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Pandora Asks Users to Share Their E-Mail With Mitt Romney

Streaming radio service now includes political advertising


The next time you tune into Pandora (NYSE:P) to listen to your favorite artists, you might find something new sandwiched in between songs — advertisements asking you to give your e-mail address to Mitt Romney.

It’s the latest salvo in the political advertising wars, and it has ruffled some Pandora users’ feathers. In an interview with ProPublica, Pandora listener Crystal Harris expressed her annoyance with seeing a Romney ad after listening to a Garth Brooks song. “Don’t harass me on my email. Don’t stalk me on the apps that I use. To me, that just crossed the line.”

This isn’t the first time Pandora has run ads on its service asking users to submit e-mail addresses to an advertiser, but this year is the first time Pandora has allowed political advertisers to run these sorts of ads. A company spokesperson said that Romney was not the only politician or political group running such ads. Both the Democrats and Republicans had run similar ads, and campaigns on national and local levels had bought this sort of advertising.

Pandora advertisers can target their ads using several criteria: artists, musical genre, age, gender, and location. It wasn’t immediately clear if listening to Garth Brooks led to a Romney ad being shown, or if it was related to Harris’ location — the swing state of North Carolina.

What was clear is that online targeted advertising still has some kinks to work out. Harris is a registered Democrat.

For more information, check out this article by ProPublica.

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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