karl Wabst

Privacy on the Web: Is It a Losing Battle? - Knowledge@Wharton - 0 views

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    Visit the Amazon.com site to buy a book online and your welcome page will include recommendations for other books you might enjoy, including the latest from your favorite authors, all based on your history of purchases. Most customers appreciate these suggestions, much the way they would recommendations by a local librarian.

    But, what if you visited an investment site, only to find advertising messages suggesting therapies for your recently diagnosed heart condition? Chances are that you would experience what Fran Maier calls the "creepiness" factor, a sense that someone has been snooping into a part of your life that should remain private.

    Maier is the Executive Director of TrustE, a nonprofit that sets guidelines for online privacy and awards a seal of approval to companies meeting those guidelines. She was a speaker at the recent Supernova conference, an annual technology event in San Francisco organized by Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor Kevin Werbach in collaboration with Wharton.

    Creepiness Factor

    The creepiness factor is a risk inherent in so-called behavioral targeting. This practice is based on marketers anonymously observing a user's behavior on the Internet and compiling a personal profile based on interests and behavior -- sites visited, searches conducted, articles read, even emails written and received. Based on their profiles, users receive advertising targeted specifically to them, regardless of where they travel on the web.

    Consumer advocates worry that online data collection and tracking is going too far. Marketing executives counter that consumers benefit from seeing advertising relevant to their interests and contend that relinquishing some personal data is a reasonable trade-off for free access to Internet content, much of it supported by advertising.
Karl Wabst

E.U. Warns Internet Companies on User Privacy - NYTimes.com - 0 views

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    The use of data in the online world is being governed by the rules of the "Wild West," the European Commission will argue this week, in the clearest warning yet to Internet companies to curb how they use the information they collect on users.

    With concern growing over the amount of data gathered by the biggest players on the Internet, the comments will challenge the industry to agree on new principles for its use - or face a clampdown.

    Meglena Kuneva, the European consumer affairs commissioner, will argue that basic consumer rights are being violated by companies that profile and target consumers, according to a draft of a speech seen by the International Herald Tribune.

    "From the point of view of commercial communications," the draft speech reads, "the World Wide Web is turning out to be the world 'Wild West."'

    Kuneva is to deliver the speech to a meeting of around 200 industry and consumer representatives on Wednesday.

    Her comments reflect the anxiety of regulators on both sides of the Atlantic about the commercial use of information garnered through online tracking made possible via "cookies" - small files dropped into users' computers by the Web sites they visit.

    These cookies help companies take note of users' habits and can be sold to advertisers to help them target their marketing efforts. But their use raises serious questions about who knows which sites we visit and what they do with that information.

    In the United States, the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Jon Leibowitz, warned recently that, if the industry does not show it can protect users' privacy, it will invite legislation from Congress and a more regulatory approach from the F.T.C.
Karl Wabst

OMMA Behavioral: Stalking Versus Talking | SearchViews - Daily insights on Search Marke... - 0 views

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    Emily Riley of Forrester Research presented a lot of data during her keynote presentation at today's OMMA Behavioral Conference but one point she made seemed rather salient to me: many of those marketers and data firms involved in behavioral targeting seem to skip over social media as a source of information. They might look at the data surrounding the usage of those sites but they seem to rarely do any actually monitoring, let alone interacting there.

    It reminded me of an experience I had with my wife. We once lived in a building where we didn't have much interaction with our neighbors, very little beyond an occasional wave in the hallway. We could, however see their mail mixed with ours and our landlord's. My wife began to notice that the landlord and our neighbor were starting to get similar envelopes from law firms. I, being the incurious mail sorter I am, didn't really think much of it. She, on the other hand, was convinced that one of them must be suing the other and was able to spin out some fairly detailed scenarios based on other clues from the hallway, the presence of exterminators one day, the thickness of paint on the front door etc.

    One day I encountered our neighbor in the hallway and did my customary wave. "Oh by the way," He said, "We're moving out next week." Oh really? He then regaled me with the entire story which involved a variety of things including an exterminator, paint thickness, and law firms.

