It’s a Targeted Targeted Targeted Targeted World

In a recent survey CNET asked AOL,, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo about their privacy policies and behavioral targeting. In some cases they asked follow-up questions for clarification.

Here are the results


So what did the Search engines say about Behavioral Targeting?

AOL was very open about using Behavioral Targeting. They have been using Revenue Science and recently purchased Revenue Science’s competitor Tacoda.

ASK said they do not use behavioral targeting. I have not paid much attention to ASK so I cannot comment if that is true or not.

ASK said they do not use behavioral targeting. I have not paid attention to ask so cannot comment if that is true or not.
Google said they do not use behavioral targeting. However as I showed you last month, they use same session targeting, I call it behavioral targeting. Their following answers were not clear to me

CNET: Do you do behavioral targeting, meaning showing ads to users based on their behavior across multiple queries?
Grand: We are committed to protecting user privacy. We also want to provide users with a more rewarding online experience by making the advertising and content users see relevant to them. We believe the targeting capabilities, reporting and analytics we offer today provide advertisers with an excellent ROI and provide a high-quality user experience. Currently, our system incorporates a large number of signals (such as the user’s query, the user’s location, type of site, content, and the advertiser’s landing page) when targeting and ranking ads. We have not focused on demographic targeting to date for targeting ads on search result pages.”

Isn’t that what is called behavioral targeting? Demographic is one element and is not the main ingredient for Behavioral Targeting, Behavioral Targeting is based on behavior, demographic provides another criteria to segment the behavior by but is not required. Once again, do not confuse Behavioral Targeting with targeting based on Demographic information. Seems like Google is saying since we do not use Demograohic information we are not doing Behavioral Targeting.

CNET: We weren’t able to figure out your answer to our question asking whether you do behavioral targeting. In other words, if I search for “New York City vacation” in one query and “vacation hotels” in a second query a moment later, does evaluate the two responses, figure out that I’m probably looking for New York City hotels, and display ads appropriately?
Grand (Google): No.
Well, I showed some examples of it last month, check out my article titled “Ad Targeting on Google Search Engine“.

MSN: Representative of MSN said that they offer Behavioral Targeting through AdCenter. He indicated that they will begin offering behavioral ad targeting on third-party sites. He also said that MSN uses some demographic data from services such as Hotmail and Windows Live for targeting but uses in non-identifiable fashion.”

Yahoo, was very open about using behavioral targeting. According to yahoo
“Per our privacy policy, when a user is logged into a Yahoo product or service, they are not anonymous to us. Logged-in users may receive customized ads based on general demographic categories such as geo-location, gender, and/or age range.”

What does this all mean?

Well, Behavioral Targeting has arrived, you will be targeted (and already are weather you know it or not). Yahoo, MSN and AOL are doing it. Google, even if they are denying it, is already targeting you. ASK will follow suite soon. “It’s a Targeted Targeted Targeted Targeted World”.

One Reply to “It’s a Targeted Targeted Targeted Targeted World”

  1. If you manage an AdWords account, you occasionally run Google queries to see your ads and where they appear. You don’t click on them, you just look. But sometimes when AdWords says you ads are appearing in positions 1 and 2, you try it for yourself and find the ads way down on the page, or not even in the search results at all. You can fix this by deleting all your cookies. Then Poof! your ads are in position 1 or 2, just like AdWords says. Apparently Google is watching your behavior over many sessions, so after a while they notice many search queries that bring up your ads, and they notice you don’t click, so they stop showing ads you appear not to be interested in. This is pretty sophisticated, because our competitors’ ads do keep showing up, probably because every few months I’ll click on a competitor’s ad to see what they are up to. Apparently Google remembers what “I like” because it’s just my ads that drop off. Now when I want to view ads I’m in the habit of bringing up a second browser I don’t usually use (MS IE), clearing cookies, and doing the query, so I can see what a “normal” Google user sees.

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