Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Google Officially Begins Behavioral Targeting

In March of 2007 I wrote that Google should enter behavioral targeting and I even predicted that it will. Guess what? On Wednesday (March 11, 2009) Google officially announced that it will start “Interest Based Advertising” (which is also called “Behavioral Targeting”). Google has tried Behavioral Targeting in past and started talking about ad personalization, but this is the first time it officially announced that it will start Behavioral Targeting.

In my post titled Google and Behavioral Targeting I wrote:

“I think it is a matter of time when Google start connecting the dots and announce it’s entry into Behavioral Targeting. They might call it something else but at the core it will be leveraging the visitors’ behavior all across the web to better target ad on its network.”

At this point I am not clear on where Google will collect this data from. I encourage you to read my blog post to see what sort of data Google can potentially use for Behavioral targeting.
Google’s large footprint (e.g. Google Search, Google Analytics, Adsense, Adwords, AdManager, Google Checkout, Blogger and list goes on) will surely draw privacy concerns with this announcement.

According to

“To counter potential criticism, Google has taken steps to offer some transparency into how it delivers ads and to give consumers some measure of choice, and control. It has, however, made one important choice for its users by forcing them to opt out of behavioral ads rather than inviting them to opt in.

Google provides information about how it serves ads through the Ads By Google link that accompanies Google ads. It also created a tool called the Ads Preference Manager, which allows users to "view, delete, or add interest categories associated with your browser so that you can receive ads that are more interesting to you." And it provides users with the option to opt out from the receiving the AdSense/DoubleClick cookies used to track user interests. “

The thing that really bugs me is that by default all the visitors (who visit any site that uses Google products such as adsense and maybe Google Analytics) and all the sites (publishers using Google products) are automatically opted-in to share their data with Google for targeting.
Visitors (like you and me) and publisher (like me - I use Google Analytics and Adsense and this blog is on blogger) will have to take an extra step to opt out. For visitors this opt-out will work via cookie and if they delete the cookie they will be opted back in. (See my post on How to Opt out of Behavioral Targeting Networks).

As I say in all my presentations on Behavioral Targeting - "It's a Targeted Targeted Targeted Targeted World". You will be Targeted.

Other blog post on this topic that you might be interested in:

Comments? Questions?

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