AlmondNet founder and CEO Roy Shkedi said the technology will enable it to sell advertisers highly specialized audience segments. "Usually an advertiser just buys a whole profile," Shkedi said. "We're trying to make the advertiser's life very easy, by letting him pay for each individual attribute of the audience."
For example, Shkedi said, a click from someone who has been searching for "mortgage" might be worth $3, but if that person is also known to have a household income of $70,000, his or her click might be worth more.
"As the market evolves, we know different amounts of information about different people," Shkedi said. "The direction the market is going is further monetization of profiles."
Dave Morgan, the CEO of behavioral targeting firm Tacoda, said that several other companies have received patents in similar areas, including his own firm, Google, Omniture, and Engage.
Morgan added that targeting firms could face a consumer backlash, as consumers become increasingly aware of how their data is being used. "We're in a world where consumers will increasingly take more control of their data, and they're going to be more careful of with who and how they share it," he said. "In the short term, now that everyone realizes there's an economy in targeting data, we're going to see a flood of people trying to build businesses there, but in the end the consumers are going to decide there are a certain number of people they're going to be willing to trust with this data."