Microsoft adds behavioral targeting

Microsoft Corp. has started linking users’ search habits with other personal information as it prepares to show more personalized advertisements.

With the use of small data files known as cookies, Microsoft can link information users provide when they sign up for Hotmail e-mail and other services with data on what they view and search for on various Microsoft sites, such as those for maps, Web journals and finance.

Microsoft uses that information to build a profile for a certain class of users – women over 30 who read financial news, for example – and sell marketers the opportunity to reach that targeted group as they surf Microsoft properties.

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