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'Power Eye' Gives Users Control Over Targeted Ads

eye under magnifying glassWe've never really felt comfortable with targeted advertising, the technique by which companies use consumers' online behavioral data to better place their ads. But a new service may soon relieve some of our anxieties by giving authority over user data back to whom it should belong: the user.

Developed by Better Advertising, 'Power Eye' is a system that automatically places an icon in the top right corner of targeted ads. When a user scrolls over the icon, Power Eye will reveal all the data that the advertiser used to target the individual consumer, and will give him or her the chance to opt out of future targeted ad campaigns from that particular company. AT&T, American Express and Microsoft are among dozens of companies whose ads will, this week, begin supporting the system.

As Advertising Age reports, Power Eye is just one of several systems vying for the endorsement of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, as well as the official support of ad industry organizations. Unlike others, however, Power Eye doesn't require users to opt out of one targeted campaign each time it appears on a different site. Better Advertising's framework also gives advertisers a better metric with which they can measure the success of their targeted ads. Currently, most companies simply judge their ads by how many clicks they elicit from consumers. Now, obviously, they'll be able to see how many consumers found their ads annoying enough to opt out entirely, too.

Insiders say that Better Advertising currently has the inside track on services competing for industry endorsement, and, if it eventually becomes more pervasive, it could transform an inherently controversial landscape. By giving users more power over their personal data, and by providing significantly more transparency in the advertising market, Power Eye may be able to walk the tightrope between consumer and corporate interests.

Although some companies may bristle at the prospect of having their ad campaigns limited, many admit that a service like Power Eye can only create a healthier marketplace. "If people start to opt out, it makes our targeting less effective and it becomes more challenging to sell to people," says Steve Governale, executive director of digital marketing at AT&T. "But, long-term, transparency can only do us good." [From: AdAge, via: HuffPo]

Tags: ads, advertising, better advertising, BetterAdvertising, business, powereye, privacy, socialnetworking, targeted advertising, targetedadvertising, top, transparency, web