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Are Broadband Internet Providers Spying On You?

Have you ever thought about the enormous amount of data your broadband internet provider could collect from you? The sites you visit, your spending habits, even which products seem to catch you eye.

Well, with online advertising’s $45 billion yearly budget going mostly to the likes of Google, your broadband provider is getting tired of being left out of the party. What’s to stop Charter Communications from monitoring all of your web activity, then selling you targeted ads–or at least selling your browsing habits to the highest bidder?

Fortunately, as CNET explains, there are a whole host of laws in place that prevent broadband service providers from doing just that. But, that’s not stopping them from testing the limits of the law.

Banner Advertising Revenue Slows

Online advertising in general is fairing well in a slow economy. However, display advertising revenue, especially for bigger websites, is not doing as well. (Marketing Pilgrim runs display ads – Andy how are they doing – notice any downturn?).

Web sites, newspaper publishers, and news media companies like CBS make money by selling display ads. Remember all the new ad networks that have popped up in the last few years? Publishers are getting less for the ads they run through those networks.

PubMatic’s online pricing index showed that the price for ads purchased through an ad network dropped 23 percent from March to April. It’s worst for the largest sites – the prices for that segment dropped 52 percent. Ad networks are responding by more precise targeting of ads.

Watch and Be Watched: Online Advertisers Plan to Use Behavioral Targeting

By Michelle Greer

The idea of ads somehow understanding our lifestyles and behavioral patterns sounds kind of creepy at first thought. But according to a survey done by SEMPO, many search engine marketers are all about it.

The survey found that 57% of online advertisers polled were willing to spend more on demographic targeting, such as age and gender. Advertisers, on average, would pay 11% more for both behavioral and demographic targeting. While advertiser interest in behavioral targeting is very strong, actual investment is still low, according to the survey respondents.

How does behavioral targeting work? Ads will track past search behavior in order to deliver the most relevant ads possible. Charter Communications, one of the nation’s largest ISPs, has already planned for a pilot program to gather search behavior to share with ad networks. This program is set to be released next month.

Keep Your Eye on the Yahoo, WPP Ad Partnership; Ignore Carl Icahn

Do you know how illusionists make that cute bunny disappear? They distract your eyes with something else, so you don’t notice what’s going on.

Cue Yahoo “Copperfield” with its attempt to make Carl Icahn disappear by distracting you with the good news about a partnership it just formed with mega-ad agency WPP.

In a statement, the companies said that as part of the deal, WPP advertising agencies would, through its 24/7 Real Media arm, develop a proprietary advertising media trading platform that takes advantage of Yahoo’s Right Media exchange.

In addition, WPP will work with Yahoo to create a WPP marketplace giving its ad agencies a new place to spend their client’s ad budgets.

That’s a Lot of Spam!

Sanford Wallace, aka “Spam King,” or “Spamford” – a notorious spam king – is finally paying for all that spam. Wallace is president of Cyber Promotions and now he and his partner have the distinction of getting one of largest anti-spam judgments. The court has ruled that they owe MySpace about $230 million in damages.

U.S. District Judge Audrey B. Collins in Los Angeles ruled in MySpace’s favor Monday. Sanford Wallace and Walter Rines did not show up for the court hearing.

While MySpace may never actually see the money, they hope that it will deter other spammers. Because, obviously you can make a lot of money off spamming and even if you get caught still get to keep the money.

Will Google Image Search Get Display Ads?

Are display ads in the future for Google Image Search SERPs?

Marissa Mayer talked to Bloomberg Radio earlier this week and she didn’t deny the possibility:

We haven’t found a proper way to monetize image search to date. You may see us roll out an ads-image search in the future, but when we do you’ll know that’s because we found a way that ultimately enhances user happiness with the product.

Even more interesting was the information Mayer provided on their previous attempts at monetizing image search:

Google calculated in 2006 that it was giving up as much as $200 million a year by not including text advertisements with its image search results, and that figure has probably increased since, Mayer said. Trials showed that text ads drove people away from conducting image searches, and Google dropped that idea.

Google Adds Features to Custom Search Engines

Google has announced enhanced features for custom search engines: the integration of sitemaps and AdSense for Search.

The new features will improve search results in a Google custom search engine for your site if you utilize sitemaps:

Custom Search is built on top of the Google index. This means that all pages that are available on Google.com are also available to your search engine. We’re now maintaining a CSE-specific index in addition to the Google.com index for enhancing the performance of search on your site. If you submit a Sitemap, it’s likely that we will crawl those pages and include them in the additional index we build.