Just a few weeks after Facebook took a lot of flak over targeted advertising, its main rival MySpace has announced a similar program to provide advertisements to its users based on personal preferences and profiles. There are several ways that someone could qualify for a category, as explained in the article:
"The algorithms make their judgments partly on certain keywords in the profile. A member might be obvious by describing himself as a financial information enthusiast, for example. But more than likely the clues are more subtle. He might qualify for that category by listing Donald Trump as a hero, Fortune magazine as a favorite publication or “Wall Street” as a favorite movie."
MySpace officials say that clicks on targeted advertisements are 80% higher than on ads that have not been directly related to a user's profile. MySpace officials also forecast that its monthly revenue could jump from $40 million this year to $70 million next year as the targeted ads continue to improve clickthroughs and as advertisers become willing to pay more for the ads.
MySpace to Discuss Effort to Customize Ads (New York Times)
Google, one of the major players in targeted advertisements, has also announced a deal to use its AdSense system to deliver ads related to the news content on CNN. This is similar to the ads that users of Gmail, Google's free e-mail service, have been seeing for years. It remains to be seen if MySpace will face the same kind of opposition by privacy advocates that Facebook saw a few weeks ago when they announced a similar program. Ultimately, all these sites are doing is capitalizing on the time that their users spend in front of the computer screen, much as other media does in physical locations like colleges, which are implementing digital signage for many purposes, one of the most prominent being advertising.
Google, CNN Partner For Targeted Ads (Appscout)
Facebook under fire over targeted advertising (Telegraph)Digital signage on campus: information, advertising and alerts (Digital Signage Today) In a capitalist society, advertisements are simply a part of the landscape. Personally, I would rather see advertisements that have to do with my interests than "Buy V!agra and C!al!s over the Internet" spam. I have used Gmail for years and have even clicked on some of its targeted ads. For me, as long as a site doesn't provide its categorized lists to another company without my permission, it can deliver all the ads it likes. I have learned to ignore the ones I have no interest in, just as I have learned the most efficient way to get through commercials with my DVR. Do you see problems with targeted advertisements? Are you going to stop using MySpace, Google, or any of the other sites that are planning to use targeted ads? What safeguards for privacy would you like to see in place?