Who Do Online Advertisers Think You Are?

Image: Edward del Rosario

Image: Edward del Rosario

“Should we worry about ads aimed specifically at us everywhere we go on the Web and, increasingly, on our mobile devices too? Yes, and not just because the ads can be invasive and annoying. Real-time bidding also makes the online marketplace less of an even playing field, allowing companies to send loyalty points or discounts — or price increases — to individuals based on their perceived spending power. The travel site Orbitz, after learning that Mac users spend 30 percent more on hotel rooms than P.C. users, has started to send Mac users ads for hotels that are 11 percent more expensive than the ones that P.C. users are seeing, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article. […]

As our experiences become customized, there is more at stake than just discount coupons and deals. There’s also the future of our common culture. As personalization shapes not only the ads we see and the news we read but also the potential dates we encounter and the Google search results we receive, the possibility of not only shared values but also a shared reality becomes more and more elusive.” (Jeffrey Rosen, NYTimes.com)

What do Jell-O, Kraft, and Adidas Have in Common? They All Want to Know Your Face

What do Jell-O, Kraft, and Adidas Have in Common? They All Want to Know Your Face -  Forbes

Image: Forbes

“Next time you’re looking up at a billboard, there’s a chance it may be looking back down at you.  Immersive Labs has developed software for digital billboards that can measure the age range, gender, and attention-level of a passerby and quantify the effectiveness of an outdoor marketing campaign. Beyond just bringing metrics to outdoor advertisements, facial detection technology can tailor ads to people based on their features.

Plan UK, a children’s charity group ran a bus stop advertisement as part of their “Because I Am A Girl” campaign, where women passing by would see a full 40-second clip, while if man saw the ad, it would only display a message directing him to their website. The next generation of systems could take this data collection much further – an algorithm could judge whether you look happy, sad, sick, healthy, comfortable, or nervous and direct personalized ads to you.” (Tarun Wadhwa, Forbes)

Bots Raise Their Heads Again on Facebook

Bots Raise Their Heads Again on Facebook - New York Times

Photo: Kimihiro Hoshino/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“The company, called Limited Run, helps bands and record labels sell music and merchandise online. It bought advertisements for itself on Facebook this spring. It wanted to know who was clicking, so it built its own analytics tool. It discovered that only one in five clicks seemed to be from human beings. The rest, it said, came from bots, which, in essence, are bits of software performing automated tasks.” (Somini Sengupta, NYTimes.com Bits)

For $2 a Star, an Online Retailer Gets 5-Star Product Reviews

For $2 a Star, an Online Retailer Gets 5-Star Product Reviews - New York times

Photo: John Gress for The New York Times

“By the time VIP Deals ended its rebate on Amazon.com late last month, its leather case for the Kindle Fire was receiving the sort of acclaim once reserved for the likes of Kim Jong-il. Hundreds of reviewers proclaimed the case a marvel, a delight, exactly what they needed to achieve bliss. And definitely worth five stars.

As the collective wisdom of the crowd displaces traditional advertising, the roaring engines of e-commerce are being stoked by favorable reviews. The VIP deal reflects the importance merchants place on these evaluations — and the lengths to which they go to game the system.” (David Streitfeld, NYTimes.com)