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Google Targets TV Advertising 156

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the welcome-to-the-googleverse dept.
mytrip writes to tell us that Google may have television advertising in the cross-hairs. CEO Eric Schmidt recently stated that viewers shouldn't have to stand for tv commercials that are a "waste of your time" and says Google is planning to deliver "targeted measurable television ads." I just hope I can still skip them with my TiVO in a couple years.
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Google Targets TV Advertising

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  • TV? Television? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) *

    Google is so ubiquitous it seems going to TV advertising is going backward.

    I know I've heard of those somewhere. I'll have to Google it and find out what it is.

  • I love Geico ads. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumFTL (197300) * <justin.wick@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Sunday August 20, 2006 @01:41PM (#15944573)
    Whenever I'm skipping through ads, I always rewind if I catch a Geico ad, or an Apple ad. These ads are often more entertaining than whatever I'm watching, and I hope that google helps advertisers to create content, rather than the awful propaganda that most ads are today.

    Of course, I find myself scared that, while I've never purchased car insurance myself, the first place I will look will be Geico when I turn 25 - not because I have any reason to believe they are actually a better company, but their ads have caused me to think very highly of them on a subjective level. Even knowing this, I cannot undo this manipulation.
    • by QuantumFTL (197300) * <justin.wick@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Sunday August 20, 2006 @01:43PM (#15944586)
      If this means I don't have to see any more feminine hygene product ads, go Google, go!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Except you'll be getting lots of ads about male hygiene products...
        • Except you'll be getting lots of ads about male hygiene products...

          As long as they are so absorbant!
      • by hmccabe (465882)
        Conversely, I occasionally like to see an ad that has no chance of affecting my current or future purchasing decisions, as it is an interesting chance to think about how the advertising industry works. For example, I like to think that there was a director who had to say something like, "Remember, don't dance too enthusiastically; your side to side motion is supposed to represent the inferior tampon design." Of course, I only really see ads when I can' find the Tivo's remote, but that happens often enough
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 20, 2006 @02:07PM (#15944685)
      Having quite a bit of marketing background, I can assure you that it's completely intentional when an ad isn't like the Geico or Apple ads you mention. The main problem with such ads is that they don't explicitly show the product enough. They work fine for an insurance ad, as insurance really isn't a tangible thing (like a bottle of beer or a particular restaurant are). When it comes to something like insurance, you're trying to get the viewer to remember the name or the logo. It's rare that one can successfully associate something memorable with the name of a firm, as in the case of a gecko with the name "Geico".

      Most ads are there to appeal to the ignorant, unwashed masses. And what often works best is to show them your product over and over and over and over and over and over. Like in Gatorade commercials, which are often just a montage of many clips of sweathy athletes drinking Gatorade. The same goes for shampoo. That way the consumer will remember the appearance of the item the next time they're in a store that sells it.

      • by owlnation (858981)

        The main problem with such ads is that they don't explicitly show the product enough. They work fine for an insurance ad, as insurance really isn't a tangible thing (like a bottle of beer or a particular restaurant are). When it comes to something like insurance, you're trying to get the viewer to remember the name or the logo. It's rare that one can successfully associate something memorable with the name of a firm, as in the case of a gecko with the name "Geico".

        No! Not at all true. False...

        Want pro

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 955301 (209856)
        What you just described is a throwback to the pre-40's public relations mentality. Ever since Sigmond Freuds nephew Edward Bernays and a few other choice wackos came into the picture, pr and advertising has moved to propoganda instead. Go behind your audiences back and to their leaders and convince those people to endorse your product instead. That's the reasons for the sweaty athletes, or bacon entering our diet for breakfast or a myriad of things.

        It's not repetition as you suggest, it's propoganda.
      • by Jetson (176002)

        And what often works best is to show them your product over and over and over and over and over and over. Like in Gatorade commercials, which are often just a montage of many clips of sweathy athletes drinking Gatorade. The same goes for shampoo.

