Smart ads (ads that target consumers interest), although not fully optimized in application, can have huge results for marketers and consumers. Marketers like HP, using smart ads on Yahoo's Smart platform, saw a 20 times higher than typical ROI during one campaign during 2009. Others have tried using smart ads, but had less than desirable results.
Smart ads are still developing and receiving their education on how and when to be used. Behavior is being modeled wherever consumers operate with the aid of technology. This could range from a network, website, or personal device. Information has always been collected, but technology is empowering information to not only be collected, but interpreted in real time. Opting out may mean your information will not be stored, but it does not necessary mean that the information will not be used to understand who you are.
An example of this is when Google teamed up with Compete to enable ads to target consumers based on the FIC score. Google used 2 million web users [that permitted tracking] to provide credit scores when signing up for new credit cards. Google then analyzed their click streams and built profiles for those individuals. Google then knew if you visit a certain site or have a similar click stream, you probably fall within a credit score. Thus, it brings up the question, should you be worried about being tracked, or allowing your neighbor to be tracked?
Numerous consumer advocacy groups are taking notice of this under the radar "smart" marketing. Center for Digital Democracy and U.S. Public Interest Research Group both were so alarmed by these advancements, that they petitioned the FTC to launch investigations into the privacy of marketing practices targeted at mobile phone users. The reason the issue is so sensitive is that once the information is out there and being used, there is no taking it back.
Of course, smart ads are ultimately to better the consumers life. It can help recommend products that would be preferred by consumers, it can serve interesting media and avoid displaying denture ads to 20 year olds, and it can present customized information in a world that is becoming ever more customized seeking!