The Economist on Behavioral Targeting at Your ISP’s

Watching while you surf (pdf)

IS IT a worrying invasion of privacy for web surfers, or a lucrative new business model for online advertising? A new “behavioural” approach to targeting internet advertisements, being pioneered by companies such as Phorm, NebuAd and FrontPorch, is said to be both of these things. The idea is that special software, installed in the networks of internet-service providers ISPs, intercepts webpage requests generated by their subscribers as they roam the net. The pages in question are delivered in the usual way, but are also scanned for particular keywords in order to build up a profile of each subscriber’s interests. These profiles can then be used to target advertisements more accurately.

The LATimes notes that Groups appeal to Congress on ISP snooping (pdf)

Variable Pricing == DRM-Free?

Labels eye variable pricing for digital sales (pdf)

Arguably the No. 1 item on record labels to-do list for the year is, “Establish variable pricing for digital downloads.”

As luck would have it, the No. 1 item on the to-do list of digital music services not named iTunes is converting their library to digital rights management-free sales. So it comes as no surprise that the labels have made an openness to variable pricing a prerequisite of any DRM-free licensing negotiations.

That digital music sales are not yet compensating for falling CD revenue is no secret. Whether experimenting with the price of digital music will make any difference remains to be seen.