The Wall Street Journal Online, the New York-based financial news site, launched a new advertising system this week that responds to reader activity.

The 'Interest-Based-Targeting' system, designed by e-business specialists Revenue Science, builds user profiles by recording the subject of the news they read. Visitors are then categorised under key advertising areas - business and personal technology, health and leisure, travel, automotive and investments - so that appropriate adverts can be pitched to them.

The system would identify a reader's interest in technology, for example, after they had visited the technology section more than five times in one week. Targeted adverts will then be shown to users not just within the technology section, but wherever they visit within the site.

Todd Larsen, president of Consumer Electronic Publishing for Dow Jones which publishes WSJ Online, told dotJournalism that this form of advertising holds great promise for web publishers in an increasingly healthy marketplace.

"This is one of the big promises for online advertising because it is so efficient and targeted," he said.

"I believe we’re the first site of this type to use interest-based-targeting, and we feel it provides the best possible value for our customer base - which in this case is our advertisers.

"The real power of these ads is to put the right message in front of the right reader."

This form of 'intelligent advertising' builds on existing technology that analyses visitor information to build demographic and contextual profiles of users.

The service will be active on all the WSJ sites including the Health Edition and Media & Marketing Online.


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