    My wife and I were both able to glean essentially the same information. However if I had approached him and said, without any warning, "I bet you and our landlord are having one heckuva legal squabble," he probably would have punched me in the nose. I also believe that the ease with which I was able to get the whole story out of him suggests that had we interacted more it would have been I scooping my wife and not the other way around.

    These two approaches to gathering information are akin to the difference between following
Karl Wabst

Legal Technology - Web Behavioral Advertising Goes to Court - 0 views

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    Big Brother may be at it again.

    Behavioral advertising -- the tracking of consumer's Internet surfing activity to create tailored ads -- has triggered an intense legal controversy that has law firms scrambling to stay on top of a burgeoning practice.

    Attorneys say that behavioral advertising is raising privacy, litigation and regulation fears among consumer advocates, the electronic commerce and advertising industries and legislators.

    Law firms are busy helping companies come up with a transparent way of letting consumers know that their online activities are being tracked and possibly shared.

    "Lawmakers and companies are having a tough time keeping up with this new frontier of Internet privacy issues, and there is growing consumer unrest about behavioral advertising, leading in some cases to consumer rebellion," said Lisa Sotto, a partner and head of the privacy and security data group in the New York office of Richmond, Va.-based Hunton & Williams. "Consumers find this type of tracking intrusive, and businesses are starting to take the consumer reaction seriously," she said.

    The buzz over behavioral advertising has been building since congressional hearings that were held last year, during which Congress called on Internet service providers (ISPs) to testify about a highly controversial advertising practice known as "deep-packet inspection."

    The practice gives companies the ability to track every Web site consumers visit and provides a detailed look at everything they're doing, such as where they're going on vacation, who is going, how much they spent on the trip and what credit card was used.

    But then came the first class action targeting behavioral advertising, filed against Foster City, Calif.-based NebuAd Inc., an online advertising company accused of spying on consumers from several states and allegedly violating their privacy and computer security rights. The lawsuit specifically alleges that NebuAd engaged in deep-packet inspection. Valentine v. Ne
Karl Wabst

An Icon That Says They're Watching You - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com - 0 views

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    I have an open question for the people who complain about the potential of advertising networks to track your behavior on the Internet: What is a better way?

    Some might say that all behavioral targeting should simply be banned. But if you don't think that showing Chevy ads to people looking for cars is equivalent to poisoning the peanut butter, we need a middle ground that explains to people what's going on and lets them decide what is acceptable.

    This is much harder than it sounds: Any one Web page you visit can have a dozen advertisements and invisible bits of code that each send information about you to different companies, each with different ways of using that data. The privacy policy of the site you are looking at - not that anyone reads privacy policies - can't even try to explain this to you, because the site owner doesn't even know what all of its advertisers are doing.

    I'm coming to the conclusion that each advertisement on a page has to speak for itself. That's implicit in the approach Google is taking for its new behavioral targeting system. It puts the phrase "Ads by Google" on all its advertisements. Click that link and you'll get some limited information about Google's targeting system and an ability to adjust some of the interests that Google is tracking.

    But Google's approach is presented in a way that glosses over what they are doing and discourages people from reading the disclosure and exercising control, says Joseph Turow, a marketing professor at the Annenberg School for Communication of the University of Pennsylvania.

    Mr. Turow has developed a plan that is simpler and more comprehensive: Put an icon on each ad that signifies that the ad collects or uses information about users. If you click the icon, you will go to what he calls a "privacy dashboard" that will let you understand exactly what information was used to choose that ad for you. And you'll have the opportunity to edit the information or opt out o
Karl Wabst

Why Are You Following Me? 01/30/2009 - 0 views

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    Educating consumers about what behavioral targeting is and is not up to, deep within the cookies of their browser, seems to be a bit like alternative energy development. Pretty much everyone says the industry should be doing more about it, and yet it is hard to see where and with whom it starts. Most online materials related to BT are pitched to one end of the value chain, marketers. It's not clear to me that most of the companies in this space are even comfortable talking directly to consumers, let alone taking the time to develop an accessible language to describe their process.

