Web developers are becoming more and more aware that the future of the Internet is in dynamic distribution of content, advertising and design. Most users might not be noticing this, but a transition from one size fits all solutions for websites are giving way to systems that customize whatever can be customized on the site so that every individual surfer receives more relevant propositions in terms of what they see and how it is arranged. This is a fundamental departure from the old model that was not only static, but also promoted standard solutions, designed to match universal tastes. The technology that underpins this radical change is called behavioural targeting and its major premise is using a host of data about an individual user's history on the web to feed more online propositions. In practice, it means that what you do on the Internet, pages you visit, geographical location of your IP address, shopping decisions you make are entered into databases and processed in real time to optimize your future choices on the web.
The biggest impact of behavioural targeting can be felt in advertising, but it is by no means restrained to it. Some internet businesses have already invested considerable effort in honing their targeting technologies. For example, Amazon tracks activity of its users when they are logged in their accounts, including what they view from its catalogue and what they purchase, and uses this information to display other products they might be interested in. The idea behind this technology is that people are keen on get engaged by things which are connected with their previous behaviours and inviting them to check them out is likely to result in a purchase or another desired goal.
In fact, as the web becomes more and more dynamic and interactive, users start to expect that websites will respond to their activity, rather than just sitting there passively. It is a safe bet that with the current trends persisting and further technological barriers going down, web design and websites will have to meet these expectations. In other words, people who are, for example, into pen tablet or mini mouse trade, or broadly speaking in electronics industry, spending more of their online time browsing related pages, looking for deals and information are likely to be fans of technology that would help them get exposed to more such content.
Of course, there are potential risks too. If you allow an outside technology to dictate what you see on the web, or at least a substantial part of it, your lose a chunk of your own independence. Moreover, it might limit information you come across to disciplines you showed interest in the past, kind of locking you out of experiencing other things by accident. It would be best if behavioural targeting could be switched on and off at will, allowing people to choose whether they want its benefits or not. It can be irritating to have the web cut down to fit your geographical location as you do not always want to see things around your physical setting, let alone being restrained by other parameters.