Evolving AdSense

Jun 23rd

One of Google's biggest problem is that anything they do has a large impact on the web. AdSense made it profitable to create garbage, but at the end of the day it just leads to a web full of garbage.

How does Google fix the problem they created? Some businesses will be hesitant to trust giving Google too many profit points and data points in their business model, but for Google to improve the quality of the web (and thus the quality of their index) they are going to need to evolve their contextual ad program to evolve beyond just selling clicks. Not surprisingly, Google is launching a cost per action distributed affiliate network.

By providing search, analytics, a purchasing mechanism, an affiliate program, a search offering, contextual ads, and a toolbar bundled with everything they are able to get a more pure set of data and are able to insert themselves into more pieces of the shopping cycle while making the entire market more efficient.

I also believe that Google understands that biased content is in many ways more profitable than unbiased content. By teaching many traditional publishers and authorities about conversion Google has the net effect of allowing them to trade in some of their authority for profit. As traditional authorities lose some of their brand value and trust Google's roll as a data aggregator and recommendation engine goes up since people will need to do more re(search) before trusting any entity.

I believe the net effect of search will be that it pushes a more biased and commercial web highly focused on psychographic marketing (that is where marketing is headed if Google is making markets as efficient as they can possibly be).

Many of the best business models are also atrociously inhumane. Are there any ethical guidelines to how well a search engine should automate knowing you and understanding what you want? If some of our worst ideas are reinforced and directed toward existing markets (or at least monopoly markets or markets with expensive and significant ad depth) at an early age it seems the world would become less diverse.

  • Is that a bad thing if it is also accompanied by consumers more aware of the biases of intermediaries?

  • Or how many people will think about authority related issues in commerce, life, and information consumption?
  • How do you increase global conversion rates without sacrificing the quality of the web?
  • If you were Google what would you do to improve network efficiency while also considering the hidden costs and concept of humanity that is often ignored by extremely efficient homogenized capitalism?

Fantomaster has some awe inspiring comments about the future of search and social engineering. Read them on a recent TW page starting with this one.

Published: June 23, 2006

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