    Specific Media controls the BehavioralTargeting.com domain and uses it to educate marketers about its methods. Even the Wikipedia entry for this field is really an explanation for advertisers. This is understandable, since most people who are familiar with the term likely come from the industry. But it seems to me the industry misses an opportunity to practice more often, and in more places, what it knows ultimately needs to be done.

    You guys need to find better, clearer, simpler ways to explain what it is you are doing in our browsers -- and why you are doing it. And what are the real benefits and risks a consumer incurs by tacitly agreeing to your presence? Isn't every possible point of contact with a suspicious consumer a teachable moment?

    In an earlier post, I recounted how I struck some retargeting gold when FetchBack tagged and remarketed me during my travels online. An opt-out option is clearly available at the front page of the FetchBack site. Unfortunately, from there you either opt-out (kick over to the Network Advertising Initiative site) or click into a long scrolling privacy policy that doesn't actually get around to explaining retargeting until a few screens down.
Karl Wabst

The Associated Press: Cable's answer to online's ad success: targeting - 0 views

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    You're watching Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show," when suddenly you see a commercial for the Mustang convertible you've been eyeing - with a special promotion from Ford, which knows you just ended your car lease.

    A button pops up on the screen. You click it with the remote and are asked whether you want more information about the car. You respond "yes." Days later, an information packet arrives at your home, the address on file with your cable company.

    This is the future of cable TV advertising: personal and targeted.

    Cable TV operators are taking a page from online advertising behemoths like Google Inc. to bring these so-called "addressable" ads onto the television.

    "It hasn't really been done on TV before," said Mike Eason, chief data officer of Canoe Ventures, a group formed by the nation's six largest cable operators to launch targeted and interactive ads on a national platform starting this summer.

    They're betting they can even one-up online ads because they also offer a full-screen experience - a car commercial plays much better on your TV than on your PC. As such, they hope to charge advertisers more.

    The stakes are high: Cable companies get only a small portion of the $182 billion North American advertising market. Eason said the cable operators, which sell local ads on networks like Comedy Central, get roughly 10 percent of the commercial time on those channels. With targeting, they are hoping to expand that.

    But they have to tread carefully. Privacy advocates worry the practice opens the door to unwanted tracking of viewing habits so ads can target consumers' likes or dislikes. They also fear it could lead to discrimination, such as poorer households getting ads for the worst auto-financing deals because they are deemed credit risks.

    "You've got to tell people you're doing it and you've got to give people a way to say no," said Pam Dixon, executive director of World Privacy Forum in Carlsbad, Calif. "Otherwise, it's just not fair."
Karl Wabst

How and Why Behavioral Advertising Works - 0 views

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    If you've been advertising online for a long time, you may have gone through stages: sticking with banner ads at first, and then going with search engine advertising, and maybe putting your ads on a publisher network belonging to a search engine or an advertising company. Most of the time you probably tried to put your ad in a matching context. That might be the wrong approach.

    I've written before about behavioral advertising, also known as behavioral targeting. You can read my first article about it here. If the topic of behavioral targeting intrigues you, you might also want to read about behavioral retargeting. Before I plunge into the content and focus of this article, though, let me give you a quick definition. Behavioral advertising is a form of online advertising that follows the user around. For example, a web surfer who has just priced some flights on an airline's website might be shown a travel-related ad when he surfs to the next website in which he's interested, which might be for the local pizza joint.

    The theory behind behavioral advertising is, in a sense, pretty simple. Most people are bombarded with ads most of the time, especially when web surfing. As a result, we tune them out. Because of the usual advertising practices, we might be better at tuning out ads that are in the same context as the content we're reading. In other words, someone reading content on a web site about where the best ski slopes are just might have completely ignored an ad for your lovely Aspen getaway. To rise above this clamor, it's necessary to hit web surfers with a surprise, something that doesn't fit the normal context. Think about it: aren't you more likely to stare at someone talking into a banana than a cell phone?

    That's the theory, but it's new enough that researchers and marketers are still doing surveys to prove or disprove it. The most recent one was conducted by BL Labs and released by ad network BlueLithium. You'd probably expect it to
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