Be Free Wins Patent for Online Behavioral Profiling

Be Free Inc., a provider of online affiliate network technology and services, was awarded a patent for its online profiling technology.

The patent is officially for a “Computer Program Apparatus for Determining Behavioral Profiles of a Computer User.” The technology compiles anonymous behavioral and psychographic profiles of individual computer users through the passive collection of data about user interactions with indexed content or time-sensitive reference information.

The process defined by the patent goes beyond demographic profiling, the company said. It displays customized information to computer users in real time based on their psychographic profiles. Its tracking and profiling capabilities record user activity and preferences in respect to information such as stock quotes and weather reports. Over time, this functionality creates refined profiles of individual Internet users that can be used to target online ads.

“The technology and technique encompassed in this patent marks a turning point in the way retailers drive online revenue,” said Tom Gerace, executive vice president of business development for Be Free. “This type of rich behavioral and psychographic data can help online retailers dynamically offer individual consumers the specific goods and services that they are most likely to purchase.”

Passively collecting profile information and storing it in an anonymous database helps to ensure the integrity of the data while protecting the privacy of the user, the company said.

Be Free’s branded affiliate networks help online retailers drive revenue by selling products “in context” on affiliate Web sites. With more than 60,000 affiliates in its networks, Be Free’s clients include barnesandnoble.com, Travelocity, Electronic Newsstand, Reel.com, Verisign and Network Solutions. Products include the BFAST affiliate network technology and the BFIT targeted advertising delivery.

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