Ad billing system to tap into GPS

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

Geek bloggers Slashdot have an interesting tidbit on Seattle-based Pelago Inc., a company that has applied for a patent to link mobile advertising sales to whether or not customers actually physically visit nearby stores.

The patent is, according to the application, for a pay-for-visit billing model for advertisements. As the application states: "The advertisement system provides advertisements to a mobile device or fixed of a user when the user is in the vicinity of or examining locations in the vicinity of the visit location. If the user subsequently visits the visit location of the advertisement by physically going to the location, the advertisement system then bills the advertiser for the advertisement."

For something like this to work, the customers' mobile device would not have to have Global Positioning System capability, the customer would also have to willingly transmit that info for ad purposes.

The company, founded by former Amazon.com executive Jeffrey Holden, is so far tight-lipped on what it's first product will be, though it says on its website that it "grows out of our obsession with the customer experience: a seamlessly integrated Web/mobile application that will be useful, social, and fun."

We're all for using Global Positioning System data to track when the next public school bus is coming to our stop, but once companies and governments start to use the technology to start tracking people, well, personal privacy that starts to go down a slippery slope. But as we've seen with other similar start-ups featuring GPS or even Facebook, privacy is already taking a beating.

Thanks to Slashdot for the link.