Behavioral Targeting is Changing the Face of the Net
• Have you ever wondered how your favorite website remembers you as well as your likes and wants? Did it not catch you off guard or even pleased you that you are presented with ads that feature things that you are interested in? Well do not fret nor do not be afraid because you are not being stalked. Actually, you have just experienced behavioral targeting, and it is just the beginning.• Behavioral targeting is nothing evil but a real effort on the part of known firms such as Microsoft and Apple try to learn what their customers like and dislike. Once they know this, then Microsoft will then try to create new or update their current programs to fit the needs and wants of their customers. But since firms like Apple and Microsoft have customers all over the world, they cannot simply ask these questions. So, instead, what they will do instead is have someone else do it for them.
• Basically, behavioral targeting works along these lines: Microsoft and Facebook will contact a known firm that specializes in behavioral targeting and ask them to target end users of their products in Asia, for example. The firm, let’s call them the XYZ Company, will then place a tracking code on both Facebook and Microsoft’s sites. So now, when you visit either of these sites you will be see a message on privacy and you have the right to opt out or say no and you will not be tracked; however, if you do not opt out, then the XYZ Company will start tracking you for their clients Microsoft and Facebook.
So as you go about surfing on the World Wide Web, the XYZ Companyis tracking and collecting data on you. This data includes:• Your age• Ethnicity• Favorite sites• Favorite topics• Location• Payment history• Applications you use• Applications you do not likeWith this information at hand, Microsoft and Facebook can nowconcentrate on tweaking their applications so that their customers inAsia will remain satisfied. And with their client based happy, they willmore than likely tell their friends of their positive experiences withboth Microsoft and Facebook and encourage them to become clientsas well.
With behavioral targeting in place the natural question comes to mind whatdoes this mean long term for the internet? The answer is very simple; theWorld Wide Web will become a customized personalized online home for endusers.Think about it; because of behavioral targeting you have one end user who isa National Football League (NFL) fan of the Dallas Cowboys. So now, everytime he logins on to his home page, it will automatically change itself to aDallas Cowboys’ theme; the color scheme as well as the latest team news onthe front page. And as he continues to surf the web the background colorremains the same and once in a while he will encounter banners and adsrelated to the Dallas Cowboys and or the NFL that might interest him. At thesame time, you have another user whose interest lies with fashion. When thisparticular user logins to his home page, he will not be seeing the colorschemes or themes related to the NFL but rather the fashion shows in NewYork.Behavioral targeting is a term that is foreign to most internet users but it is apractice that has been going on for a long time. Because of behavioraltargeting the internet is changing from an impersonal void of information to apersonalized portal of the future.