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Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Google Advertising: Breach of Privacy?

Posted by @ 9:09 pm

googleprivacy1Google have announced a new form of online advertising with the aim of serving more relevant and useful ads to searchers, but is it a breach of privacy?

This new interest-based advertising will go beyond Google’s current targeted advertising models by tracking your Internet usage habits in order to serve an ad that the search giant hopes is better suited for you. The advantage to advertisers is that it will allow them to reach users based on their specific interests.

The advertising will be available through the AdSense program within the next few months.

Aitan Weinberg, Adsense Product Manager explains more:

Over the next few months we’ll start offering interest-based advertising to a limited number of advertisers as part of a beta, and expand the offering later in 2009. Whether the advertiser’s goal is to drive brand awareness or increase responses to their ads, these capabilities can help expand the success of their campaigns and should increase your earnings as advertiser participation increases.

The issue to arise from this new advertising strategy is privacy and many have been quick to point out their concerns.

Privacy International head Simon Davies told the BBC

Google might well hype their targeting system as a boon to pet owners, but the reality is that the service will track just about everything you do and everything you’re interested in, no matter how personal or sensitive .

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center takes his concerns one step further.

It’s a disaster; it’s about whether the most dominant Internet media firm should be able to exploit its access to Internet user data for advertising purposes. Google long maintained it would not do this type of advertising. Indeed, they claimed they didn’t need to and they went after others who did.

Google have preempted these fears by letting users opt out of the new advertising model and have even designed a browser plug-in that maintains the opt-out choice (just in case you’re a compulsive cookie clearer!). But will these measures be enough? I think this is an issue that is going to raise a lot of debate. Feel free to add your view in our comments section below.

Courtney Mills Courtney is an online marketing and communications specialist at ineedhits - a leading search engine marketing firm with over 16 years experience. Courtney has been living and breathing online marketing for over 5 years. She specializes in web and communication marketing, while providing news and opinion to online marketing communities.

View Courtney Mills's profile

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