Location-based advertising is not a new concept. Companies such as AdMob have being doing it for while now, but it seem that Google had the idea first.
News has surfaced that Google filed a US patent nearly 7 years ago for “determining and/or using location information in an ad system.”
Venturebeat discovered the patent as it was finally granted last week. Here is an extract from the patent:
“The usefulness, and consequently the performance, of advertisements are improved by allowing businesses to better target their ads to a responsive audience. Location information is determined (or simply accepted) and used. For example, location information may be used in a relevancy determination of an ad. As another example, location information may be used in an attribute (e.g., position) arbitration. Such location information may be associated with price information, such as a maximum price bid. Such location information may be associated with ad performance information. Ad performance information may be tracked on the basis of location information. The content of an ad creative, and/or of a landing page may be selected and/or modified using location information. Finally, tools, such as user interfaces, may be provided to allow a business to enter and/or modify location information, such as location information used for targeting and location-dependent price information. The location information used to target and/or score ads may be, include, or define an area. The area may be defined by at least one geographic reference point (e.g., defined by latitude and longitude coordinates) and perhaps additional information. Thus, the area may be a circle defined by a geographic reference point and a radius, an ellipse defined by two geographic reference points and a distance sum, or a polygon defined by three or more geographic reference points, for example.”
This news is sure to sound alarm bells for companies like Yelp and Foursquare whose very existence is based around location- based advertising. However, Venturebeat’s Kim-Mai Cutler points out that these companies shouldn’t be too alarmed.
“It’s standard for large companies to file patents on technology they have developed as a defensive practice, rather than as a tool for pressuring other companies to desist or pay license fees.”
When you combine this patent with Google’s recent agreement to acquire mobile ad network Admob, it would appear that this is another area of search that Google could soon have a firm strangle-hold on.