There is a lot of talk these days in both the traditional media and cyberspace about targeted ads. I'm sure you've heard of them, but perhaps you are not exactly sure what targeted ads are. Forgive me if it seems like I'm questioning your intelligence; since I work as a privacy professional, targeted ads are something that I read about every day.
So if you don't know, as the name implies, targeted advertising strives to serve you online ads that are geared toward your tastes, based on your prior browsing habits. The end result, the folks paying the bills hope, is that the ad you see will resonate with you, and you'll buy the product.
For some people there is a certain "ick" factor. They worry that if they surf to a "bad site," they'll get advertisements for "bad things." First of all, those kinds of sites don't advertise on NewYorkTimes.com or Yahoo. Putting that aside, there are benefits to targeted ads. After all, if you're taking a trip to, for example, Boston, would you rather see an ad for a restaurant in Boston, or for a car?
Personally, I'm not sure how big of a threat targeted ads are. After all, as I often say, I can ignore a targeted ad just as easily as I can ignore a regular ad. And, consider the e-mail I got this week. Seeing it makes me think that their targeting systems are not as quite accurate as some people fear.
Those of you who know me know that nothing I do in life -- and therefore on the web -- should make an advertising bot "think," This is a good one to show Seese. I know he'll click through, and we'll earn money. In fact, you can see it appeared twice. So they're really off the mark.