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MySpace Treads Carefully With "HyperTargeting" 68

Posted by kdawson
from the opt-out-in-whatever dept.
Ian Lamont writes "MySpace is preparing to boost its advertising systems, by launching a targeted ad platform called HyperTargeting and creating a Web-based system that lets vendors purchase ads without dealing with human sales teams. HyperTargeting will 'look at a person's interests listed on their public profile and then classify the user into particular interest-specific categories.' MySpace claims that early tests resulted in a 300 percent increase in the number of ad click-throughs. The company apparently learned a lot from Facebook's earlier experiences with Beacon — MySpace members will be able to opt out of HyperTargeting, according to the company."
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MySpace Treads Carefully With "HyperTargeting"

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  • by solweil (1168955) <humungus.ayatoll ...> on Wednesday April 30, 2008 @12:52AM (#23248472)
    It sounds like they haven't learned from Facebook. I thought the whole problem is that Facebook had an opt-out rather than opt-in system. This supposed improvement is also an opt-out system.
    • by EllynGeek (824747)
      Exactly. A person could spend a lifetime opting-out of every damned thing shoved in our faces.
      • by Henneshoe (987210)
        I don't get this argument. It is not like Myspace or any other service your are griping about is some government program that you are entitled to. They are a business trying to make money. Increasing the relevance of their ads helps increase their revenue. Technologies such as ad-blockers are becoming main-stream and will tend to decrease their revenue. Measures like targeted marketing may be needed to maintain their current profitability. IMHO, you are lucky these services give you an option to opt-o
    • by anexkahn (935249)
      I don't see how it is a problem for marketers to review information you have posted on your public profile in order to better target ads. What's the difference between this and the ads Google uses? They too are ads targeted based on page content. But, it sounds like this simply does a better job of mining information from the page since MySpace would have a better understanding of the context of the information they are looking at.
    • The biggest problem with Facebook Beacon isn't the opt-out (though that is indeed a problem). The problems with it are:

      1. It broadcasts users' purchases to Facebook, which then broadcasts them to other users.

      2. Facebook gets paid to coopt their users' identities to promote their commercial partners' products. This is really the nastiest one, if you ask me.

      3. According to the lawsuit recently filed against Blockbuster and Facebook [], it continues to unlawfully share information about users who have opted

    • I was under the impression that facebook ALREADY DOES THIS. If you go on and ask to submit a poll or ad, you can select which demographics you want and put in interets/music/activities. I've been targetted by ads for concerts by a few bands. This is nothing like beacon, which supplied information to facebook about outside activities.
  • If done properly, this really isn't a bad thing for users. It only uses information put on your public profile. You really shouldn't have anything incriminating or overly personal on there anyway. I mean, if you're willing to share it with strangers (I assume that's what "public" means), why would it be a problem for an ad company to see it? That's not to say that there aren't nefarious uses to which this kind of thing could be put. But just from what I read in the article, there doesn't seem to be too mu
    • by Nullav (1053766)
      But think about the poor sap with 'penis/breast enlargement' and 'horse porn' in his profile. It'll be just like the rest of the Internet. That's just not something you wish on someone.
  • by r2q2 (50527)
    On one hand you face an improvement for the buyers and sellers for ads. On the other hand you have privacy concerns. Opt-in systems work better in theory but then why would people want more ads in the first place? Given the valuation of social networking I wonder how do people think about turning that into greenbacks?
    • by QuantumG (50515) *
      They wouldn't opt-in for more ads, they'd opt-in for ads that are more relevant.

      • by Omestes (471991)
        Sure people would opt-in for ads. Tie it to some silly service, that you only get if you get the ads, call it "MySpace PRO!!!1one!" or some such. The user would get "exclusive" profile "bling", and receive ads for fre3 v1agra.

