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Scary Territory.

In the almost two years I’ve been in interactive media planning and buying, I’ve seen advertising networks blossom and grow into a viable complements to almost every online marketing plan. Whether it be with behavioral, demographic, or contextual targeting, networks help build efficient reach across the long tail of the web. Skittish, brand protective marketers have been given assurance that risque content can be easily avoided, including un-patrolled user-generated content.

According to ComScore’s Nov 2007 rankings, Advertising.com just beat out Yahoo! as the largest reaching web property, with 86% online reach. Now that is pretty impressive!

Last week, Clickz reported that some ISPs were starting to cookie behavior across the entire web with the potential to sell segments to advertisers or networks. While advertising networks monitor what is on their network and create targeting channels accordingly, ISPs will be able to look at behavior across the entire web including search. While this is only being tested at this point and claims not to track very personal things like health queries and sex site visits, it still scares me! As we can now reach 86% of the web with one ad network, is it really worth tracking a user’s every move to reach other other 14%?

This functionality may introduce a lot more targetable segments, are we just risking getting too niche with our focus? I’ve spoken out for behavioral targeting in the past, but tracking one’s every move doesn’t seem like it’s worth the risk.

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