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Google Ad-words Poetry Project 262

hecticjames writes "Cute idea - buying google adwords to place poetry. The site also includes google's response." The page is a really interesting look into Google's text ad service, and has a lot of interesting statistics about the relative value of art and porn. It's really worth a read.
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Google Ad-words Poetry Project

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  • Google-ku (Score:5, Funny)

    by daeley ( 126313 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @03:58PM (#3345809) Homepage
    Many Google posts
    So many are repeated
    Taco is obsessed
  • by Lynchenstein ( 559620 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @03:58PM (#3345816)
    jesus: $25.59
  • heh stats (Score:5, Funny)

    by Drath ( 50447 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:00PM (#3345825)
    I like how God is worth $10.46 a day but
    gay + sex ($2,239.56 + $3,836.79) is worth $6076.35 a day.

    I wonder what "John Lennon" is worth, he may be right about being bigger than Jesus.. heh Ah, stratification is fun!
  • by SquadBoy ( 167263 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:01PM (#3345830) Homepage Journal
    is that Google is trying to keep out spam and other forms of evil ads and only let people who want to follow some basic rules that increase the value of the ads advertise. To the folks at google thanks.

  • by mrroot ( 543673 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:02PM (#3345838)
    From Google...

    Hello. I am the automated performance monitor for Google AdWords Select. My job is to keep average clickthrough rates at a high level, so that users can consistently count on AdWords ads to help them find products and services.
    The last 1,000 ad impressions I served to your campaign(s) received fewer than five clicks. When I see results like this, I significantly reduce the rate at which I show the ads so you can make changes to improve performance.
    ( ... )
    Sincerely,
    The Google AdWords Automated Performance Monitor


    From Slashdot...

    Hello. I am the automated performance monitor for Slashdot. My job is to keep average moderation rates at a high level, so that users can consistently count on Slashdot to help them stay informed on "Stuff that matters."
    The last 20 posts you made received a score of zero or lower, and by the way I noticed most of those said something to the effect of "FP" or "Furst PoZt". When I see results like this, I significantly reduce the rate at which I show your comments so you can make changes to improve the meaningfulness of your posts.
    ( ... )
    Sincerely,
    The Slashdot Automated Performance Monitor
    • More like...

      Hello. I am the automated performance monitor for Slashdot. My job is to keep average repetition rates at a low level, so that users can consistently count on Slashdot to help them stay informed on "Stuff that matters." The last post you made, specificlly "Google Releases an API for Their Database", has already been mentioned on one or more previous Slashdot articles. When I see results like this, I significantly reduce the rate at which I show your stories so you can make changes to your reviing procedures so as to stop posting duplicate content. (...)

      Sincerely,
      The Slashdot Automated Duplication Monitor

    • More like:

      "Hello."

      "I am the automated performance monitor for Slashdot. My job is to keep average moderation rates at a high level, so that users can consistently count on Slashdot to help them stay informed on 'Stuff that matters.'

      "I noticed that at some point in the recent past you had the temerity to mod up what's known as "the post of doom" (link not provided here, of course). When I see results like this, I significantly reduce the rate at which you can modify comments so you can make changes in your behavior to improve the meaningfulness of your moderation. In your case this means that you're well and truly fucked, and will never be allowed to moderate on Slashdot again. Ever.

      "Have a nice day. Loser."

      Max
  • Googles response. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rasjani ( 97395 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:02PM (#3345839) Homepage

    "The site also includes google's response."
    Since from when, has the automatic answer based on some mathematical formula been a "response". Duh, even thou this is quite interesting, i wonder what parts the original poster did *not* read..
    • Re:Googles response. (Score:3, Informative)

      by tswinzig ( 210999 )
      Since from when, has the automatic answer based on some mathematical formula been a "response".

      Since from when of us has read a dictionary and studied the use of grammar?

      response (r-spns)

      n.

      1. The act of responding.
      2. A reply or an answer.
      3. A reaction, as that of an organism or a mechanism, to a specific stimulus.


