To Build a Brand, Colleges Try Ads That Follow Browsers Across the Web

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When Mary E. Chase noticed an ad for Hawaiian Airlines on Omaha.com several years ago, she was perplexed. Ms. Chase, associate vice president for enrollment at Creighton University, in Nebraska's largest city, frequently travels to recruit students in Hawaii. In fact, she had just booked a trip on Hawaiian Airlines. She knew the airline didn't fly out of Omaha, so why would it advertise on the city's local news site?

Ms. Chase didn't know it at the time, but the airline had followed