Introduction The Internet is a compelling engine of engagement. It's a network where we can get any kind of information, conduct our business, and connect with others anywhere in the world at any time. This relentlessly churning and navigable Amazon of information and interaction has channels numbering in the millions through which the current flows in any direction. No medium ever invented gives us so much control over our entrances and exits. We can leave it on a whim and without any effort. It is changing our lives in ways we need to pay attention to. Its influence is and will be as profound as if something had been implanted in our brains or had modified our genome. Everything we get from the Internet we get for free because others pay for it. The Internet has grown and been sustained by advertising. Whether we think publishers have earned our attention or advertisers have hijacked it, it is money from advertising that has put the content at our disposal. Advertisers subsidize the medium to get our attention, however fleeting or ungovernable it may be, in order to pitch their products to us. To some, this phenomenon is like a beanstalk on Internet growth hormone, which will lead to a bonanza in cyberspace. To others, it's the humongous man-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors , insidiously tracking them and invading their privacy. However you see it, there is no denying that digital advertising in all its forms is vastly different from every sort of advertising that has preceded it. It has grown and transformed itself with stunning speed. As with the Internet that spawned it, it is changing the future we will inhabit. Even as "realists" assumed digital advertising was a gimmick with little utility, it went from a concept in entrepreneurs' imaginations and the wishful thinking of venture capitalists to an apparatus of commercial promotion that reached critical mass while many were still wondering if it was for real. Excerpted from Targeted: How Technology Is Revolutionizing Advertising and the Way Companies Reach Consumers by Mike Smith All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.