Yahoo patents ad charging idea based on bidding for users' social influence

Yahoo has patented an idea on a new system of ad charging which would encourage marketers to bid against each other to target more influential customers.

Idea: Yahoo filed the patent in December 2011

The firm suggests internet users could be given a score based on their perceived social influence, taking into account factors like Twitter followers and mentions.

The concept builds upon the current online ad system, in which marketers can make use of cookies and other features to fine tune their target audience, by harnessing the online influence of users perceived to have more authority among their peers to further their objectives.

"The level of social influence may be based upon factors such as the number of followers of the user, the number of contacts of the user, and/or the title of the user," the patent says.

"In this manner, an advertiser may be billed a higher amount for advertisements provided to users having a higher social authority score than for advertisements provided to users having a lower social authority score."

The patent was filed at the end of 2011 but has only just been published.

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