My TACODA Data Tag

In my blog post yesterday about 27,000 readers, I said:

I am now tracking my audience and looking at their behaviors on my blog
and elsewhere on the web.  It’s fascinating data and I will share it
with all of you as soon as I figure out what it means myself.

Peter Caputa commented:

Is Tacoda using that data to better target ads based on your visitor’s behavior? You may want to share that with your visitors.

And my Uncle Tom sent me a private email (that is now going public because the question is so on point) saying:

in your blog today, you state :

i am now tracking my audience and…..

what does that mean exactly? you track me after i leave your blog?

In this post, I intend to address Peter’s question, Tom’s question, and explain why I am doing this.

First, TACODA is an advertising network which means they sell advertising to marketers who wish to reach beyond a single web site.  They do this by aggregating many web sites into a network and selling the network instead of the web site.  This model has been around as long as the Internet has been around.

But TACODA is something more, its a behavioral advertising network which means that the publishers who join the network cooperate with each other in sharing behavioral information about their audience so that readers can see more relevant advertisements. It allows marketers to advertise to people instead of pages.

An example I like to use is the following.  A reader goes to Technorati to look at blog posts on new cell phones.  Technorati runs a TACODA "data tag" and marks that reader (anonymously) as a person interested in personal electronics and cell phones.

That person goes to CBS Sportsline to read some sports news and TACODA serves them an ad for a cool new Nokia phone.  That reader otherwise would have gotten some untargeted useless ad that they don’t care about.  Now they get highly relevant advertising that they may very well care about.

So that’s what TACODA does. Now on to Peter and Tom’s questions.

Peter’s Question: Yes, TACODA is using the data I capture on my audience to target advertising to all of you when you are on other websites. Hopefully that means you will get advertising that you will find to be more interesting and more relevant to your interests. Also, eventually I will make money for contributing this data to TACODA.  Like Google Adsense, I will contribute all of this money to charity.

Tom’s Question: I am not tracking my audience after you all leave my blog.  I am tracking my audience when you are on my blog and contributing that data to TACODA.  Thousands of other publishers are doing the same thing.  They are all running a TACODA "data tag" on their web pages and reporting anonymous behaviors to TACODA who aggregates them into a behavioral database.  These behaviors are all tracked against a cookie but no personally identifiable information (PII) is ever collected in the TACODA database.  So they may know that your computer has been to Technorati, but they don’t know who you are, where you live, your phone number etc.  And this data is not shared with anyone.  It stays in the TACODA database, private and secure.  Here is TACODA’s privacy policy for those who want to read it.

So why am I doing this?  First and foremost because I am interested in learning more about my audience.  I want to know how many of them there are (27,000 in the month of November).  I want to know what else they are interested in other than my blog.  And I may want to serve ads to them that are more relevant in the future and TACODA gives me the ability to do that.  And finally, I am an investor in TACODA and I like to understand our companies’ products and services as deeply as possible and there is no better way than to become a supplier and a customer.

Here are some stats on what my readers are interested in when they are not on my blog.  I get much more detail than this, but I wanted to put something up here that would be easy to digest (click on the image to see it in a size that you can actually read).


Advertisers get similar stats when their ads run on the TACODA network. The reports tell them exactly what kind of audience saw their ad campaign.

Finally, what if you want to "opt out" of the TACODA ad network and only see ads that are irrelevant to you?  First, you can delete your cookies on a regular basis. Many people do this.  I don’t recommend it, but some do.  The better approach is to opt out of the TACODA network.  You can opt out of TACODA and several other targeted ad networks here.

So that is why there is a TACODA data tag on my blog.  If you are interested in putting a TACODA data tag on your website or blog or contributing inventory to the TACODA network (currently you need to have an ad server to do that), send me an email and I’ll forward it on to TACODA.

#VC & Technology