HP's web-printers to print adverts

June 17, 2010 | 10:34

Tags: #advertising #printer #printers #privacy #targeted-advertising #webos

Companies: #hewlett-packard #hp #yahoo

Remember HP's plans to release printers with e-mail addresses? Remember the fears that spammers might circumvent security in order to print advertisements? Fear not: HP is teaming up with Yahoo to send adverts to you itself.

According to ComputerWorld, the partnership will see Yahoo providing targeted advertising to owners of HP's web-connected printers, based on geographic location along with knowledge of the type of data printed and the users' rough habits.

Don't worry overly much, though - HP isn't planning a return to the bad old days of junk faxes: although the adverts do get printed out - and thus cost the recipient real cash money - they are designed to be integrated with the company's newspaper-like content, rather than suddenly appear on a pristine page.

The idea is simple: we're used to seeing adverts on the web and in our newspapers, so when we're using HP's automated print-me-a-newspaper option to snag content from the web and transfer it to print we won't - in theory - even notice that the adverts are there.

The concept certainly makes sense from HP and Yahoo's perspectives, but the sell for the customer is somewhat harder - especially when privacy concerns are taken into account. Stephen Nigro, senior vice president of HP's Imaging and Printing Group, has stated that the system will use 'IP sniffing [to get] an idea about where those printers are' in order to target local advertising, and that information can be tied up with personal data such as the type of subscriptions printed and the users' schedule for printing. HP's Vyomesh Joshi has, however, stated that HP needs to 'be very clear [and implement] business rules in terms of privacy.'

Do you think that HP has a right to put advertising in the content it automatically generates for you, or is it wrong of it to cost you real money in ink used just to try and make a quick quid off your reading habits? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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