      By the way, you can treat this as my response to your response.
    • Since from when Google chose to automate that process, leaving themselves to be represented by a computer program.
  • by joebp ( 528430 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:02PM (#3345846) Homepage
    Free love from Google costs $8,833.95. Damn, that's a hell of a lot of free love.
  • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:02PM (#3345847)
    ... Google aren't really expecting people to post stuff that isn't an ad. So the automated systems are geared towards advertisers. Of course they would be. If Google must have ads, what they want is to make 'em useful and as relevant as possible to the search.

    It strikes me as a little bit silly of the artist to complain that Google removed these ads. They were completely irrelevant and attracting no clickthroughs, and so an automated system removed them. As far as I can tell the whole thing was entirely automatic.

    How can a robot be expected to tell the difference between 'net-art', a poorly written ad, and a downright deceitful ad? It can't. Big surprise there, then...
  • Too bad the main site *requires* winxx or mac


    http://www.iterature.com/sorry.php

    • Too bad the main site *requires* winxx or mac


      Look more carefully:

      ...IE12+ or Netscape15+ on Win2008+...

      You either need a time machine, or it's a joke (admittedly a strange and non-funny one).

      • well not wuite - that's what the 'sorry' page sais - it's not what the actual web page sais - it sais: 'if (!(is.ie4up) && !(is.nav6up)) {document.location.href="sorry.php"}'. Which is not the same thing as what the page displays (actually looking at the commented out old javascript it used do exactly check for windows and mac)
    • ...you did understand the joke, right? I mean normally I wouldn't ask since it is so mind-numbingly obvious, but I see no hint of sarcasm in your post...

      If not, perhaps you should check out the requirements [iterature.com] again. Also, check out his other poetry site [unbehagen.com]. The error message is actually quite cool.

  • by crow ( 16139 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:05PM (#3345870) Homepage Journal
    One of the reasons his ad campaign faltered is that his so-called poetry sucked. Now I really liked the idea of what he was doing, but he should have come up with better silly ads. Perhaps some haiku related to the word he was buying would work well.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:06PM (#3345878)
    Google charges $3,836.79 per day for sex. Will somebody tell me what they charge for a blowjob?
  • Word Cost (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aelfwyne ( 262209 ) <lotheriusNO@SPAMaltername.net> on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:06PM (#3345879) Homepage
    So ... If I choose expensive words that show up a lot on search results, but word my ad in such a way as to keep people from clicking directly on my site, but rather to send a message to them (such as a political statement), thus keeping my click-thru's low...

    Then I get more impressions than I would have if I'd tried to have a higher click-thru, and therefore, my message gets across to more people for less cost.

    Interesting. And, I can see why google wouldn't want you to do it (it would reduce the profits from the system).
    • Exactly. You summed it up very nicely.
      Since they charge per click-thru, posting an ad with low click-thru but a lot of impressions is an (albeit clever) abuse/hack of their system.

      It's not about censorship at all, just about money. And it's further proof that the Google folks are really smart, because they have foreseen this kind of hack and already implemented prevention measures.
  • Sex=glorb? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rjnagle ( 122374 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:06PM (#3345880) Homepage
    The thing I like about those poems is their subversiveness. How often have you just ignored advertising around you and then suddenly, one anti-advertisement catches your eye? When we surf or even search, we are skimming and go through a lot of things using our peripheral visions.

    I once wrote a satirical piece that individuals would need to buy words before they could have the right to use them. So common words like pronouns and sex and friend and give would be too expensive for most people to afford, while words in other minor languages would be considerably cheaper.

    Having an auction for words would be interesting and probably add variety to self-expression. Perhaps it is a far-fetched idea, but with Hollywood and content providers placing copyright lassos over so many things, will it be only a matter of time before corporations own the rights to certain words? Also, wouldn't it result in vast new vocabularies being created with every new day? I'm sick of using the word "sex." Why not use the word "glorb" instead?

    By the way, if you want an absurdist meditation on words, buying, selling, etc, read The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster [amazon.com].

    Robert Nagle

    • Perhaps it is a far-fetched idea, but
      [...] will it be only a matter of time before corporations own the rights to certain words?

