Do You Like Location-Based Ads?


Chalkboard, a Singapore-based start-up led by Saumil Nanavati and Bernard Leong, has recently upgraded its location-based ads widget for publishers.

Location tracking for the widget is now simpler. “Once the user has allowed location sharing on [their] sites, he or she will no longer see the irritating ‘Share your location’ alert again,” explained Bernard. That’s the most important improvement made by the team, at least from a publisher’s point of view.

Location-based ads have their fair share of pros and cons. One of the big advantages is relevancy. Location-based ads only show promotions that are near your current location. But before that could even happen, a user would have to allow location tracking to take place before the ads could run. This process might feel intrusive, and might be a turn-off to some.

It’s actually similar to Facebook ads which targets based on users’ interest and demographic, information are voluntarily provided by those users. Location-based ads, as the name suggests, uses current location data. I am more comfortable with the former than the latter. It’s a behavior which I haven’t gotten used to. If the intrusiveness problem can be answered (or at least appear to be solved, if you know what I mean), location-based ads could be big.

Nonetheless, Chalkboard’s embeddable location ads caught my interest. It’s something new and we love trying cool stuff on our site. But definitely not at the expense of our readers’ experience.

After much email exchange with Chalkboard, we embedded a “non-intrusive” version in our sidebar which tracks country location based on IP address, similar to how Google ads targets viewers. The intrusive version, however, tracks users exact location within the country, increasing location ads relevancy.

Also note that not everyone will be able to see ads from the widget. Ads will appear only in Southeast Asia and U.S where Chalkboard has stronger presence.


Now, we’re throwing the question to you. Do you like location-based ads? Let us know in the poll and comments section.

(And yes, we're serious about ethics and transparency. More information here.)

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