        Showing the product over and over again is only effective if it's marketed to the right demographic and the image that's shown over and over again is both memorable and easily associated with the product. The Geiko gecko is both memorable and easily associated.

    • by bblboy54 (926265)
      Actually, Geico is one of the few companies that their ads meet the company. I have actually never found a company with greater customer service -- not to mention they are the cheapest (at least in my case).

      When it comes to ads I really wish there was some kind of law that kept the ads equal to the product and service a company offers -- or better yet, why dont companies just spend their money on customer service and skip advertising all together. To me, word of mouth is so much better than any ad I hav
      • I've heard some horror stories from folks wherein Geico refused to pay their probably legitimate claims.
        • Name one insurance company that's paid absolutely every claim that a claimant deems "probably legitimate," and I'll give you this bridge in Brooklyn.
    • I would like to publicly thank Geico for getting that movie trailer voice dude (something French) for their "sprucing up the commoner series". Hearing him say "In a world..." for that ad, even though I've only seen it once, is very memorable.

      While I shan't budge from USAA, I would like to beg them to collect all of their ads on a DVD, as I'd happily buy a copy.

      The soap opera spoof: "I saved. I thought that meant something to you!" was also intense.
    • by IANAAC (692242)

      ... and I hope that google helps advertisers to create content, rather than the awful propaganda that most ads are today.

      I can't really see how Google helping to create ad contect would equal the success of the Geico ads, but...

      In any case, what you're suggesting is that Google be come an ad agency, and I somehow don't think the shareholders would go for that.

      Then again, all they really have to do is create one killer ad that gets everyone talking and that could change people's minds.

      • by QuantumFTL (197300) * <justin.wick@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Sunday August 20, 2006 @03:17PM (#15944893)
        I can't really see how Google helping to create ad contect would equal the success of the Geico ads, but...

        The point of my post is really that Google's ad targeting approach may lead to less ads that are better focussed, and have strong incentives to have higher qualtiy content.
        • The point of my post is really that Google's ad targeting approach may lead to less ads

          Nothing in the history of capitalism that could have lead to less of something that was good for the corporation and bad for the consumer has ever done so. Least of all advertising, which is now so pervasive there are ads in front of the cart facing you, in the seat, on the order seperation bar, and on the payment counter where I put down my purse. The best hope is for it to lead to the same amount of ads. I expect
          • by bnenning (58349)
            Nothing in the history of capitalism that could have lead to less of something that was good for the corporation and bad for the consumer has ever done so.

            I can't not fail to disagree with the opposite of this.

            Least of all advertising, which is now so pervasive there are ads in front of the cart facing you, in the seat, on the order seperation bar, and on the payment counter where I put down my purse.

            It's an arms race, and consumers are at least breaking even. I don't terribly mind ads on shopping carts bec

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "while I've never purchased car insurance myself, the first place I will look will be Geico when I turn 25 "

      you aren't purchasing your own car insurance until you turn 25?
    • by pipingguy (566974) *
      There must be huge profit margins for personal care products (especially female-related; shampoo, skin goo and creams, body washes, etc.) given the amount of TV advertising for them.
      • There must be huge profit margins for personal care products (especially female-related; shampoo, skin goo and creams, body washes, etc.) given the amount of TV advertising for them.

        Margin is irrelevant, it's the total profit that is the real factor here. The products are cheap (and you're probably right, there's probably a lot of margin when you consider how much cheaper the knockoff brands are), but people have to buy a *lot* of shampoo etc (unless they are bald or are a hippy).

        Also daytime commerci
        • by pipingguy (566974) *
          I would think that daytime TV ads are not all that economically "lowcast" as might be expected. All women bleed (to coin a phrase), shave (in some western societies) and most of them hope to have babies someday. So ads directed towards them is not really targetted towards a specific type of woman.

