See if you believe this Behavioral Targeter is really accessing “anonymous” info on you and your friends!

excerpt: “A behavioral targeting firm called Media6degrees said it’s engineered a workaround to the dual problems of data and relationship glut. Rather than look at a person’s friend list, the company uses a combination of cookies and ad server logs to pinpoint a person’s interests and generate anonymous profiles of her real friends… Media6degrees found an Internet analogy in referral information stored in ad server logs. Those logs can be made to cough up specific social networking profile pages an individual has visited recently by analyzing referring URL structures, which is potentially actionable information when juxtaposed with an action taken by the ad-clicker… Affinity groups of presumably anonymous individuals are created by grouping individuals who have visited the same set of profiles.”

But how does the firm get access to those server logs?… it partners with a network of advertisers that each volunteer to place a cookie on the browsers of Web users visiting its sites. Participating advertisers and site owners receive a small CPM to distribute its pixel.

“If you put up a media pixel on your site, we can not only help you retarget an individual who came to that site, but we can help you identify micro-affinity groups…”

source: New Firm Combines Social and Behavioral Ad Targeting. Zachary Rogers. May 6, 2008

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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