      Corporations already do, albeit in a limited domain. It's called a trademark. ;-)

    • Try searching on hentai instead.
      :)
    • Back in the days of Q-Link, when screen names were only 10 characters and there was no automatic recycling after six months, Q-Link would auction off a handful of used screen names to the highest bidder. We're only talking in the tens of dollars, but it was always interesting to see what screen names people were willing to PAY to get.
  • You could pull all sorts of little pranks like this, and at only a few cents for a few thousand views... So many opportunities :)

    One part I found amusing was that the first letter implied that they thought she was trying to sell something and maybe didn't know that her ads were confusing :) I just hope that pranks like this won't drive companies away from self service plans though...

  • Very impressive (Score:5, Informative)

    by MadFarmAnimalz ( 460972 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:08PM (#3345897) Homepage
    I know this is off-topic, but the page [iterature.com] linked [google.com] to here where I found this choice morsel from google's adwords policies:

    Links: Ad links to your website must allow people to return from your site to the results page by clicking on the browser's BACK button. These links must open in the same browser window as the ad. Links to pages that spawn pop-up windows are not allowed.

    I can't help but be impressed. And they don't go around blurting out how they protect user interests either.

    As if that wasn't enough, I did a search today for hhgtg.txt [google.com]. Try it yourself and see if you aren't impressed.

    • Re:Very impressive (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Zico ( 14255 )

      I can't help but be impressed.


      Hello, they're insuring that it's easy for people to get back to Google, so that they can hit 'em for some more ad views. There's not an ounce of altruism to this.

    • Now what would really be amazing is if a search for 42 [google.com] returned The Question :). And it looks like no one has bought the adword yet either. Anyone interested?
  • Censored? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:08PM (#3345898)
    How can anything that happened here be construed as censorship?

    AdWords are for ads, not poetry. Google has every right to maintain an advertising system that maximises advertising effectiveness and revenue.

    If Google wants to set up a system for serving targetted poetry, they will do so.
  • by flossie ( 135232 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:11PM (#3345917) Homepage
    Keyword____Clicks/Day____$/Click_______Cost/Day

    free_________5700.0_______$1.33________$7,569.23
    freedom_________5.1______$0.37____________$1.88
  • GeekWords (Score:3, Funny)

    by Rob Kaper ( 5960 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:11PM (#3345924) Homepage
    Okay, I asked if he could see how stuff like "vi/emacs/joe/word/koffice" or "gnome/kde/fvwm" or "linux/windows/bsd" would rate. Let's end all those flamewars once and for all with a pretty accurate non-scientific popularity contest.

    Help me hope he'll put it on the page. :-)
    • by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @08:11PM (#3347300) Journal
      You really want to know? I have an account:

      Keyword Matches vi
      16,300 impressions (these are per-day)
      Estimated cost per day: US$244.50

      Keyword Matches emacs
      17,200 impressions
      Estimated cost per day: US$258.00

      Keyword Matches joe
      50,400 impressions
      Estimated cost per day: US$756.00

      Keyword Matches word
      94,300 impressions
      Estimated cost per day: US$1,414.50

      Keyword Matches koffice
      200 impressions
      Estimated cost per day: US$3.00

      Keyword Matches gnome
      15,700 impressions
      Estimated cost per day: US$235.50

      Keyword Matches kde
      15,200 impressions
      Estimated cost per day: US$228.00

      Keyword Matches fvwm
      0 impressions
      Estimated cost per day: US$0.00 0 impressions

      Keyword Matches linux
      523,200 impressions
      Estimated cost per day: US$7,848.00

      Keyword Matches windows
      690,300 impressions
      Estimated cost per day: US$10,354.50
      Keyword Matches bsd
      6,900 impressions
      Estimated cost per day: US$103.50
      --------------------

      So, in summary, BSD really is dying, emacs just barely beats vi, KDE and gnome are neck and neck, and no one uses fvwm. Oh, and if you ask someone what koffice is, they will look at you funny.
      • Interesting. Of course "gnome" is also a dictionary word and KDE is not (well, in Czech it is, I believe), so it might not be as neck to neck as this implies. I think I'm gonna buy fvwm keywords and see how long I can last with $5. ;-)
  • As some uninformed person once said,
    "I may not know art, but I know what I like."

    And personally, I don't like the first "poem" listed.

