Firefly touts targeting solution

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In a major step forward for personalizing the Web, several measurement and ad management companies have agreed to support a standard way of delivering targeted advertising and information.

Web measurement companies Internet Profiles Corp. and Accrue and ad management companies NetGravity and RealMedia will use intelligent agent software from Firefly Network to deliver personalized advertising and Web traffic reporting solutions.

Participating sites will use Firefly's Passport software to register visitors and build individual profiles based on visitors' activity on a site. Other Passport-enabled sites will be able to recognize users with Passports and offer them customized information and personalized ads.

Yahoo!, Reuters and Ziff-Davis Publishing Co.'s ZD Net have been testing the technology.

"Where I believe 1997 is going to take us is to more highly targeted advertising--getting closer to one-to-one advertising," said John Danner, president of NetGravity.

Marketers and publishers are only now realizing the potential for targeting via the Web. Services like DoubleClick offer targeted ads based on domain name, time of day and browser type, but the Firefly system, which the company has tested on its own music and movies site for several months, can target by personal interests as well.

Firefly users provide basic demographic information, such as age, gender, ZIP code and e-mail address. As they traverse a site, entering different content areas and rating their interests, that information is added to a user profile.

By making the technology available via license to other Web sites, Firefly will enable users to create profiles that carry over from site to site.

Copyright December 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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