This AdWeek story reports that Lycos is teaming up with a company called AlmondNet to track users’ search behavior, then serve them high CPM banners as they visit non search sites. Claria has already announced it wants into this game, and I had a very interesting chat with a source today about Yahoo’s attempts to do something similar on its own network. The net net: it’s hard to do well, and there are major privacy issues.
Of course, one of the major goals of any publisher is turning low CPM impressions into high CPM impressions. If only they knew what their readers’ wanted, and could serve them ads which understood that intent in real time. To quote from the AdWeek piece:
AlmondNet has struck deals with undisclosed ISPs and adware companies to collect non-personally identifiable search behavior through cookies. The search data is then used by AlmondNet’s Post-Search broker network, which buys low-priced run-of-site inventory from publishers, to display graphical ads tied to previous search behavior.
For example, a user who searched for “health insurance” on Google might later see a banner ad on a weather site reading, “Looking for health insurance? Click here for low-cost options.”
“Forty percent of online advertising spending goes to search engines, but people spend less than 5 percent of their time on search engines,” said Roy Shkedi, CEO of AlmondNet. “Something doesn’t add up.”
You know what doesn’t add up for me? The “undisclosed ISPs and adware companies.” Behavioral networks are nothing new, but clearly this idea is gaining momentum. If it is going to really work, we have to have transparency, period. I want a dashboard for my data, I want to know how it’s being used, and i want to edit it at my will. Nothing less will work, in the long run, or should, to my mind. Give that to consumers, and this space will not only heat up, it will take off.