    The first one says:
    Words aren't free anymore
    bicornuate-bicervical uterus
    one-eyed hemi-vagina
    www.unbehagen.com

    This is supposed to be a poem? Come on, it's childish gibberish at best, and at worst it is a verbal attack on women. And since it is is response to the keyword "symtom", what relevence is it?

    The second one says:
    Follow your dreams
    Did I just urinate ?
    Directly into the wind
    www.unbehagen.com

    Again, childish drivel, in response to the keyword "dream".

    the third one actually is redeeming:
    mary !!!
    I love you
    come back
    john

    While not great literature, very emotive. In response to "mary", by the way.

    And the last:
    don't ever do that again
    aaargh !
    are you mad ?
    ooops !!!

    This one is in response to the keyword "money". so while it isn't as tasteless as the first two, what relevence does it have?

    While I do support artistic expression, even the ones I find offensive or dimwitted, I also support the right of companies to limit their services as they see fit. If Google decides that these "poems" are offensive to their normal audience, they have the right to stop them. At least suspend them pending further review, and possibly see where the artist is going with it.

    If these "poems" (I can't even legitimately call them poems, so yes the quotes are needed.) contained racist comments, they would be pulled in the same way. Since a large number of people may find at least the first two offensive, Google can pull them if they like, or if their legal advisors deem it appropriate.

    I haven't read the whole page, just the top part, so I don't know where the porn ties into it, but this doesn't seem as big a deal as the submitter makes it out to be. If I searched for "dream" and got a link about peeing into the wind, I wouldn't be to impressed with the service.

    • at worst it is a verbal attack on women

      Because it uses the names of portions of the female anatomy? If I said "paw" and "muzzle", would you consider that a possible attack on dogs?

      I'm not saying I like the work, but what the hell...

  • Haiku (Score:5, Funny)

    by gnovos ( 447128 ) <(gnovos) (at) (chipped.net)> on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:14PM (#3345949) Homepage Journal
    Creative poet,
    writes poor quality poems.
    Google dissaproves.
    • Exactly... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Alkaiser ( 114022 )
      How the hell were any of those snippets considered "poetry"?! I'll let haiku go because it has a highly restricted form, but it ain't a poem if it doesn't rhyme...you're just not trying at that point. I mean, heck most poetry is just BS anyway...if you're not going to even try to make it rhyme, I'll just read the nutritional info on my cereal box.

      Modern art is bull.

      "Artists", formerly called

      "Strange mental patients". =)
      • Actually, something can be a poem if it doesn't rhyme, but it almost always has to have something else going for it.

        For example, a poem can not rhyme but follow a set beat pattern. (Like a limerick that doesn't rhyme.) Other examples could be a common starting sound (starting each line with a sound as opposed to vice versa, sort of like allieration) or trying to envoke a sound via words (onomatopoeia).

        In any case, a poem need not rhyme. The only thing poems usually have are set lines that don't necessarily match sentences.

        Anyway, I'm not a poet or an English major or anything like that, so check out About.com's section on poetry writing [about.com] for various styles of poetry, not all of which involve rhyming. (Although most styles do.)

  • by tswinzig ( 210999 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:16PM (#3345966) Journal
    The main rules of this new world are not ethic rules. As you can read in the emails I received, my happening has been censored by Google not for moral reasons but for economic ones.

    Google provides their adword service so that related topics can be displayed next to real live search results. Making sure the ads returned are related to the search performed makes sense for google, its users, and its adword advertisers.

    This guy wants to force unrelated poetry into your view instead. As a result, no one was clicking on his adword because it wasn't related to their search, and google's automatic ranking system lowered his ads due to the very low click-through rate. The guy could keep his ads on google, they just would very rarely be displayed due to their not being related to the searches.

    A self-correcting system that makes sense.

    Google rules.

    I don't agree with the reasons why I was censored. I believe that the censorship rules of Google are not in accordance with the power and the importance of the tool they have created.

    But it's NOT censorship! (Even ignoring for a moment that 'censorship' is really only when THE GOVERNMENT prevents you from saying something, not a PRIVATE COMPANY!)

    Such a tool should be used more freely and should be self-regulated.

    How the fuck could google be "self-regulated," since mySELF doesn't have control over google?

