Many consumers have reservations about online behavioral targeting. By tracking users' online activities, advertisers are able to understand consumers quite well. Advertisers often use technology, such as web bugs and respawning cookies, to maximize their abilities to track consumers.[62]:60[97] According to a 2011 survey conducted by Harris Interactive, over half of Internet users had a negative impression of online behavioral advertising, and forty percent feared that their personally-identifiable information had been shared with advertisers without their consent.[98][99] Consumers can be especially troubled by advertisers targeting them based on sensitive information, such as financial or health status.[97] Furthermore, some advertisers attach the MAC address of users' devices to their 'demographic profiles' so they can be retargeted (regardless of the accuracy of the profile) even if the user clears their cookies and browsing history.[citation needed]

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Advertisers may also deliver ads based on a user's suspected geography through geotargeting. A user's IP address communicates some geographic information (at minimum, the user's country or general region). The geographic information from an IP can be supplemented and refined with other proxies or information to narrow the range of possible locations.[29] For example, with mobile devices, advertisers can sometimes use a phone's GPS receiver or the location of nearby mobile towers.[30] Cookies and other persistent data on a user's machine may provide help narrowing a user's location further.[29]

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GoTo.com (renamed Overture in 2001, and acquired by Yahoo! in 2003) created the first search advertising keyword auction in 1998.[20]:119 Google launched its "AdWords" search advertising program in 2000[21] and introduced quality-based ranking allocation in 2002,[22] which sorts search advertisements by a combination of bid price and searchers' likeliness to click on the ads.[20]:123

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A text ad displays text-based hyperlinks. Text-based ads may display separately from a web page's primary content, or they can be embedded by hyperlinking individual words or phrases to advertiser's websites. Text ads may also be delivered through email marketing or text message marketing. Text-based ads often render faster than graphical ads and can be harder for ad-blocking software to block.[51]
Four months later, Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel, partners in a law firm, broadly promoted their legal services in a USENET posting titled "Green Card Lottery – Final One?"[16] Canter and Siegel's Green Card USENET spam raised the profile of online advertising, stimulating widespread interest in advertising via both Usenet and traditional email.[13] More recently, spam has evolved into a more industrial operation, where spammers use armies of virus-infected computers (botnets) to send spam remotely.[11]

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Internet marketing, or online marketing, refers to advertising and marketing efforts that use the Web and email to drive direct sales via electronic commerce, in addition to sales leads from websites or emails. Internet marketing and online advertising efforts are typically used in conjunction with traditional types of advertising such as radio, television, newspapers and magazines.

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Online reviews, then, have become another form of internet marketing that small businesses can't afford to ignore. While many small businesses think that they can't do anything about online reviews, that's not true. Just by actively encouraging customers to post reviews about their experience small businesses can weight online reviews positively. Sixty-eight percent of consumers left a local business review when asked. So assuming a business's products or services are not subpar, unfair negative reviews will get buried by reviews by happier customers.
Customers are often researching online and then buying in stores and also browsing in stores and then searching for other options online. Online customer research into products is particularly popular for higher-priced items as well as consumable goods like groceries and makeup. Consumers are increasingly using the Internet to look up product information, compare prices, and search for deals and promotions.[23]

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