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The Wall Street Journal website — paywalled from the very beginning — turns 20 years old today
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March 11, 2009, 5:24 a.m.

Google: “What ads do you want?”

Google has long understood and built a business around the notion that, when someone says, “I hate advertising,” what he really means is “I hate advertising that’s absolutely irrelevant to me or that is a visual assault.” Thus, AdSense, which revolutionized online advertising by attempting to gauge what online users were interested in through the pages they visited or the things they searched for.

Today, Google takes it a big step further by asking: “No, really, what is it that you’d like to see?”

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That’s Google’s new Ads Preferences Manager, which allows you to tell it exactly which category of ads you’d like to see as you browse the web. To repeat: You tell them what you want to see.

It remains to be seen how well this will work, but clearly Google is proceeding from a point of view that would serve the news industry well as we look to find better ways to monetize our sizable and diverse audience.

By making ads more relevant, and improving the connection between advertisers and our users, we can create more value for everyone. Users get more useful ads, and these more relevant ads generate higher returns for advertisers and publishers. Advertising is the lifeblood of the digital economy: it helps support the content and services we all enjoy for free online today, including much of our news, search, email, video and social networks.

POSTED     March 11, 2009, 5:24 a.m.
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