March 25th, 2009
Your Online Clicks Have Value, for Someone Who Has Something to Sell
By Stephanie Clifford
The New York Times
Imagine that a company set up a mall store where, instead of selling trinkets, it sold information about customer behavior. For a few cents, it could tell a saleswoman at Nordstrom that the person who was about to walk in had already stopped at Steve Madden and was looking for red shoes.
That is the idea behind two new Internet companies, BlueKai and eXelate Media, which run so-called behavioral exchanges. They do not sell products or ad space, but information about Web site visitors.
“People are realizing that it’s the data that drives the value,” said Omar Tawakol, the chief executive of BlueKai.
BlueKai and eXelate work in similar ways. They both track who is interested in what through a cookie, an invisible bit of code on a Web page. When someone does a search, for example, on Kayak.com for first-class flights to Paris in September, that information can be captured by a cookie, and Kayak.com can sell that cookie using eXelate or BlueKai.