Focus on Technology

Have you noticed that ads on Web sites seem to reflect your interests? Do you ever wonder if someone is watching your Internet behavior? Well, someone (that is, a computer) probably is watching and tracking you. Marketers use such tracking information to send targeted ads to consumers —it's called behavioral targeting. You've no doubt heard of "cookies," the files deposited on your computer when you visit a Web site. If you've ever given personally identifying information at a site, it remembers you when you return—it's all stored in the cookie file. But even if you don't give personally identifying information on a Web site, Internet protocol addresses (IP addresses) can be tracked to follow where you go and where you've been on the Internet. This tracking lets marketers tailor Web pages, information, offers, and prices to individuals based on their behavioral characteristics. Behavioral targeting is coveted because it allows marketers to implement micromarketing strategies.

1. TACODA is a behavioral targeting ad network. Visit www. tacoda.com to learn more about this company. Explore this Web site to learn how it lets marketers send Internet ads to targeted consumers. Then, write a brief report explaining behavioral targeting and how marketers are using it.

2. Many individuals are concerned that Internet behavioral tracking violates their privacy. Most Web sites have access to users' IP addresses. Are IP addresses alone "user identifiable" information? Learn more about this issue and write a brief report about it.

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