    They are a private company, not your personal tool for serving poetry.
    • They are a private company, not your personal tool for serving poetry.


      I agree. Imagine if this was a common and popular thing to do. You run a search, and come up with a whole bunch of irrelevant crap. Yeah, maybe it's fun when there's just one ad and you didn't expect it. But it would quickly be a major nuisance, and would make Google a worse site as a result.

      Maybe if I search for "poetry" or "happenings" or something along those lines, then poetry like that could come up. That is fine, as I am actually looking for poetry.

      mark
    • Even ignoring for a moment that 'censorship' is really only when THE GOVERNMENT prevents you from saying something, not a PRIVATE COMPANY!

      Look it up in a dictionary before you say something like this.

      American Heritage Dictionary, 4'th Ed.:
      censorship -- The act, process, or practice of censoring.
      censor -- To examine and expurgate.

      In fact, all of the dictionaries on dictionary.com have governmental review as an aside or example only. The act of censorship may be undertaken by any individual or entity with the power to halt publication - not just the government.

      • The act of censorship may be undertaken by any individual or entity with the power to halt publication - not just the government.

        This is the typical response from someone who doesn't really understand the word "censorship."

        Unless the government is doing the censoring, you will always have many ways to publish your opinion. Just because e.g. the editor of Time magazine decides not to print your message doesn't mean you've been CENSORED!
    • Actually it is censorship. That doesn't make it evil, neccessarily. It doesn't matter who (or what) is doing the censoring, it's still censorship. If I cross out all of the pictures of ducks from my child's books, that's still censorship.

      So, in this case, it doesn't matter what justification there is for what google is doing, or even if it is automated. It is still correct to refer to what happened as censorship.
      • Actually it is censorship.

        Actually it isn't. This guy's poetry is still viewable on his webserver, or any other place he chooses to post it. Only the government has the power to truly censor your opinions. And they can do this through the threat of force. Google can not use the threat of force, AFAIK.
        • OK, this is getting kind of pedantic now, but whether or not his poetry is still viewable or who it is that is doing the censoring it irrelevant. I hate it when people quote dictionary definitions at me, but since this is really an argument about the meaning of a word I think it's appropriate:

          tr.v. censored, censoring, censors To examine and expurgate.

          (That's from the American Heritage Dictionary. The definition from Webster's Collegiate Dictionary is: to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable).

          Censorship is defined as:

          1. The act, process, or practice of censoring.

          Note that the entity performing the censorship is not relevant to the definition, nor is the potential use of force. Now, censorship by a private entity may not be as objectionable as censorship by a government entity, but it's still censorship.

          This concludes my participation in this thread.
    • Many (American) people believe that because the First Amendment only restricts Government censorship then there is no such thing as 'private censorship'. They're wrong. 'Censorship' by a private company remains censorship, it just isn't unconstitutional...

      As various posters have pointed out, the word censor basically means something along the lines of: 'to examine books etc for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political or other grounds'.

      Thus, if in my ISP's chatroom, I criticise the company and its level of service, and that company deliberately deletes my posts, then I have been censored.

      The fact that this is probably entirely lawful under my terms of service does not alter the fact that it is censorship.

      The fact that this is not absolute (I can repost my comments elsewhere) does not alter the fact that it is censorship. (Censorship is almost never absolute. Texts censored by the Soviet Union would still pop up, printed and distributed illegally.)

      This has been a brief digression on the subject of private censorship. I make no comment on the google-adwords thing (because I can't access the freakin' website as it's been slashdotted (but not censored)).

      Nick

  • Yes, he's so bloody witty, in how he tries to intentionally ruin a good search engine.

    Think I'm joking? His own words describe it:

    In addition, I like imagining that somebody looking for something is suddenly projected into a completely different area. You look for "virgin Mary" and you end up on a site about symptoms and net art !

    Well, tough for you. The site is a tool for searching, not for your grandstanding at their expense.
  • free 5700.0 $1.33 $7,569.23
    freedom 5.1 $0.37 $1.88

    Which just goes to show the problems with the whole "open software" movement. People actually care about what is gratis not vrij.

