Ads that I’m hoping will target me

September 19, 2007, 2:47 PM UTC

The New York Times reports that MySpace has developed the ability to tailor advertising towards each of its members. Executives knowledgeable about the new program indicate that “the tailoring technology has improved the likelihood that members will click on an ad by 80 percent on average,” the Times says.

This gives me yet one more incentive to join that flourishing community, and only two remaining reasons not to: 1) my conviction that anybody over 28 who belongs to MySpace is a hopeless loser not unlike the parents I knew in the 60s who wanted to smoke pot with their kids and 2) I have no real friends I’d want to put on my page. That is, all the friends I have I speak to as often as I want to and there are a whole lot of people I have forgotten on purpose.

That said, this new technology is a powerful inducement. An imaginary Bing page on one of the social networking sites would quickly target me for:

  • Computer related hardware and software
  • Cameras
  • Liquor
  • Downloadable video and music
  • Cheese logs, giant fruit, mail-order ham

I will point out that I did purchase each of those things in the last week or so without being targeted, but who knows? With some additional persuasion and a powerful recommendation engine at work, I might develop ancillary needs that are as yet unknown to me. Possible offshoots of my current obsessions may include:

  • Beef sticks
  • A mainframe to run parallel search functions
  • A high-definition video studio
  • One of those little golf carts you see on the streets these days
  • Bowling shoes

I don’t know that I need any of those things, but I feel like I might if I was properly deglazed, probed and polished by the right algorithm.

Subscribe to Well Adjusted, our newsletter full of simple strategies to work smarter and live better, from the Fortune Well team. Sign up today.