engine - 11:36 am on Oct 25, 2011 (gmt 0)
Targeting Web Ads Using Credit Card Purchase Data [online.wsj.com]
The two largest credit-card networks, Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc., are pushing into a new business: using what they know about people's credit-card purchases for targeting them with ads online.
Their plans, if implemented, would represent not only a technological feat—tying people's Internet lives with shopping activities—but also an erosion of the idea of anonymity on the Web. It's an effort by the two companies to profit by selling access to the insights they gather about people with every credit-card transaction.
The technology is still evolving. According to ad executives briefed on some of the ideas, a holy grail would be to show, for instance, a weight-loss ad to a person who just swiped their card at a fast-food chain—then track whether that person bought the advertised products. Currently, Web ads generally are based on a person's online behavior but not information tied to his or her identity or activities in the brick-and-mortar world.