The Journal Online, part of Dow Jones, has become the latest in a string of high-profile websites to introduce technology that allows it to categorise visitors and then target them with appropriate ads.
The categories being used are car buffs, consumer techies, engaged investors, health enthusiasts, the leisure-minded, mutual-fund aficionados, opinion leaders and travel seekers. Marketers will also be able to select custom-made categories.
For the time being, car buffs are being targeted with ads for Lexus and Nissan and consumer techies by web movie service NetFlix. Wherever these categorised visitors surf on the site, they will be greeted by the same group of targeted ads, sitting alongside the content they want to read.
The system being used at WSJ.com was developed by Revenue Science in Bellevue, Washington. Similar systems have been developed for CondeNet, produced by the Conde Nast empire; Tribune Interactive, owned by the Tribune Company; USAToday.com, owned by Gannett; and The New York Times on the Web.
The Journal is using behaviour-based advertising as an alternative to the more intrusive cartoons, sound effects and screen-takeovers that are becoming increasingly popular with marketers.
Randy Kilgore, vice-president for advertising, marketing and sales at the Journal Online, said: "You won't see Bart Simpson running across our screen".
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