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04/11/2005 Archived Entry: "Marketers still have a long way to go toward successful manipulation"

I WAS RAILING THE OTHER DAY AGAINST Google's Gmail, which scans both incoming and outgoing mail in order to target ads to Gmail users. I hate the way marketers and their enablers increasingly try to squeeze info out of us solely to better manipulate us. Gmail users sign up for that; those who correspond with them are simply being used without their consent. Ticks me off.

But I still get a kick out of knowing how pointless some of this targeting is when it's merely based on keywords, rather than real contextual analysis. I mean, how many times have you Googled something only to be presented with sponsored links that had zip to do with the info you're actually seeking? I Googled "choicepoint," "curtail," and "sales" the other day -- and Google decided I was interested in sponsored links from curtain vendors.

And I had to laugh today when I Googled on the terms "1040" and "monkeywrench" for a column I'm planning. The real search produced sensible results. But the "sponsored link" at the top was to the good old IRS. I'm sure they appreciated my business ...

Posted by Claire @ 03:27 PM CST

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