    I.e. They do not care about the freedom of things, just the prive of things. :-(

    • Ahh, it would take a geek to think this :) (don't feel bad, my initial reaction was the same)

      I am sure most commonly phrase in regards to the word "free" is likely to be "free sex," not "free software."

      Have to think like a regular person for a minute to see that one :)

      Free sex better than free software? I dunno, that O(1) scheduler is pretty sexy...
  • a few comments (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jd142 ( 129673 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:23PM (#3346009) Homepage
    The thing that strikes me most is how different this is from advertising on tv and radio. On tv, the ad rate is based on how many people watch the show, what its rating is. An ad during a popular prime-time show costs more money than an ad at 3 in the morning. But the tv companies don't care what you put in your ad. They are selling you one shot at reaching your audience. If you blow it, they don't care. They only time they care is if you try to show something like an ad from adbusters that might actually suggest that people not spend money they don't have on crap they don't need. But if you want to be silly, so what?

    Because google gets paid not by the number of people that see the ad but by the number of people that follow it, their concern is with getting people to click the ad.

    If google were to sell ads like tv (and who is to say they shouldn't), they would charge based on the number of searches you want to be linked to. If there are 1,000,000 searches on "soda pop" a day, then charge every one who wants an ad to show up then $100, and it is up to you to make your ad work within their guidelines.

    In some ways, this makes more sense. Within the rules for google's text ads, why should they take the risk that your marketing drones can get out a decent ad. Because that is the risk they are assuming now. And that's why there is this automated system that checks click throughs.

    From a business perspective, you want to accept as little risk as possible, especially for things you can't control.

    The flip side of this coin is that google doesn't want the value of their ads to drop. No one who has been on the net for more than 5 minutes pays attention to the hit the monkey ads or the ads that rotate around slashdot. Why? Because they are often random and have little relationship to the page we are visiting or the reason for our visit. At least that's how it seems to me. I certainly don't visit /. to find news about InterSystems. But people who visit google are there looking for something.

    So maybe google wants to make sure that the ads are relevant because it doesn't want to accept the risk that its ads will considered worthless, thus dropping the price they can charge for them.

    Again, this is the reverse of the way it works on tv. Advertisers will drop a show because they don't want to be associated with its message. Look at the companies that pulled advertisements from Ellen because she came out. But when was the last time you heard of a show not accepting a willing advertiser with cash money? Besides the adbuster ads of course.

    With google, we get the reverse. It's like having UPN saying no ads for depends diapers during Buffy:TVS because the ads are unrelated to the show and the ads will cause the value of the show to drop. They don't care if you think that a lot of young people will rush out and buy depends. As long as your check clears.

    Is it right? FIIK. It's a balancing act between losing your good name and generating revenue efficiently.
    • "Because google gets paid not by the number of people that see the ad but by the number of people that follow it, their concern is with getting people to click the ad."

      Using click-throughs as a metric has been debunked over and over and over and over. It's not about having people click links, it's about getting a message across to your target audience. When I see a Pesi commercial on TV, I don't run out to buy more. But I might think, "yea -- Pepsi is good" (depending on the content -- I don't like Britney :p).

      Click throughs ignore people who see an ad and check into it later, people who feel better about consuming what the ad is promoting and will also consume more later, and much more.

      Don't push clickthroughs as a metric. That dilutes your ad promotion power to first time and curious people. Those people aren't a solid return customer metric upon which to base any sort of business.
      • Using click-throughs as a metric has been debunked over and over and over and over.

        That may very well be. But I'm going by the article's statements and the letter that the article quoted from google. If you read the article, you may remember this quote from a letter sent to the author by google:


        "Hello.
        I am the automated performance monitor for Google AdWords Select. My job is to keep average clickthrough rates at a high level, so that users can consistently count on AdWords ads to help them find products and services.
        The last 1,000 ad impressions I served to your campaign(s) received fewer than five clicks. When I see results like this, I significantly reduce the rate at which I show the ads so you can make changes to improve performance.
        ( ... )
        Sincerely,
        The Google AdWords Automated Performance Monitor" i>


        And from the article itself: Prices are determined according to the number of search requests and an average Cost-Per-Click.


        Now I may be insane. And google may be insane. The author of the article may have completely lied about the contents of the letter he received. But I'm responding to what the article said.