          Maybe you underestimate the imprinting that is possible with women that have or want babies. I'd guess that this phenomenon is more powerful than guys wanting to get laid.
    • Eeh, Geico wasn't cheaper for me, I saved about $300 by switching to Country Companies [countryfinancial.com]. Kind of a surprise was getting a membership in the Oregon Farm Bureau for Christmas from my insurance guy. I guess it's the thought that counts, I woulda rather had a membership to the local model railroad club...
    • by antdude (79039)
      I enjoy those cheesy and funny American beer commercials even though I don't drink alcohol.
    • Think it through logically.

      1) How easy is their website access? Are you going to spend 15 minutes poking around trying to figure out how to contact them?

      2) How good is their customer support?

      3) Better Business Bureau complaints?
    • Yeah, see, I don't mind ads so long as they're for things I'm interested in... If you could thumbs-up thumbs-down commercials via TiVo and have them tailored to what you like, I wouldn't skip past them.

      Like when I tried the ad-based opera quite some time back, the ads were specific to what I liked, so I didn't mind them -- and because of this, they worked, I visited a few of the places that advertised. Kinda puts regular advertising on the level of spam in that perspective huh?
  • Well (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ShooterNeo (555040) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @01:46PM (#15944599)
    The overall concept is great. If commercials were 'targetted' to the particular viewer, they would be more effective and hence could either raise more revenue for television networks or allow for shorter commercial breaks.

    The catch is this : I don't see what role google can have in this. They might be able to develop the technology for delivering the video cheaply and reliably using google OS and commodity PC hardware, like the rest of their systems work. This would make the back end at the cable and telecom tv providers cheaper. They could also develop the mechanism for choosing commercials ('searches' based on a users demographics) and evaluating success.

    However, the profit is still in owning the pipes. How can google make money when the ownership of the network is in the hands of other : the telephone and cable companies.
    • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ctr2sprt (574731) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @02:11PM (#15944705)

      Remember that for broadcast TV (in the US at least), you're not the customer, you're the product. Advertisers are the customers. Google can make money off TV advertising the same way they do everywhere else: by making ads more successful and therefore more profitable for advertisers. That lets networks charge more for advertising space and time, and Google takes a cut of that. The profit isn't in owning the pipes, it's in owning the eyeballs.

      There's also the synergy angle, i.e. Google can tightly couple TV advertising with Web advertising. "Joe just saw an ad on TV for X and started Googling for information on it five minutes later, so let's show him ads for stores in the area which sell X." Going back to what I said before, with regards to Web advertising, Google pretty much owns all the eyeballs, so this has the potential to be really profitable for them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dehvokahn (996677)
        Lets look at things from this angle. Google currently logs things like what people search for, when, for how long, what they click on, etc etc etc ... But they only use this information to serve ads that are more closely relevent to the person searching.

        It sounds to me like Google is going to try to put their Database and Search technology to use in a similar capacity only with TV. Anyone who has digital cable and/or sattelite television programming in their home, or even TiVo for that matter, can hav
        • It has taken to the middle of this thread before someone started talking about the most interesting aspect of this topic and it's rated only a 1 so far. Give the guy some points already.

          The crux of the whole thing is linking up the cable customer's TV and internet behavior. The cable company and networks don't need Google to match shows with appropriate ads; that's been done for the whole history of TV. Nor do they need Google to match viewing habits over time with ad targeting; cable companies can do that
    • Obligatory (Score:2, Funny)

      by sacbhale (216624)
      Its all a bunch of tubes i tell you.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by payndz (589033)
      The catch is this : I don't see what role google can have in this.

      Because Google has your search results, whereas the best any TV network can find out is the shows you like to watch. The latter gives them a vague idea of your preferences when you sit back to watch things that are passively pushed at you, whereas the former reveals a lot about what you're actively looking for. Just think about the recent AOL search leak, which revealed more about the users than anyone thought (or feared) was possible.
      • Just think about the recent AOL search leak, which revealed more about the users than anyone thought (or feared) was possible.

        Yes. Unfortunately, it revealed that many people out there are even dumber than i thought was humanly possible...
    • The catch is this : I don't see what role google can have in this. They might be able to develop the technology for delivering the video cheaply and reliably using google OS and commodity PC hardware, like the rest of their systems work. This would make the back end at the cable and telecom tv providers cheaper. They could also develop the mechanism for choosing commercials ('searches' based on a users demographics) and evaluating success.

