WHERE TO FIND IT: AOL.com
CRITIQUE: Starting with a name, anyone with a Net connection can find listed phone numbers and, with some cross-referencing, get the names, addresses and phone numbers of that person's neighbors.
This type of content is intrusive enough. Granted, it's a handy service if you're looking for old friends, but as we were trying to find someone on the AOL.com White Pages, we got served a mildly frightening banner.
Here's how it worked: Let's say you did a White Pages search looking for William Gates in Redmond, Wash. Regardless of your search results, you'd get a banner saying, "Can't find William Gates? Click here for KnowX Public Record Search Results." That kind of direct interactivity will certainly grab some eyeballs.
The banners use Flash and Generator to build and serve the graphics on demand. It's a combination underused in Web ads that provides much of the interactivity marketers have wanted for years.
Any site with customer registration could serve banners tailored to specific interests and with a specific customer's name. It's a great gimmick, and you can't build a more one-to-one relationship with a random customer on the Internet.