September 29, 2013

Segmented Advertising on Comcast

I was looking at my Comcast account and noticed an option to "Manage Segmented Advertising".   Curious about what that meant I clicked on it and was given a pop up option to opt-in or opt-out to the service.

They describe the service at this link.   It says this :

Comcast is introducing new advertising capabilities, called Segmented Advertising, for its Television services.
Segmented Advertising groups together households with similar characteristics. It delivers ads that may be of most interest to each group of households, rather than delivering the same ads to everyone. Segmented Advertising does not change the number of ads anyone sees. It simply increases the likelihood you will see ads about products and services that are more relevant to you.
Segmented Advertising uses readily available third party demographic and interest data that is routinely used for direct mail purposes, for instance, to create an anonymous group or “segment” of households. For example, car dealers want their ads featuring larger cars to reach households that are likely to include families. With an advertiser’s guidance about what kind of audience group it thinks will be most interested in a particular advertisement, Comcast is able to deliver ads to the groups that are most likely to be interested in the advertiser’s product.
When your household is included in an advertising group, your name or other identifying information is never given to an advertiser. The exception is if you specifically request that your name and contact information be shared (for example, because you want to receive more information from the advertiser).


Seems like an interesting idea.    I am not opposed to seeing ads about stuff that I am actually interested in buying.   Honestly I like watching the ads for movies a lot of time so I can see what new movies are coming out.   I have a DVR though so I generally skip ads as much as possible and its not like I enjoy wasting time watching ads.   But once in a while we do watch shows on demand and sometimes the networks won't allow you to skip forward so they can force you to watch ads.   I'd prefer to watch an ad targeted at our household rather than ads that aren't relevant.

They say its anonymous so I'm not worried about privacy.  I've seen this in action on the web quite a bit already, as you get ads targeted at you based on your recent browsing history.   If I go look at Toyota cars then all the sudden I'm getting a bunch of ads on various sites for Toyota cars.   (not sure that Toyota does that, just an example).   But it still feels a little bit "creepy" as if someones looking over your shoulder or stalking you.  

What do you think?   Would you opt-out of this?

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