Profiling, Internet Law And Behavioral Advertising

Any time we do something on the web we leave tracks. Yes, tracks that someone else will use, especially for business aims.

For years we’ve all been involved in the big topic of “P-R-I-V-A-C-Y”… is there any kind of privacy on the web? The quantity of information that we leave on the web is absolutely huge. Information on the social media, especially on FB, are vastly used to produce advertising in coherence with what we like, what we do and what we’re interested in.

If we analyze all possible corporations which are interested in studying our behavior, we find that they’re so many and we are actually those who make a huge business in online advertising possible. Clicking on a banner is essential to online advertising, and it’s one of the basic processes of this huge business.

Welcome to the world of the so-called “Behavioral Advertising”. Behavioral Advertising is in fact a form of online advertising that involves the delivery of personalized ads on the specific needs of the person sitting in front of a pc or laptop. The banners that you see right now on a certain site may not be the same that other people surfing the net and in particular visiting your same webpage are seeing.

According to eMarketer, we’re talking about a business which is worth about 10 billions euros. Acxiom, Case Breakers, Exact Data ConsumerBase, CrimCheck.com, PeopleSearchNow.com are just some of the corporations which have the aim to follow consumers on the web. These companies have special agreements with publishing sites, shopping sites and others, through which they’re able to follow the user throughout his/her journey on the Internet and to shape, thanks to  particularly advanced analytical algorithms, the socio-demographic profile of a single consumer.

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These companies have the ability to find out what you do in your free time, where you go on vacation, how many children you have, where you live and much more. This is the same kind of analysis which has been carried out by big supermarket chains through loyalty cards – in exchange for discounts we let the supermarket chain collect our data.

The value of all that information depends on how specific it is: from a few euro cents for a generic profile of the browser, to several tens of dollars for very well-defined consumer preferences.

Although behavioral advertising seems extremely invasive, in almost all cases we authorized companies to follow us on the web. We do it any time we access an online service, and we often accept, without reading them, contractual conditions.

In information scienceprofiling refers to the process of construction and application of profiles generated by computerized data analysis. The companies I have mentioned before are using everyday our data, which are aggregated in databases. When these data are used to identify people, they can be called “profiles”.

Profiles can be classified according to the kind of subject they refer to – when a profile is constructed eith the data of a single person, this is called individual profiling. This particular kind of profiling is used to discover the particular characteristics of a certain individual, to enable unique identification. At the same time we can talk about “group profiling” which is aimed at segmenting users into groups of individuals who share the same behaviors.

Behavioral Targeting comprises a range of techniques and technologies used by online websites publishers and advertisers aimed at increasing the effectiveness of advertising in general. Behavioral Targeting uses information collected from an individual’s web-browsing behavior (for example, pages and websites the individual usually visits).

The cardinal rule for any business is to “know the customer”. In e-commerce that happens also thanks to Online Profiling.

Online Profiling is also a critical element for evaluating the effectiveness of your site.

Profiling is the soul of e-commerce… what is your opinion about Profiling?

Let me know in private or share your opinion on the social media with me and other users!

FL

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