      Google would be doing the latter: helping advertisers choose the best

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The overall concept is great. If commercials were 'targetted' to the particular viewer, they would be more effective and hence could either raise more revenue for television networks or allow for shorter commercial breaks.

      What utter bollocks. There will never be less commercials on tv. If people put up with 1/3 of every show being advertising now, they'll put up with it tomorrow. So what if google or anyone can better target their ads?

      Suppose that ads are more effective so any one compa

      • i think there's a balance. if Google targetting enables TV networks to charge more for advertising, then they can recoup their costs with fewer ads. the remaining spots can either be used for more advertising like you say, or they could be used for more show. why would someone want to use it for more show? well, if you've got a particular type of programming that's shown on several networks in a similar format (e.g. national news), you could show it virtually uninterrupted in order to draw more eyes (so
  • Popups (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ark42 (522144) <slashdot@mo[ ]eu ... t ['rph' in gap]> on Sunday August 20, 2006 @01:48PM (#15944609) Homepage
    If Google can reverse the trend on some channels to move towards LARGE popups that move around and make noise on the bottom have of the screen DURING the actual show, completely ruining and interrupting it, than GREAT! Go for it!. I really hate trying to read something on the screen like a subtitle or place&time text only to have a big race car drive across it, obscuring my view and making loud tire screeching noises over a quiet/dark/moody intro scene to some show.

    Quiet, text-only, to-the-point, factual advertisement is a lot more tolerable.

    • Re:Popups (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Durrok (912509) <calltechsucks&gmail,com> on Sunday August 20, 2006 @02:02PM (#15944666) Homepage Journal
      It's also far too easily ignored. Those flashy annoying ads get your attention everytime though.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by LiquidCoooled (634315)
        Ahhhh but they get my attention in the wrong way.

        I have a mental blacklist of companies who no matter how tempting the offer they will never ever get a sale from me again.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by magictiger (952241)

      I agree. Advertisements have gotten far too obtrusive. If you want to advertise something, put it in the breaks that are built into every show. Don't put something across the sides or bottom of the screen to distract me in the middle of the show. That's just going to make me want to find a copy of the show without the ads.

      If people are pushed toward downloading ad-free copies of a show, then nobody watches the ads, the advertisers stop advertising, and the ad revenue for the cable co goes to crap. It'

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jthill (303417)

      Quiet, text-only, to-the-point, factual advertisement is a lot more tolerable.

      The companies that market to couch potatoes (e.g. the ones that treat TV, and want to treat the Internet, as a spam-delivery method) hate the notion. Anything that might distract their prey from its fascination with their bait provokes tactics that would make Ebling Mis proud. And the notion that they could be out-competed for eyeball-minutes by relevant and at least marginally interesting ads? It's a no-brainer: they'll bu

    • USA and SciFi seem to be worst about those stupid pop-ups. The really amusing ones are when they pop up to advertise the show you are already watching...I guess they are geared toward those with short term memory loss.
  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@nOSPam.lynx.bc.ca> on Sunday August 20, 2006 @01:53PM (#15944630) Journal

    People watch television to be entertained.

    Therefore, when ads are entertaining, people watch them, and are less likely to ignore it by whatever means is convenient, be it by flipping channels, pressing mute, fast forwarding if it's prerecorded, etc...

    • You would need ALL ads to be entertaining for that to work. If the program you were watching switched to ads and they were entertaining, you wouldn't think of switching, but then if one lame ad came on, you'd think "wtf, why am I watching this?" and flip the channel. So, one guy will have ruined it for the rest of them (the ads after that one might have been great too).
      • by mark-t (151149)

        Yes... it would require that all ads be at LEAST as entertaining as the show it is interrupting.

        A tremendously hard thing to do.

        Probably as difficult as coming up with an idea for a hit TV series in the first place.