        And in fact, that's partly my point. Click throughs may not be the best way for google to charge. Why not charge by the number of times your ad is displayed? They certainly have the technology to do that. My theory, based on the letter the author received from google, is that google uses click throughs to guage how appropriate the ad is to the search the user conducted. The type of ads, I think, that google wants are those ads that are informative and answer the users question. In otherwords, useful ads. Do you remember the old Obsession cologne ads or Barney's Plow King commercial that parodied them? That commercial grabbed your attention. It made you remeber the product. But if you want to know about cologne or you want to know about getting your drive plowed, they are useless. On the other hand, check out a car commercial. On most of them you'll learn the warranty, the features, and maybe even the mpg. That's an informative ad if you are in the market for a car. I believe that what google wants are ads that are more like car commercials, informative, and less like Barney's Plow King commercial.


        As for click throughs, they may not be the best metric for web ads. The best metric would be far too intrusive. There would be a way to track what ads you saw and then what products you purchased in the next month. Since that information would be linked to me specifically, or at least my computer, I would find that very intrusive. As it is now, Pepsi has to put out a new ad, let's say Britney and Christina Aguilera singing a duet. This commercial tells you nothing about Pepsi except it is a drink. But if sales go up in the next month, then Pepsi can hypothesize that perhaps the B/C duet helped sales. Or simply a new campaign re-invigorated the drink, like slapping a #1 on a comic to temprorarily boost sales. Neilsen ratings can tell us that 15 million people were watching the show the ad appeared in. What I kind of suggested in my original post was that google could use the number of searches, say 20 million searches for "used cars" as a way of getting a rating for the ad. That leaves the job for the ads success on the marketing department of the company placing the ad. Which was what I suggested.


        I'll say it again. The reason I think they don't do that is not necessarily because they think the clickthroughs are a good metric (a metric for what, exactly?) but because they think clickthroughs are a way to tell how informative an ad is.


        An example: let's say you search for "snow removal rates". You see two ads: Barney's which is in black and white, has a globe breaking while a woman sings. Homer's has the Mr. Plow logo, a phone number and the fact that he is licensed and bonded (yes, I know he really wasn't, please play along). The theory I think google is working under is that give a choice, people will click the ad that they think will lead them to the answer they want. And that is probably a reasonable assumption. Unless you are bored, if you want information you are probably more likely to follow the link that will get you that information. And google wants to have ads that are useful and will give you what you want. So from their perspective, they think clickthroughs are a good metric for measuring people's attitudes abot the usefulness of a link.


        And this is probably getting longer than the attention span of most slashdot readers, so I'll stop with a summary: Read the article, because your response seems to indicate you didn't. I think google wants useful ads, and they measure usefulness by the amount of clicks an ad gets under the assumption that people click links they think will lead them to the information they want.


        Oh, yeah, and don't forget call Mr. Plow, that's my name, that name again is Mr. Plow. ;)

      • If you are doing a branding campaign to associate Pepsi with good stuff, in such a way that I will buby Pepsi the next time I visit the store, you are correct.

        But if I buy ads for my creativesdates.tv [creativedates.tv] online dating site, the only thing that matters is how many people will click on it. I don't expect them to remember the URL from session to session. I just expect them to click.

        It's fundementally the difference between direct response marketing and regular TV ads. With direct response marketing, the percentage who answered the ad is the result. Period.

        And I think that's true of most online advertising , too.

        D

    • So maybe google wants to make sure that the ads are relevant because it doesn't want to accept the risk that its ads will considered worthless, thus dropping the price they can charge for them.

      And maybe it's even simpler. They charge per click-thru. Higher click-thru == more money. Of course they have an interest to keep the click-thru rate high.

      I would say that the conclusion "higher click-thru rate" == higher search relevance is debatable (if not false), so it's not necessarily an incentive for Google. But the money certainly is and they can place only so many ads on a page (only the first results page really counts). It makes a lot of sense to just keep the ads that generate a minimum of cash.

