New Internet ad technique can warn of emergencies

May 28, 2009

Location, Location, Location.

The World Wide Web has never had it, because there was no ordinary way for advertisers to know where someone was sitting as they surfed. That has made it impossible for the local hardware store to advertise to its neighborhood, or for national advertisers to target their ads geographically. It has also meant that cities did not have the means to warn residents surfing the web of a broken water main, an approaching storm, a forest fire, or a flash flood.  That may be about to change.

Feeva, a Silicon Valley start-up, has invented a way for advertisers to pay for “geo-demographic” placement. In effect, that means advertisers can choose their own zip or postal code — just as they do for mailers.

“What you get in your mail is all based on zip code,” said Miten Sampat, Feeva’s chief architect. “Zip code defines your income level, whether you have kids, how urban your environment is. But you can’t do this on the web, because geography is tough to guess.”

Feeva is teaming up with with Internet service providers — such as phone and cable companies– to detect the zip code of any computer surfing the web. Others who have tried to pinpoint computers, such as Phorm, have stumbled over privacy issues and Feeva is determined not to make the same mistakes.

“It’s not about what you are doing. We track no activity. It’s about what type of consumer you are,” Sampat said.  “All we do is say ‘This user is making a request for a web site. We know his or her demography with a high level of accuracy.'” The demographic information is sent nearly instantly to companies that place ads on web sites, and they can serve appropriate ads — or government notices.

That means that as three people in different zip codes surf any site — such as Yahoo, the New York Times, Google, or the one you are on now  — they will see different ads, based on their location. A surfer in a heavily student zip code might see an ad for cheap student travel, or for work as a tutor. A surfer living in a zip code with many young parents and homeowners might go to the same site and see ads for mortgages, or a local toy store. A person in a prosperous zip code with an older population surfing the same site might see ads for ocean cruises.

In an emergency, cities or other governments will be able to send warnings to their on-line residents.  As soon as someone refreshes their browser on a site that accepts advertising the warning will pop up.

“Our data informs advertisers about where they should focus their efforts,” said Nitin Shaw, chief executive of Feeva. “They get a better return on their investment, better efficiency.”  Shaw says web sites will be able to charge more for ads, at the same time that advertisers will get a far better deal because their ads are more likely to hit home. Feeva will get a small slice of the advertising revenue, as will the Internet service provider.

Shah expects the service to go live in 2010. For now, his company is still negotiating contracts with the many different kind of comanies, from Internet providers to ad servers.


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Great, another invasive technology being hurried in under the guise of being helpful…to the government no less. Goodbye America, Hello North Korea.

Posted by Jonathan | Report as abusive

IT IS STILL TRACKING PERSONAL DATA!When a zip code or other personally indentifiable data is “INSERTED” into the data flow for other “third parties” to ready a collation of data will allow frequently visited Websites or other agencies to identify & profile “individuals”GO AWAY FEEVA!!!

Posted by Jonah | Report as abusive

No thanks!We don’t want to be profiled, categorised, zip coded and processed. We just want Internet access without any snooping!!!

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

Just to add to my previous statement we already have Emergency Systems aka LOCAL RADIO, TELEVISION & even FLOOD ALERT SIRENS where necessary, we don’t need tracking just to deliver more Advertisements.That is what Feeva are about Advertising!!

Posted by Jonah | Report as abusive

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Feeva/Cisco also have a massive legal problem!This system “modifies” data “between” end points on a point to point communications system.The so called “innocuous tag” leads to other data being manipulated by third parties, either wanted or unwanted by a particular individual; this is unacceptable on any RELIABLE communications system.What FEEVA & others are trying to do is turn a “UNICAST” one to one communication channel, which often relies on confidentiality into a “BROADCAST” system WHICH IS USELESS FOR RELIABLE PERSONAL/BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS!

Posted by Jonah | Report as abusive

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Posted by Readings – May 29, 2009 | Sustainable Online Media | Report as abusive

Reverse natural selection!Smart people run ad blockers and so will die in the fire/plague/flood/earthquake. Dumb people and bloggers, who don’t run ad blockers, will see the alerts and escape. Or maybe their computers are so slow because of all those ads that they won’t see the alerts in time….

Posted by Ian Kemmish | Report as abusive

as soon as their adserver online, I’ll be happy to block them on my Squid server :)

Posted by dmitri | Report as abusive

Hey Feeva, Phorm, Nebuad, Front Porch et al why not try using a different Port/Socket or protocol so that anyone, Users or Websites, can properly Opt-in to such Services?!Port 80 is supposed to be for point to point (unicast) communications, without any “man in the middle” apparatus designed to alter/add to the communications.The direct result of interposing such systems compromises communications with respect to, both Personal & Business Confidentiality!

Posted by J D | Report as abusive

Business is never so healthy as when, like a chicken, it must do a certain amount of scratching around for what it gets.-Henry FordBig Brother is watching.

Posted by AllTheQuotes | Report as abusive

Not nice to Big Brother are you?I’ve got a “Big Brother”, but when he looks when he shouldn’t do; he gets more than a flea in his ear!

Posted by Joe Bloggs | Report as abusive

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Hey Google you say you’re not Phorm… But are you connected to Feeva………!*!  /internet/0,39044908,39256912-2,00.htm

Posted by J D | Report as abusive

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