Acxiom Corp. has unveiled a new service called Relevance-X that uses information from the company's extensive database of public records to trigger ads for users visiting partner Web sites. Acxiom matches user profiles gleaned from Web registration data with its existing system of demographic clusters to tailor ads. The service has drawn criticism from privacy advocates, but Acxiom representatives say the targeting is anonymous.
Advertisers are increasingly targeting virtual worlds geared toward children, but some educators fear that in-game product placements, which generally are interpreted at the subconscious level, can have a questionable effect on youth. "This kind of marketing is designed to operate at a subconscious level. And kids don't know how to think critically about how someone's trying to get them to be loyal to a brand or buy their products," said American University professor Kathryn Montgomery.