MySpace to Buy Photobucket? Behavioral Ad Implications

ValleyWag reports today that MySpace will acquire photo and video hosting site Photobucket. Photobucket is so far saying “no comment” and MySpace hasn’t returned calls, but the pairing seems possible, even probable, considering the companies’ sudden amicable agreement last month to set aside a controversy over the blocking of Photobucket widgets. ClickZ will be monitoring this one closely.

Meanwhile, there’s some interesting potential for behavioral targeting to be implemented under a merged Photobucket/MySpace, if you’ll allow me a moment of speculation.

When I met him two weeks ago at Ad:tech, Photobucket CEO Alex Welch talked about the company’s plans to apply data about where its users are posting their photos on the Web to target ads to those individuals on Photobucket. The practice would let the company create vertical segments consisting of people who post to automotive or videogame chat rooms, for instance. Broader demographic segmentation is also possible: People posting to Facebook are likely college students, and campaigns can be targeted (and priced) accordingly.

Now imagine if MySpace took that same approach to serving ads to Photobucket users and applied it to all their interactions on its massive social network. The amount of inventory that can be targeted on behavior will certainly increase, likely by many factors since people tend to rack up lots of page views there. It may seem obvious, but any widget maker automatically has the potential to be a behavioral targeting firm if it’s willing to sell the data. If the Photobucket/MySpace acquisition plays out as ValleyWag says it is, nobody will have to sell the data, because Rupert Murdoch and MySpace will already own it.

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