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You read an article, and it starts like this:

Imagine your best friend, a skilled reference librarian, watching you surf the web and — by noting what you stop to read and what you bypass — continually offering you lots of additional, in-depth content you might not easily find on your own.

Relax… all is good.  Your New Best Friend is helping you.

Except you wake up and realize your New Best Friend is:

Gator. Claria.

The company is releasing PersonalWeb in January. It’s a software download that watches “profiles” the sites you visit and the content you read, continually updating a personal home page.


As with Google Sidebar, PW will be a software download that will profile the sites you visit and the content you select. It will determine your news and information interests in much the same way behavioral targeters already infer and anticipate your advertising interests. Using both algorithms and your personal choices, the PW system will bring you more and better content within the topics you’re already reviewing, and will also “audition” other content you might find of interest.

The analogy to Google Sidebar is misleading.  As far as I know (and correct me if I’m wrong), Google Sidebar primarily collects information on the types of news that you read—not profiling the sites I visit and the content I select.

I will be very curious to look at this program when it releases.

Link to the article by Robert Moskowitz here.


Alex Eckelberry
(Thanks Amanda)