        Hell, its MySpace, you could make selling their identity to Nigerians opt-in for something silly and superfluous, and a significant portion of users would. I don't think the typical MySpace user is know for their forethought and impulse control.
  • Yeah, yeah. And you can retire from the mafia, too.
  • So... does this mean the wanna be gangsters will now have an add for a Glock on their page? That would be terribly efficient marketing...
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday April 30, 2008 @01:28AM (#23248668) Homepage

    Myspace has very low ad rates for contextual ads, and very low quality advertisers. The typical Google AdSense ad is something like "Free MySpace Backgrounds, Profile Layouts, Smileys all in one place. Download them all for Free!"

    Their banner ads tend to be from major consumer brands, and are probably more valuable than the contextual ads.

    Increased click-through rate is not necessarily a win. Remember, there's that 10-15% of Internet users who produce 50% of the click-throughs, but don't buy much. (That's probably Myspace's demographic.) The advertiser problem today is to make those users go away, instead of paying Google money for their clicks.

    As the metrics get better, it's becoming clearer that what's good for the advertiser is quite different from what's good for the online ad delivery service. The advertiser wants a sale; the ad service wants a click. This is starting to be a problem for Google as advertisers realize that the "Google content network" often has negative value and opt out.

    • by shird (566377)
      A premium adsense customer like myspace would be able to pick their ads from Google - they would not be truly contextual. Plus advertisers would be able to target Myspace specifically. The sad fact is these are the ads that would be making the best money on myspace, as they are the most deceptive to users and therefore generate the most clicks.
    • My Myspace profile has nothing about me! even the name is not mine ... the only thing people could work out from it is my taste in music

      I don't use it for "social networking" I use it to find new bands ... unless the adverts are for music I might like they will be ignored....

    • by rtb61 (674572)
      Hyper-targeting, targeting the most naive and gullible ie. children. Make no mistake, when it comes to something like myspace, basically a peer pressure marketing forum, they are targeting those who lack the experience and maturity to deal with saturation advertising.

      As for hyper-targetting, that is of course just a PR=B$ marketing term to camouflage reality and draw in the sellers.

  • by firefly4f4 (1233902) on Wednesday April 30, 2008 @01:32AM (#23248690)
    Web pages have ads? That's news to me.
    • I'd really like an ad extension that would let me say "on this site, go ahead and display all the ads. But if you see those same ads being served on another site, don't allow them"

      I use NoScript and while you can "Allow", you can't "allow" all the other domains that serve ads to Slashdot. I wish they would make one like this so that I can "support" my favorite websites by showing the ads on my favorite websites (but not all of them), which I can then occasionally click out of interest and/or go
    • i've used ABP to convert many to using firefox, firefox wouldn't be the same without it. currently working on getting the company i work for to use it on all boxes, under "saving bandwidth"
      • I have converted my company... It's a pain though... I wish I could figure out how to make an installer with it pre-installed for all users
  • I just deleted my account with NewsCorp. The new adverts and _new_ cutties from match dot com make it hard to concentrate when your drunk and want to email that friend you keep in contact with using Myspace. Not even worth the variety of music anymore! IRC and Forums is what I focus on.
  • by wdavies (163941) on Wednesday April 30, 2008 @02:00AM (#23248798) Homepage
    Its just an extension of demographic advertising, augmented with data-mining of more content based information (such as what bands you say you like).

    Yahoo does the same sort of thing, and so would Google if they had more of a portal (and pretty sure they will build user models from your searches eventually - what do you think Google Toolbar's motivation is). Yahoo's is more subtle (and more insidious even) as they are tracking your page views on the Yahoo site, and building a model of you in terms of things like finance, football, blah.

    MySpace's targeting is based on what YOU EXPLICITLY SAY about yourself in public. For sure, if you're profile is completely private, then perhaps they shouldn't mine your data for targeting, but frankly, its really hardly an invasion of privacy (unlike sharing your video rental/purchases would be cf Facebook). It will probably take into account groups and bands you link to.

    It should result in better ads for users (assuming you are willing to assume ads for free hosting is a reasonable trade off).

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by pandrijeczko (588093)
      Its just an extension of demographic advertising, augmented with data-mining of more content based information (such as what bands you say you like).

