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False Positives Adventures in Technology, SciFi and Culture from Toronto

Sunday, June 13, 2004

How Google Took the Work Out of Selling Advertising

VIa the The New York Times (free registration required) is a interesting article on Googles AdSense.

The article starts about how technology has changed how we measure and think about intelligence : speed and accuracy in handling numbers was a mark of intellectual distinction until the appearance of calculators. No more. And retaining facts, names, and dates still is (hence "Jeopardy"), but Google and the Internet is quickly eroding that. The article does not mention that this has been going on for a long time; Homer no doubt complained how reading and writing was destroying civilization as evidenced by the decline of 6 hour memorized poetry. And remember how Chess was the mark of "smartness", well your likely too young to remember how 40 years ago Chess playing and AI were linked together. And I'm not even going to touch spelling and spell checkers, in case my own spell checker takes offence.

The article then goes to the heart of the article; the board ways computers are changing our mode of thought and interactions in unexpected ways.

As Ebay is changing the small business - by changing the smallest business of all: the yard sale, and blogs are rewriting the rules of publishing and journalism, so to is AdSense changing the rules of Advertising and the business models that make the small scale publishing/journalism business possible. And it does so by connecting web sites with ~150,00 potential advertisers without adding sales staff, or prepare media kits. Hers the key paragraph:

Why does that matter? It completes the publishing revolution brought on by the Internet. The first stage was the liberation of the reader, who, thanks to browsers, could look at publications in any part of the world. Next was the liberation of would-be publishers. Thanks to blogging tools, anyone can present his or her views online. And now, thanks to automated ad sales, small publishers have a more viable hope of creating a business, and keeping independent voices, than they did even a year ago. A. J. Liebling's wisecrack that "freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one" takes on new meaning when technical and financial barriers to creating a Web-based press drop so low.


and to close:

"Free expression" has always been freest when it has rested on a solid business base. Technology's latest unexpected effect on culture may be to help revive a diverse exchange of views.


In a way the article title is wrong. Google's AdSense has taken the work out of "Buying" Advertising for those who sell something other the Advertising. And made Google heaps of money in the process.

Should I give Adsense a spin here?


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