RealTime IT News

NetZero Zeroes in On Users

Free Internet service provider NetZero, Inc. Tuesday opened up a new revenue source designed to profit by observing its 5 million members on the Web.

NetZero's new CyberTarget division is selling the volumes of data that its zCast software accumulates from observing the Web habits of its registered users, while keeping members personal information private.

Marketers, advertising agencies, and research firms that subscribe to NetZero's CyberTarget service can develop sophisticated audience measurement data and develop targeted market research panels for detailed analysis of their behavior on the Web.

CyberTarget uses a combination of NetZero members' non-personal profile data users complete when they subscribe to the free ISP and Web tracking tools to develop a deeper understanding of how people are using the Internet.

Customized online surveys also allow companies to have the NetZero's subscriber base review Web-based goods and services on an opt-in basis.

CyberTarget is designed to go beyond traditional what-when-where Web research and provide data that directly measures online behavior. NetZero's program can report the sites users visit, the amount of time they spend there, the specific online paths they take, and much more.

Mark R. Goldston, NetZero chairman and chief executive officer said its CyberTarget division is an extremely effective strategic tool.

"CyberTarget's custom market research capabilities enable clients to gain strategic advantages by specifically targeting their competitors' customers," Goldston said. "Researchers have the ability to access both current customers of other brands and potential consumers, so they can gain an in-depth understanding of the marketplace and new opportunities they may want to exploit.

Goldston added that CyberTarget is nothing short of a pioneering new standard for online market research.

Rusty Taragan, senior vice president of NetZero and general manager of CyberTarget, said the research unit specializes in market share branding analysis, benchmark panels and live online surveys of users on a variety of issues.

"From my experience in consumer marketing, it is highly unusual to have the potential to reach this many people -- and both accurately survey and serve them, based on such specific, behavioral information," Taragan said.

CyberTarget currently offer four different reports for advertisers that include analysis of repeat Web visitors, top sites visited, popular content, and audience comparison data.

NetZero's Taragan said CyberTarget takes the guesswork out of convention market research.

"The vast amount of information that we can gather from our users will benefit the entire industry by facilitating a better understanding of the interactive consumer, while educating advertisers on the effectiveness of their online media campaign," Taragan said.