Behavioral targeting for advertising purposes is the subject of an ongoing debate.  On one side are the businesses who use behavioral targeting of consumers’ online activities to serve more ads that are more likely to appeal to specific audiences.  On the other side are consumers who view the tracking of their online activities as an invasion of their privacy.  Interestingly, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is looking into creating a do-not-track list registery similar to the do-not-call list registry that telemarketers must abide by.  In the meantime, the debate continues.

However, there is another party in this debate — online publishers.  They have a stake in this battle, too, and research from a DM2PRO and AudienceScience survey conducted in May 2010 reveals just how much behavioral targeting benefits online publishers.  Take a look at the benefits of offering audience targeting according to the publishers who responded to the survey (from eMarketer):

The data from this study tells us that publishers benefit from behavioral targeting because they can sell more ad space and sell it for higher rates, help their clients make more money, and prove that they’re helping clients make more money because they can offer better metrics.  Based on those survey results, online publishers would certainly be on the business side of the behavioral targeting debate.  In fact, 72% of the respondents to this survey reported that they already offer their clients some form of audience targeting aside from more traditional contextual targeting.

What do you think of this debate?  From a publisher standpoint?  From a consumer standpoint?  Leave a comment and tell us what you think.