A new deal in which LinkedIn users reading some sections of NYTimes.com will see news items related to their profiles, will enable the newspaper to target LinkedIn members with ads according to their professional information.
Steve Patrizi, director of advertising sales for the business networking site, said ads on NYTimes.com were primarily being targeted using information provided by readers when they registered. The new relationship between the companies means even finer tuning of ad delivery should be possible since LinkedIn profiles contain a wealth of information about a person's professional interests.
"The targeting happening on NYTimes.com is obviously taking a cue from our profile data," said Patrizi.
Information provided by LinkedIn consists of its members' industry, job function, seniority, company size, gender and geography. NYTimes.com readers will be able to opt-out of the program. Patrizi stressed no personally identifiable information is being revealed or disseminated.
Personalized content delivery, not targeted ad delivery, is the main thrust of the deal, according to Patrizi.
NYTimes.com will automatically recognize LinkedIn users when they go to Business or Technology pages, and will display headlines relevant to their industry.
"Basically what it's doing is its taking that profile information from LinkedIn... and it's just adding that into the NYTimes.com registration process," said Stacy Green, PR manager for The Times Company. "NYTimes.com has been targeting users for many, many years."
While NYTimes.com advertisers will benefit from the added targeting information, LinkedIn is not getting reciprocal treatment from NYTimes.com. Patrizi said LinkedIn is not gaining access to NYTimes.com's user registration data.
"It doesn't change anything we're offering on LinkedIn.com," said Patrizi. "Nothing is really changed in the way we are selling our own inventory or own advertising products."
A "share tool" being included on NYTimes.com pages will enable readers who are signed-up with LinkedIn to share and discuss stories with LinkedIn members in their networks.
NYTimes.com, citing Nielsen Online figures, stated it had 17.7 million unique visitors in June. LinkedIn claims to have nearly 25 million members.
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