An ad of one's own

An old maxim of marketing is that companies know half their advertising budget is wasted, they just don’t know which half. They traditionally tried to hit their target market by selling ads in context, next to the sort of content they assumed their customers would be consuming. The web now makes it possible for advertisers to micro-target their audience through something called ad exchanges. In the time between clicking a website and waiting for it to load, an algorithm is deciding what you are worth. If you’re valuable to a company — based on your location, your web-browsing history, or other data stored in your IP address — their ad will appear on your page in a real-time bid-off against other companies that takes all of 200 milliseconds. Continue reading...