        • Not really better that the show it's interrupting, otherwise you'd switch channels looking for more ads when the show interrupted them. You just need them to not be annoying.
        • by LindseyJ (983603)
          Yes... it would require that all ads be at LEAST as entertaining as the show it is interrupting.

          A tremendously hard thing to do.

          Not really, considering the mindless drivel that's on most of the time nowadays.

          I can say with some certainty that Geico's commercial spoofing Reality-TV shows is more interesting by far than any realty show that has ever or will ever be made.
  • by lottameez (816335) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @01:54PM (#15944635)
    viewers shouldn't have to stand for tv commercials that are a "waste of your time"

    <vent>
    For example, all automobile ads. Huge waste of money and my time. They show the cars out in the wild instead of sitting in traffic like most of us - they highlight features that only car-guys know what the heck it means (er, dodge hemisphere?), and the local dealer ads are headlined by guys/girls that have no shame and sound like idiots. I'm hard pressed to think of any car commercial that even has an entertainment value.

    I think what really irritates me is that every 6-10 years when I buy a new car I know that a significant part of the cost is those stupid commercials.
    </vent>
    • by Fungii (153063)
      I can think of one - the citroen dancing car (C5 I think).

      That was a cool ad.
    • by mspohr (589790)
      I hate this... I just bought a new car and they had the nerve to tack on a $300.00 "Advertising Fee".

      So I have to pay to be irritated by the ads? Please, stop advertising cars. I know what's available and where to find it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by thr4k4 (996657)
      You seem to have missed the whole idea of "branding". Companies aren't trying to sell the car, but the idea of stuff like being able to "go beyond" (e.g. range rover campaign). This is something advertisement companies have been doing now for more than 10 years.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I guess you're just not one of the typical 18-35 year old males who lives on top of a mountain cliff and parachutes down to his sweet Hemi and drives to work on a magical mountain road that appears out of nowhere while navigating hairpin S-turns in the mountains, and then makes it into the city where every other vehicle turns to dust and the buildings all come crumbling down into the country mountain road. I bet you don't even park your vehicle in the path of high tide at the rocky beach so it can get thro
    • On the one hand, without the influx of money from car commercials it would not be possible to have television as we know it (certainly rather than scale back profits they would scale back any semblance of quality or competence). On the other hand, without the car $$ it would also not be possible for major league baseball to continue to be a viable business (every major sport has TV revenue but only baseball has the empty stadiums). So I have mixed feelings as per usual.
    • sure (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zogger (617870)
      You have 6-10 years to save up for a new engine. Don't buy a new car! Do the maintenance as required, then put in a new engine, possibly a rebuilt transaxle or transmission, etc, whatever you need. You'll come out loads cheaper that way (in most instances, not all of course, YMMV) if you really are buying brand new and you haven't totally beat the old ride to death in the meanwhile.

      With that said, hemi refers to the shape of the combustion chamber, hemispherical.
    • by aztektum (170569)
      "they highlight features that only car-guys know what the heck it means" seeing as how all the "car-guys" i know spend a lot of time also watching tv, i'd say they know exactly who they're targetting. you gotta realize there are a lot more brain dead car guys just being couch potatoes than there are you's in this country.
  • by phatvw (996438) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @02:00PM (#15944656)
    When I watch car shows, I see ads for cars and other car shows. When I watch Law and Order I see ads for Preparation H. When I watch Matlock, I see ads for adult diapers.
  • I don't like it. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I want to like Google, and I do love most of their products, but the power and reaches of their information gathering and processing does have me a little concerned. Not to mention their infinite data retention policies. I don't think Google would necessarily do anything "bad" with that data, but that's not the point. All it takes is one incident to affect potentially millions of people.
  • Cringely has been predicting this [pbs.org] for quite a while now.

    I can see this being both good and bad - we'll only get ads served to us based on subjects that we are interested in, but on the other hand we'll only get ads served to us based on subjects that we are interested in. The marketing people will be able to play on peoples insecurities a lot more efficiently.

