AOL taps offline databases in ad targeting quest

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While providing unprecedented targeting opportunities with its new demographic ad server, America Online is coming under fire from privacy advocates.

The new service allows marketers to precisely target ads by matching users' personal information with data from offline direct marketing companies, such as Polk Co. and MetroMail Corp. This process can reveal more than 200 variables about an individual, which can be layered to paint rich consumer portraits.

For more on this story, see INTERACTIVE.

Copyright October 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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