The new technology is already in use on the Tacoda network, which was bought by AOL this July. Now the carrier wishes to expand the program across its entire network. The financial stakes are high, as AOL expects behaviorally targeted ads to turn into a $3.8 billion business within the next four years.

However, users seems to be less than eager to join the program. After all, the new technology will have little regard for the user privacy on the Web and the idea of a company keeping track of their surfing habits is not a very pleasant one.

"Our goal with this program is to engender greater trust for targeted advertising," Platform-A vice president Curt Viebranz said. "AOL believes that doing more to explain to users the choices they have over the way their data is used, and helping them exercise those preferences will help them feel more in control."

Still, the new consumer-awareness program is unlikely to have an enormous success, at least at first, and AOL must be aware of that. The carrier will employ the Tacoda opt-out technology, which is based on Web cache technique. Up till now, opt out technologies were cookie-based, and the user would’ve been automatically opted back in to the behavioral targeting if he had deleted the cookie.

We want to make the opt-out process as simple and transparent as possible,” said Jules Polonetsky, Chief Privacy Officer, AOL. “We urge the industry to join us in ensuring that users who take steps to minimize the data they provide have their choices maintained.”

AOL added that it plans to license the technology to other advertising firms on a royalty-free basis.