  • by Da Schmiz ( 300867 ) <slashdot@@@pryden...net> on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:25PM (#3346019) Homepage
    The most interesting thing in the article (IMHO) was this quote:
    Right now, we may not realize the importance of this fact because the web is not such a big part of our existence. But imagine the day when a search engine will rule the whole textual content of the web, in which the memory of mankind will be stored.Think of the power in their hands.
    What would happen if Google became a search engine monopoly, able to influence what content was seen and what was missed?

    What if Microsoft bought Google? Or, a scarier thought: What if Google became the next Evil Empire?

  • Purple Cow (Score:3, Funny)

    by finny ( 107762 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:26PM (#3346026)
    I never saw her Google Ads;
    I never hope to see Any;
    But I can Tell you, Anyhow,
    Her poetry's not worth a penny.
  • this post costs $1.85 per click. These are the most popular words, apparently.
    • looking at the table some more, the other popular (that is, expensive) words are gay, lesbian, anal, and self. I don't even want to attempt to put them into above sentence. Britney Spears, however, appears to quite cheap...
  • From the adwords page [google.com]:

    Relevancy: To ensure user interest and advertising success, all of your keywords must be relevant to your site or products. Furthermore, if you advertise a product or offer, you must link directly to the page on your site with that product or offer.
  • My Experience (Score:3, Informative)

    by DataSquid ( 33187 ) <DataSquid@datasquid.net> on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:33PM (#3346082) Homepage
    I noticed this new 'pay for click' advertising format on Google during the whole Xenu.net thing and decided to give it a try. I figured it would maximize my exposure while keeping my costs low. It was basically nonesense ads to my personal website targeted to words like 'stupid, lazy, engineer, engineering, waterloo' and the like. No one would click I figured, and I'd get a vew thousand views before I got my campain canned.

    That's exactly what happened. My click-thru rate was too low and my ads stopped displaying. Never noticed that CTR clause when I was signing up, I figured I'd have a longer free ride. I still think it was a fun way to spend $5, (well, $5.70 with the price of all those clicks I got) and there's no one I'd rather give it to than Google.

    It's a shame about the CTR limit, it would be nice to have accessable, effective advertising like this. The cost of 'important' words is deterrent enough for joyriders like me.
    • You could actually set a budget per day, so you could get a little exposure on the "important" words, until too many people clicked and the cash you budgetted ran out.

      Tim
  • This could get entertaining:

    If google [google.com] were to add an interface to the cost-querying logic to the new Google APIs [google.com], not only would it likely end up on /. (the gods are right, must be Google time for the Taco); but, it might be entertaining to build a cost-calculating dictionary (rolling queries and freshness to stay below the access limit) that would show the cost of any given word in the lexicon.

    Useless, most likely, but definitely entertaining. Plus *grins* then from the usage statistics, you see the meta-data answering the following question: What words do people wonder about the value of

  • disable javascript.

    It's used by that annoying redirect to /dev/null that he created.

  • My favorite part of his web page...

    The price of words : towards a generalized semantic capitalism


    Man, I want 0.25 of an ounce of what this guy's been smoking.

    Still, I suppose it takes all types. I'm a mathematician, and while I think this guy's language is full of BS, anyone who isn't in mathematics reading one of my papers would probably feel the same about my writing.

  • by LionKimbro ( 200000 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @06:29PM (#3346839) Homepage

    Over at Kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org], the site is pretty much paid for by user placed ads.

    The difference between user text ads and corporate ads is amazing. There is a lot of fun in the top-left corner of the screen, where the ads sit. You can also comment on most ads (there is an option to prohibit commenting, but it is rarely used), as if they were stories.

    We Kuro5hin-ers are quite happy with our ad system.

  • I can't remember what I was looking up when I saw this ad [wiw.org], but it was something benign. Now, I am not shitting you, that's what came up on my screen. It went to this webpage [angelfire.com], which I'm surprised is still up.

    It made me wonder whether we're becoming a self-appointed nation of commandos, or whether that was someone with simply way too much time and money on his hands.
  • According to the stats midway through the article, Bruno (presumably Rennisance philosopher Giordano Bruno [rice.edu]) is searched for on Google more often than either Einstein or Freud. Now, I'm a bit fond of Il Nolano myself, but I rather thought he was rather obscure to people who haven't read Aegypt or Finnegan's Wake.

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