      I'm into "Uriah Heep" & "Blodwyn Pig" so please - hit me with those adverts targetted for middle-aged hippie rockers. I could do with a new kaftan.

    • I have seen targeted ads - Unfortunately I am not a demographic, I am a person, so the majority do not apply to me ...

      I would prefer no ads, If I have to have them then I would prefer ads the do not apply to me so I can ignore them, if they appear to apply to me then they look tempting (but turn out to be useless 99.9% of the time so annoy me even more!)

      • by wdavies (163941)
        I actually find stupidly /non targeted ads as dumb and annoying. Frankly if I was an advertiser, I would wish that Yahoo would not subject me to a barrage of and Netflix ads, especially given that (a) I state in my profile I'm married and (b) I have my Netflix Queue in page.

        I understand your reasoning, but to be honest, advertisers end up having to put out MORE ads in order to get their message across. Would you rather 1 targeted per 10 pages, or 1 random ad per page?

        Not saying it wil
  • Those are going to be some great ads, I bet.

    "Razor blades and black hair dye, half-off!"
  • It'd be great if myspace could use the same technology to help their *users* find people with similar interests, instead you have to wade through a sea of groups, forums, and crappy search results. lol. I guess advertisers come first, it's a business afterall.

    On another note, damn I hate context ads. Everywhere I go Google serves up "meet hot local shemales" ads, because I happen to be transgender and that's probably the most profitable keyword on my profile.... everywhere, the same damn ad. It's like Googl
  • FB already allows one to target by profile items or keywords.. It does not do any form of "hyper" "meta" clustering.. but its provides pretty good targeting based on location and age.. which itself is very powerful.
  • No, really. I don't even remember when I did it last.
  • Well I guess it's time to throw in some fake bullshit data lol. Who knew I was interested in knitting, wooden clog dancing, and teraforming moons. Well the ad people know now lol.
  • by Nerdposeur (910128) on Wednesday April 30, 2008 @08:54AM (#23249254) Journal

    I haven't used MySpace in a long time, but when I did, I was annoyed at how UN-targeted their ads were. I had listed lots of Christian music and writers in my profile, but was always getting skanky ads that bordered on obscene. Adblock didn't stop all of them.

    At the time, I emailed them to say that they were wasting an opportunity and hacking off their users by ignoring the very profile information they had collected when it came to displaying ads.

    I don't think privacy is as big a deal here as in say, Google searches. After all, you've already knowingly posted your profile information; what's the harm in them using it to give you ads you won't hate (as much)?

  • Aye, then we'll monetize ya. Savvy?
  • by Ozric (30691)
    I would like to target my ads to the OPT OUT market please.

    thank you
  • Why is it that people who upload reams of photos to social networks and gigs of videos to public video sites expect that it should all be for free and get all bent out of shape when the owners of the site sell advertising geared specifically for the people who use the site? Why is it they start yelling about privacy and security after just telling half the world all their personal details and displaying all of their embarassing moments on video? People don't create websites to lose money. Every cool idea fo
  • Ads for HP Lovecraft-related stuff: check, I have references to HPL on my profile. Ads for heavy metal stuff: check, tons of metal stuff. Ads for "computery" stuff: check, I have references to computer-nerd stuff on my profile. Ads for meeting fellow gays: WTF? Nothing on my profile about being a drama nerd, or wearing womens' clothing, or pressing wild flowers. Is it because I'm a fan of Rob Halford? Is it because I don't ever become friends with any of the hot webcam babes?
  • I left MySpace after just a month using it. It sucked, period. I can guarantee that since MySpace ALWAYS leaves the door WIDE OPEN for auto register programs and spammers, all a company distributing malware or pr0n with malware in it have to do is automatically generate new accounts for this service. A computer would never pick that up, especially a computer run by the people with the WORST SECURITY EVER!

I tell them to turn to the study of mathematics, for it is only there that they might escape the lusts of the flesh. -- Thomas Mann, "The Magic Mountain"