Not So Great Britain

Where were you online? Advertisers know | June 22, 2007

Personal identity has taken on a new meaning in the digital age, where basic facts like your name, address or age are far less important to some people than the collected records of what you were looking at online.

Technologies for monitoring and interpreting Internet habits as a predictor of future behavior cropped up at the start of this century, but only now are gaining momentum as the newest gold mine for Web sites and their advertisers.

Known as behavioral targeting, the premise is to follow the sites you visit and build a picture of what products may interest you, then deliver related advertising in time for you to choose your purchase.

U.S. marketers will nearly double their spending on such advertising to $1 billion next year from $575 million in 2007, according to research firm eMarketer. By 2011, behavioral targeting will surge to nearly $3.8 billion of online ads.

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