Google's New Ads May Be Watching You

Thursday, March 12, 2009

London (ECN) - Google's popular AdSense marketing platform announced a controversial new advertisement standard that may change the way online advertising works.

The new program, which Google is calling "interest based" advertising, dynamically changes website ads based upon the users previous browsing. In the future, users can expect advertisements to match their browsing interest, perhaps highlighting dog grooming services for pet-lovers, or shoes for shoppers. For now the program is in the testing stage, with the new advertisements first appearing on Google owned properties, such as YouTube.

Privacy advocates claim the new marketing strategy is an unwarranted intrusion into their browsing habits. Google dismisses such claims, insisting that the program will only heighten user experience and connect advertisers with their audience with great efficiency.

Vice President of Product Management Susan Wojcicki explains the new paradigm: "If, for example, you love adventure travel and therefore visit adventure travel sites, Google could show you more ads for activities like hiking trips to Patagonia." Google intends for the new ads to be customizable for the user as well, allowing individuals to select specific categories of advertisements to be displayed.

Many followers of Google have been expecting such an announcement to come, citing Yahoo's similar advertising plan, unveiled three weeks ago. Advertisers in particular are excited, anticipating an increase in "click-through," making marketing on the internet more targeted and cost-effective. The announcement boosted Google stock by more than 3 percent.

While initial reaction in the financial sector sounds positive, legislative and regulatory action could soon have Google on the defensive. The Federal Trade Commission refers to the new practice as "behavioral advertising," hinting at a more sinister interpretation than the "interest based" label applied by Google. Past investigations into similar ad tracking has resulted in congressional investigations against companies such as NebuAd and Phorm, who practice a more aggressive form of user-tracking.

Even Congress may get involved, with the House of Representative's Energy and Commerce Committee voicing concern with the new form of marketing. While the current testing would require users to "opt-out" of the behavioral ads, pressure from privacy advocates may force Google into an "opt-in" stance, wherein users must request the service be provided to them.

Even while the debate rages, Google pushes on, bringing a different landscape, with new questions, to internet advertising.


Source: ECanadaNow

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2 comments:

WARSHOCK said...

may natanggap akong email galing sa google regarding interest based advertising and privacy policy.
well, guess we have to update our privacy policies rather suffer the consequences later. hindi pa na set up ung sa akin...lol.
as to interest based advt., ano ba un? lol. we'll see in the long run. lalong estrikto na ang google ngaun.

WARSHOCK said...

I got it just now, bro. Mr. G monitors by ads preference cookies. You can also opt out by downloading an opt out plugin compatible with IE6 up and Firefox.
Post an article about it just now...'Google Knows What You Searched Last Summer'.

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