Yahoo Patent Hunts Emotional State To Target Ads

I'm fascinated by patents and often log on to the United States Patent & Trademark Office to search for newly filed or granted patents. This time I ran across a recently updated patent filing from Yahoo for a product called emoticlips, which assists in targeting online ads based on a consumer's emotional state.

"Online, circumstances and behavior of individual users can be tracked very granularly and on an individual user basis, allowing a previously unprecedented level and precision in targeting," explains the patent application.

The inventors say an emoticlip might "include a rich-media segment designed... to assist the communication of an emotional state or an emotional experience."

The technique uses one or more computers to obtain and store information about the emotional states with which advertisers may classify the consumer traversing the Web. A second set of information would store emoticlips made up of media segments designed to facilitate communication of an emotional state or an emotional experience. Each is associated with an emotional state. A third set of information would contain data related to a user with an emoticlip to target him with an online advertisement.

It's not clear if Yahoo has been using the technology described in the patent filing updated Sept. 15, 2011, originally filed in March 2010, but it demonstrates that true behavioral targeting may have just begun.

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3 comments about "Yahoo Patent Hunts Emotional State To Target Ads".
  1. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct , September 21, 2011 at 6:08 p.m.

    Guess they haven't really been paying attention to reality.

    For all the supposed power that targeting like this is claimed to offer, it hasn't come about. Just check the exceptionally low prices for online advertising. If this was an important new thing, they'd be able to charge effectively for online behavioral targeting. But, it isn't generating economic power - just a lot of talk.

    And, AdAge talked about the weakness here last week noting in their article title that "After Two Days of Watching What Ads I Got While Wandering the Web, I Concluded Advertisers Don't Know That Much About Me..."

    So file all the patents you want, it ain't gonna deliver power to advertisers. :-)

  2. Scott Maxworthy from Max Media & Entertainment , September 21, 2011 at 6:22 p.m.

    WOW - at the moment I'm currently working on a presentation about creating online video storytelling and emotional audience response - how timely!

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , September 21, 2011 at 7:02 p.m.

    If this is actually possible, it is disgusting. The worst time to buy (products/services/advise) is when a person is emotionally disheartened and advertisers want to take advantage of this. It is an all or nothing proposition (for a lollipop or diamond jewelry or a gun) so the excuses that people can seek help when needing it most also means they can find the means to sink deeper. People who are seeking help will do so without more pressure to influence.