For marketers, targeted ads were
the next logical step in the online advertising space, and this was made clear
by the rapid rise they have seen over the last few years. However, for many
everyday Web users, the idea that advertisers were tracking them based on their
personal information wasn’t quite as popular.
There are a number of issues
inherent in attempting to target display ads to a specific set of customers,
and none is more pertinent than the fact that one simply cannot know how
accurate the information that a user submits actually is, and thus, whether the
ads are actually reaching the desired audience.
Largely because of this, Microsoft
has removed the ability to target ads based on age and gender in adCenter,
which provides the pay-per-click ads seen on the Microsoft Network, most
prominently on the Bing search engine.
According to a company employee in
a Microsoft Advertising Help thread, “Some people add the information
accurately, most don’t and even more don’t add the information at all. So if
you use age and gender, your [sic]
limiting yourself to what information was provided by the searchers when
signing up for Windows Live.”