Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Google Interest-Based Advertising: You Can Put Lipstick on a Pig...

Today Google rolled out its Behavioral Targeting platform disguised as Interest-Based Advertising. Will chanding the name from the creepy to the altrustic make a difference?

Hey Joe Consumer, we're not going to track your behavior and show you ads based on what big brother was watching you do. We're simply going to "associate categories of interest — say sports, gardening, cars, pets — with your browser" so you can start "seeing ads about the things that interest you." Now isn't that Googley?!

Of course, Google is going to great lengths to make sure consumers don't get spooked. Each ad will be clearly labeled with a link to learn more about Google's ad serving policies. And they've built something called Ads Preferences Manager, which lets you modify your "interests." Finally, they've created a browser plug-in that (re)enforces your opt-out.

OK, if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times -- Don't Police Privacy, Just Pay People! While I applaud the steps Google has taken to inform and protect, none of this would be necessary if advertisers just paid consumers directly for viewing their ads. Why should Google and all the media publishers profit from advanced ad targeting? (I know, I know... it's the quid pro quo for all the great, free content they put out and/or search technologies they provide.) But there's going to come a point where consumers just won't tolerate behavioral targeting because, no matter how nicely you dress it up, it's still a pig.

Lipstick on a Pig

1 comment:

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Thank you, a very interesting topic

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