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Thread: Interest Based Advertising

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    Default Interest Based Advertising

    I have just in the last day or so received an email from Google saying that interest based ads are now available. In short, ads will be displayed based on users past interactions with the Google Adsense and browsing habits. Or the example Google uses, if the user has visited 5 sports sites, with adsense, then visits your site, relevant ads will be displayed based on the other sites this user has visited.

    While it is something that you actually have to activate for it to be used on your sites, and additionally include relevant information in your sites privacy policy. I wonder if taking it to this level is really what we should be looking at. But more so who is google more looking to help here. I am thinking their own interests, and maybe that of the publisher. As this is potentially likely to generate slightly higher clicks, as people may see ads they want to see no matter what page they are on.
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    Based on the discussion in https://www.small-business-forum.net/...earches-2.html i have maybe another comment, in regards to MFA sites.

    I think MFA sites may actually benefit from this change. Suddenly a site that is gear to display ads on the specific topic, the site is generated about and covered with keywords to show specific ads. Now start showing ads for what the visitors are interested in and likely will gain extra clicks based on this. However some of the sites that are generated to display high profit keywords, will probably not fair so well as they will not be showing the ads the owner wants to.

    However this being said it is up to the owner to enable this option in their adsense account. So really nobody is going to lose unless they just do something without reading into it.
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    From a marketing standpoint interest based ads do make sense. Say you're searching on and off all day for digital cameras. Makes sense that you might be thinking about buying one so why not show you more ads for digital cameras even if you're surfing CNN later that night? From what I understand most studies have shown this kind of advertising does lead to better results. If that's the case Google will be happier, publishers will be happier, and in all honesty shoppers will likely be happier because the ads they see are more relevant to them.

    The issues are the privacy concerns. No one wants to think they're being followed while they're surfing online. Also the system works on an opt-out basis which is really not the right way to build trust. Most people will never realize what's happening let alone know how to opt-out of the system. Also the opt-out works by setting a cookie meaning that in order to opt-out of the system you need to allow Google to track you on a permanent basis. Those are definitely things that may backfire if word gets out.
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    This is where my main problem lies, not that i may do better with people more likely to click an ad that they want to see the site that is being promoted. But more so that even if i enable it, then add something to the privacy policy. What kind of trust does this build for my readers, if i annouce it so they are fully aware i am going to lose some because they dont want to believe they are being tracked, while others wont care. However if i just put it in the privacy thing and let it sit and then people realize later on that it is happening they will leave because they were not told.

    You cannot win either way, and you cannot take the decision to become a purely profit based idea, as it then becomes profit over morals. It just all gets to complex to deal with.

    Anyway any thoughts on a decent adsense alternative.
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    I don't think people are going to have trust issues with you because of this. You're not the one tracking them. Google is.

    First if you don't like the idea then don't allow the interest based ads. If you do decide to use them just be clear in your privacy policy what's going on. Here's what I'm thinking of saying.

    I'll probably have a section on the privacy policy with a heading of Google. I'll explain how I'm using AdSense and offer the points Google insists we make. I'll try to add some extra info about what's going on and then let people know they can opt out of the tracking with a link to the page where people can opt out of having their search history used for ads.

    I have a hard time seeing how someone won't trust me for providing that info. You can even go further by providing an email for people to contact you if they object to what's going on and if enough people complain you can remove the ads or drop the interest based part.

    If there's a backlash against this it's going to be against Google and other advertisers. It won't be against individual publishers.

    As far as alternatives search for contextual advertising. There are plenty of options, though I expect in time anyone who can do some kind of interest based advertising will. If you really object to it all and think it may cost you readers then look for another way to monetize.
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    Wasnt this the way adverts worked in the olden, pre-google days? Back in the days when Doubleclick were the market leader, ads were based on user behaviour and sites they visited. Then along came google, who luanched ads based on page content rather than user behaviour.

    Google became dominant and ended up buying out doubleclick. Now we see the old model returning.
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    I think the difference would be that Google can collect more info and so the interest based ads should in theory be better targeted. The old DoubleClick way they would only know if you'd visited certain partner sites or maybe it was that they had limited ad inventory to show. They dealt in popups and popunders where now the ads will be contextual.

    You're right though. There is a bit of irony here isn't there?

    If I'm not mistaken I think the new interest based ads will be mixed in the the content based ads. I'm not sure one will be completely replacing the other. Don't hold me to that though.
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