Targeted Marketing - Essay Example

This paper was prepared for Introduction to Information Technology taught by Michael Cackler. Targeted Marketing They’re watching you! They know where you’ve been! Your Information Is being collected by the many websites that you evils. But who are they and what kind of Information are they collecting? How are they collecting your personal data? Is It dangerous? These are Just some of the questions being asked by Internet consumers today concerned about their privacy.

How do companies use cookies to monitor our Individual preferences and what are the ethical Implications of targeted marketing? Each time you browse the internet you leave a bit of information about yourself. You may be wondering how this happens. It’s all about the cookies. Cookies are small files that a website saves to your computer. These cookies store information about which sites you visited, what you searched for and any of your clicks on “likes” or “follows” that you choose.

These files may be first-party cookies, which are placed by he website that you visited to customize your browsing experience, such as when you are shopping on the internet; or third-party cookies, which usually come from advertising agencies (Pegboard, 2006). First-party cookies are usually benign and provide the internet user with the convenience of remembering your login information for sites that you frequent. Third-party cookies, also known as “tracking cookies”, are placed by someone other than the actual website that you visited.

These cookies are usually placed by advertising companies which may share your information with other marketers. Third-party cookies are used to tailor ads that may interest you based on your browsing history (Cookies: Leaving a Trail on the Web, 2011). Since these ads are based on your internet browsing history, they tend to promote products that you are more likely to be interested in. There are those that feel this is actually beneficial and gives the consumer an advantage by providing them with ads that are more relevant to their Interests; however, the majority of people are uncomfortable with the Idea of targeted marketing (M, 2008).

There are also ethical concerns regarding the appropriateness of targeting certain groups Identified as especially vulnerable, such as specific ethnic groups, the elderly or children (Stephenson, 2008), as well as products considered to be harmful. Should those sugary sweet cereal ads be directed at children who really don’t have the ability to make appropriate choices? What about the ads for a particular type of cigarette or liquor directed to a specific ethnic group (Smith & Cooper-Martin, 1997)?