    I can also see embarassing times ahead for people who look up a lot of porn too...
  • by Chaffar (670874) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @02:09PM (#15944699)
    Pah! Any true geek would know that TV ITSELF is a waste of our time :)
  • YES!!!! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Finally, years of logging into Google and training my profile to search for porn will pay!!!

    I wan't that NOW... NOW!!!! I say!!!!!
  • by avi33 (116048) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @02:14PM (#15944718) Homepage
    This would be a clever bit of insight on ZDnet's part if it hadn't been exhaustively explored by Robert Cringely seven months ago [pbs.org].

    Basically, by buying up bandwidth and data center capabilities everywhere, google could insert context-driven advertising into any video stream on its way to the consumer, and do it far more efficiently and effectively than the networks are capable of.
  • by LaughingCoder (914424) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @02:18PM (#15944731)
    Imagine watching Seinfeld and Jerry pulls a Coke from his refrigerator. Only, in some households he might be seen pulling a Pepsi. Developing the technology to dynamically insert products into the programming is the next logical step in advertising. We see it already, statically, with companies paying gobs of money for product insertion. Imagine instead shooting movies and programming with "generic" green-board like products, and then replacing them with images of the desired product, on a case-by-case basis. You already see some of this in baseball games. There is an ad billboard behind home plate in Fenway park. Nominally it is "green", but it gets replaced in the video stream (at the broadcaster end) with ads. It's not a huge step to move this insertion down to the DVR/cable box. This is where companies like TIVO have the inside track. Their boxes could do the insertion, under command from 'central control'. And they already know our viewing habits (not just what we watch, but when we watch it, and for how long), and our "clicking" habits.
    • you're right.. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by YesIAmAScript (886271)
      Except you're years behind.

      The baseball think is perhaps as much as 10 years old now.

      And the replacement of ads in movies already started. I think it was Turner who was holding up movie companies for extra dough to not replace their ads with other ads when they showed the movies on TV. I remember seeing a movie on TV with a scene in Times Square where they had replaced one ad with another.
      • I think you missed my point - I know "static" product insertion is already being done. In fact I cited that fact, and my baseball example was just one instance. My point was about "dynamic" insertion at the endpoint (like in a cable box or DVR). I am pretty certain nobody is doing that yet. It wouldn't surprise me if there are multiple versions of a Seinfeld episode, one with Coke, one with Pepsi. It wouldn't even shock me if different versions were shown in geographically targetted areas. However, dynamic
  • Is it just me or is Google the next MS? It seems instead of sitting in their own little pond (Online technology) they're slowing worming their way into everything else. Maybe it is just me.. but I sure as hell don't like it and "do no evil" does not imply the next guy along the line doesn't want to be evil.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bblboy54 (926265)
      Until Google does something to betray my trust, I would much rather have Google getting into these other markets than MS beating them to it. Sure, it's a concern that Google is infiltrating everything but I have this simple thought: If Google doesnt do it, someone else will and right now, I trust Google more than any other company.
    • What, exactly, does 'sitting in their own little pond' mean? What's your own little pond? What's mine? Why do I have to stay in it?

      What would you say to blacksmith's when Henry Ford was getting started? Were horseshoes their pond? Would you make them stay in it?
    • Google is an advertising company. It's not a horribly big jump to move from internet ads to television ads.
  • Disclaimer: I created WideSAN [widesan.com]

    I've been working on a similar idea, except that the video is delivered over the Internet. With the WideSAN [widesan.com] system, I can already deliver video with individually customized advertising inserted effortlessly by the server. Either as a standard AVI or in browser flash video. When delivering as flash video, tracking actual commercial views is possible. The problem has been getting licensed content to distribute.
  • It's certainly a very good idea if they can pull it off well. Say i'm watching The Simpsons or something with dinner - 5 tech adverts (say IBM, Dell, Intel, 1&1 and Microsoft) would be a hell of a lot more useful to me and likely most /.'ers than 5 generic adverts (Tampons, toilet paper, Audi, Budweiser, M&S). My only real concern is whether they'll be implemented in a Tivo-like manner - where if i watch one episode of Will & Grace, it assumes i'm gay and records Queer eye for the Straight Guy
  • I don't think anyone would remember, let alone know about, this company.

