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Verizon Wireless to begin using mobile usage data for new targeted ad service

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Verizon Wireless has announced that it is launching a marketing initiative that will send customers advertisements based on what activities they perform on its network. The new Verizon Selects program uses location data, as well as both browser and app usage, to help target users with coupons or promotions tailored to their particular interests. Subscribers will then get relevant offers via email, text message, standard mail, or through online and mobile advertisements.

Verizon is careful to point out that it doesn't share customer information with outside parties, but that hasn't prevented the company from taking criticism on the topic. Its Precision Market Insights program — of which the new program is a part — has recently come under fire for mining data from iOS and Android users. That service forces users to opt out if they don't want their behavior tracked, but it looks like Big Red may be paying attention to the complaints: the new Verizon Selects program will be opt-in only. Verizon will begin contacting customers to take part in the program starting this week.