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Today’s experiments in intelligent advertising are too clever by half for Internet news 7/24/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Monetize.
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In an ideal world, advertisers would pay only for ads that reached their best sales prospects. Pay-per-click ads from Google are now coming close to that ideal for those products and services where keyword searches and “click-here-for-more-info” have something to do with the purchase process, and for users engaged in searches. But the technology race is on for other forms of “intelligent advertising.” For example, AOL’s newly acquired TACODA competes in a space called “behavioral targeting,” which involves identifying individuals’ browsing habits, categorizing them into groups that relate somehow to what ads they are most likely to respond to, then streaming ads to the sites they visit (see interview by Scott Karp).

But in regards to Internet news advertising of the future, my hunch is that these “behavioral targeting” experiments are all-too-clever solutions to temporary problems, and the ultimate solutions will be much simpler. Just as Google searchers reveal their value as sales prospects by typing in keywords, Internet news seekers will reveal theirs through their clicks on highly specialized news sites and the individual stories within them. The stories themselves will be embedded with sales prospect-appropriate ads, and the news sites that aggregate these stories will be festooned with advertising that reflects the ads on their collective stories. Perhaps not the intelligent solution geeks might hope for, but a dumbed-down solution that works.

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