    AdExact [archive.org] was a small company located in Waterloo, Ontario, and was founded by Stephen Basco (of the PixStream fortune [cisco.com]). The company had a product that was similar to what google is starting to talk about: targeted TV advertising.

    The company eventually ran out of money and had to close down the shop.

    I wonder what would have happened if they had managed to stay afloat for a few years? I also wonder what did happen to all that technology a
  • by wbren (682133) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @03:27PM (#15944924) Homepage
    I'll be watching a "Lost in Space" rerun and I'll see a Google "targetted" commercial saying "Lost? Need directions? Try MapQuest.com! Ads by Goooooooogle."

    Seriously, at least with the text ads you don't notice how absurd they are sometimes, but with TV ads people will just shake their heads at Google.
  • by Flying pig (925874) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @03:59PM (#15945016)
    It's us and them time.

    Some posters are groping towards what I think this is, in fact, all about. Television is currently a mass medium. It's mainly used to pump out lowest common denominator ads for LCD products. At the other end of the scale you have the hugely up-market direct mail companies that will, say, identify all the male, 30-45 bankers who just got really big annual bonuses in your catchment area, and send them your beautifully printed coffee table hardback of Ferrari pictures along with the offer of a test drive. It all derives from Lord Lever's (think Unilever)dictum "Half of what I spend on advertising is wasted, but I don't know which half." In fact, a 50% failure rate would be incredibly good in mass marketing. Google wants to commoditise targeted marketing wherever it happens, and to make targetable the marketing that is currently not targetable.

    The thing is, at what point does this tip up into evil? I think there is a fairly fine line between sending me unsolicited information about something which profiling says I will be interested in, and psychological manipulation. Even paid for information - say motoring magazines - in which one would hope to find a measure of objectivity, in practice seem to say anything that will keep the advertisers happy. I am beginning to think that the downside to the Internet and mass media is that while, in theory more information is available about everything, in practice it is harder and harder to find objective information. The signal to noise ratio is actually growing smaller.

    I'm particularly conscious of this because I have been trying to do something of an engineering nature recently. I won't bore you with the details, but as I have done my research I have gradually discovered that all the most readily available sources of information are, basically, lying for commercial reasons. In the end I got down to two sources of reasonably objective information.(I was eventually able to verify this by applying the actual engineering formulae to what they told me, which was how I know.) Neither publishes information (other than a contact address) on the net.

    I can see that very soon we are going to need a subnet - some way of basing a network on socially arranged groups of trusted people - to provide reliable information about things. We used to have one (it was called universities) but they seem now to be overly subject to commercial forces.

    • by Xiroth (917768)
      Any such network would be the target of infiltration by commercial entities - they know that most people don't trust most of what they hear, so if they could get onto a network where statements are trusted more than most in the public eye they'd jump on it for higher advertising effectiveness.
  • Put your search terms directly into the search box! Put your search terms directly into the search box! Put your search terms directly into the search box!
  • Remember the days when ads used to mention their "America Online keywords"? Now a Pontiac commercial is telling the audience to "google Pontiac [searchenginewatch.com]".
  • For a couple of years now, television advertising has seemed, to me, as something that floats along on top of a misguided platform. This is not an attack against television itself, mind, but rather one leveled against the way in which we go about "thinking about" and "viewing" television itself. So my reaction to this news is as follows: is this a good start? Sure. However, it is doomed to ultimately fail (defined by lack of adaquate scoping, which leads to a lack of "stickiness" and inability to plant

  • It was just a matter of time I suppose.

    Once that money really sinks in, things go straight to hell for the average person who now is bombarded with their marketing hype.

    Arguments over California Kings in their pimped out 767. C&D letters from their lawyers to journalists to stop using the term "google." Now here come the ads..... How soon until the "Google Rose Bowl" game is aired (which is played in Google Staduim)?"

    Oh well, business as usual.

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