Yahoo! released a beta version of a tool today (Ad Interest Manager) which enables consumers to see a summary of their online activity (interest areas) and make choices about their exposure to interest-based (read behavioral) advertising served from the Yahoo! Ad Network.
In addition to Ad Interest Manager showing users both Yahoo!'s educated guesses about their interests and a summary of those observations, the tool also provides a list of interest categories that Yahoo! has placed a user into and lets people turn those categories off (or opt out of interest-based ads entirely).
“Ads tailored to users’ interests make online experiences more compelling and user-focused, and the new tool Yahoo! is launching today will provide transparency into how Yahoo!’s interest-based advertising works,” said Yahoo! Vice President of Policy and Head of Privacy, Anne Toth.
Ad Interest Manager will clearly have an effect on display advertisers as well - the effect (good or bad) however is yet unknown. I would expect that through better targeting though, both groups will benefit from the offering.
“Yahoo! has long provided its users with products and services for free, thanks to a business model based almost entirely on advertising, and we’ve found that consumers are more likely to click on advertising that speaks directly to them and their interests,” said Yahoo! Vice President and General Manager of Display Advertising, David Zinman. “With the introduction of Ad Interest Manager, users can not only get a better understanding of how the process works, but they can also communicate better with Yahoo! and our advertisers about what most interests them.”