Originally published: December 16, 2009
Last updated: December 16, 2009 - 4:52pm
David Hallerman, eMarketer senior analyst, calls search a brief way station that users jump from, moving from a search engine to one Web site and, perhaps, to another. During each movement from page to page, users' actions are tracked and recorded through the browser. Google and Yahoo monitor that browser behavior. And although the two engines separately provide a way to opt out of ad targeting, a recent post by Zachary Rodgers at ClickZ suggests that not many people choose, or take the time, to do so. In fact, a rough calculation suggests about 6,600 of Google's users, at the most, opt out of ad targeting per week, Rodgers writes. It appears that behavioral targeting will become an accepted practice. People will want to see ads that can provide them with the knowledge to make informed decisions. They just will need to keep in mind that brands speak to them in marketing tongue, so they shouldn't take the message at face value. The question becomes whether the engines will consider using real-time tweets and status updates from MySpace and Facebook as a targeting method to reach people searching for information, products or services on the Web. And whether using that data to target behavior is, indeed, a breach of privacy.
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