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Advertising has become an integral and inseparable part of the World Wide Web. However, neither public auditing nor monitoring mechanisms still exist in this emerging area. In this paper, the authors present their initial efforts on building a content-level auditing service for web-based ad networks. Their content-level measurements - understanding the ad distribution mechanisms and evaluating location-based and behavioral targeting approaches - bring useful auditing information to all entities involved in the online advertising business. They extensively evaluate Google's, AOL's, and Adblade's ad networks and demonstrate how their different design philosophies dominantly affect their performance at the content level.
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