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Google to Transform Television Advertising? 221

Posted by Zonk
from the no-less-plausible-than-anything-else dept.
Brad Zink writes "According to Robert X. Cringely, Google is poised to enter into the world of television advertising. This would usher in a new era for the venerable medium, creating a tidal wave of revenue for the networks, while solidifying Google's position in the advertising industry. Cringely develops this prediction based on his belief that Google is developing a network of data centers to be placed around the globe, which would be used to serve television commercials in addition to its current online content."
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Google to Transform Television Advertising?

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  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:16PM (#14409547) Homepage Journal
    I was working on some scotch theory with a very good friend about 6 months ago -- we were both in a very short lived video production business ages ago. I had recently considered adapting Google to television in a very unique way and wanted his input.

    My thought was to take television's closed captioning text and IMDB show data and run it through Google's "I'm feeling lucky" API in real time. Eventually you could have really cool "pop up" information program running that can give you pop up information correlated to what is happening on screen. Software running on a Media Center PC (or a Tivo?) could give you real time information on actors and what they're talking about. Imagine watching ER, wondering about a disease or illness they're talking about, and instantly having that information pop up without anything but a button click (if even that). Remember VH1's Pop Up Video?

    As the conversation moved forward, we realized the real power of bringing Google to TV is advertising -- bringing ads to the web (more than just a GIF or SWF) and bringing web ads to the television -- contextual of course. Hours passed and the ideas that moved through the conversation seemed revolutionary (until we realized that Brin is a billionaire and we, well, aren't). Google certainly has the most powerful contextual algorithms in the market (although Yahoo is quickly catching up). Google's use of gmail and possibly AOL e-mails and IMs to aggregate even MORE user data (not just contextually but also within a physical region) will definitely give them more specific insight into a user's needs based on more than just what they browse.

    The number one complaint I hear on why people use Tivo (or ThePirateBay as it seems to be lately) is that advertising sucks -- it is unimportant, too generalized and the same thing over and over. During our conversation half a year ago I made mention of how I'd love to see old commercials for current products -- the old Coke commercials are priceless (and comical) and there is NO reason why Google couldn't offer to bring back this and more. Instead of the same 40 ads in rotation, they have over 60 years or so of advertising they could bring back (some pre-TV movie theatre advertising) and stick in rotation, especially if the company is more logo-centric than actual product-minded.

    I just signed on to Akimbo [akimbo.com] (need to set it up on my MCE box) and wonder how long it will be before these guys connect with Google. Tivo, Akimbo and MCE are programmable set top boxes just waiting to be utilized by Google. As even video game systems become more of a set-top programming station rather than a specific use peripheral, Google has an opportunity to really jump on everyone's hardware rather than design and sell their own. "Designed for Google!" could be the new sticker on every consumer device.

    The conversation finished up (as far as I remember, I wish I recorded these nights of single malt drinking!) with us discussing things that Google might not even have put much weight in at the time -- SMS, VoIP, WAP searches and other data to be aggregated and utilized. If Google offers free VoIP, what prevents them from anonymously and generically aggregating your phone call keywords? If you're using Google SMS searches from your GPS-enabled phone, what prevents them from offering advertising to a local business (other than the one you're searching for). Taking all that information into their data centers and using their complex heuristic analysis gives them an awesome amount of information that advertisers could only have dreamed of 10 years ago. Being able to match price to need is also a big deal -- imagine what car dealers would offer Google for a local car buyer searching for a deal or how Google could knock around the realty market? Not exactly topical in terms of television advertising, maybe, but Google + Advertising can change how we define "on demand programming" nonetheless. Tomorrow's TV could just be today's BitTorrent with the Go
    • by edalytical (671270) on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:38PM (#14409719)
      My thought was to take television's closed captioning text and IMDB show data and run it through Google's "I'm feeling lucky" API in real time. Eventually you could have really cool "pop up" information program running that can give you pop up information correlated to what is happening on screen. Software running on a Media Center PC (or a Tivo?) could give you real time information on actors and what they're talking about. Imagine watching ER, wondering about a disease or illness they're talking about, and instantly having that information pop up without anything but a button click (if even that). Remember VH1's Pop Up Video?
      There should be a joke here about ADD. But I can't think of one.
    • by tdemark (512406) on Friday January 06, 2006 @01:06PM (#14409931) Homepage
      The number one complaint I hear on why people use Tivo (or ThePirateBay as it seems to be lately) is that advertising sucks -- it is unimportant, too generalized and the same thing over and over.

      Let's say you watch 2 hours of TV each night. During that time, you will view at least 32 minutes of ads. Do you honestly think relevance has anything to do with why many people are disgusted with ads?

      In theory, personalized ads could fix this. If each ad slot cost more because it was targetted, you could get away with fewer ads. However, do you honestly see the TV execs reducing the number of ads to stay at the same revenue point? No, they will keep the number of ads the same in the hope of earning more. Thus, with "Advertising 2.0", we're in the exact same spot we are now, except our privacy has been sold to whoever wants to pay.

      - Tony
      • Thus, with "Advertising 2.0", we're in the exact same spot we are now, except our privacy has been sold to whoever wants to pay.

        I completely agree with the beginning, and disagree with the end result. In time, I believe we'll see a combination of cable+tivo+akimbo+itunes offering for everyone in every situation: TV at home, cell phone, laptop on the go, etc.

        If you want free content, you'll have to give up your privacy -- that is how you pay for it. You don't have the time to tell advertisers who you are s
        • Honestly, I wouldn't mind watching advertisements if there were less of them and they advertised stuff I would possibly buy. Stuff I would buy doesn't include tampons and new cars. It does include books, roleplaying games, video games, some movies, and stuff like that.
          Also, if the cost of distributing your advertisement only to the people who would potentially buy it, like only advertising "feminin products" to women, only advertising new cars to people with a record of buying new cars every so often, and o
          • Makes me wonder why so many people in college continue to get "marketing" degrees and then graduate knowing only what was strong in the 90s. I wonder how many marketing degrees today the future (theories and realities) of business marketing.
            • I have to agree with you here. Marketing now does not mean putting together pretty pictures with bland words in an attempt to make people buy your stuff. A few people with half a clue are at least making interesting or funny commercials that don't necessarily influence your purchasing decision, but entertain you enough so you don't change the channel.

              With information being as available as it is today I think the modern marketer needs to realize that their new role will be to understand what it is certain p
          • Maybe you wouldn't be exposed to tampon advertising if you cut down on the Sex in the City and Young and the Restless ... Try watching UFC ...

            Actually Cringly oversteps his intelligence when he says "imagine if everyone watching "American Idol" only saw ads for things they might really buy?"

            Television advertising is about creating a market for a new product ... and advertisers DO get to target their message to specific groups of people (target demographics). Who watches American Idol? .. a lot of people, bu
          • Also, if the cost of distributing your advertisement only to the people who would potentially buy it, like only advertising "feminin products" to women, only advertising new cars to people with a record of buying new cars every so often, and only advertising Nintendo DS games to people with Nintendo DSes (like me), everybody would win.

            While I agree with keeping the "feminin products" ads for the women, I disagree with your other two examples. There's really two parts to successful advertising -- the firs

      • I agree. Broadcast TV is overdue for a shakeout. The current "deal" is simply a bad one, life is too short to put up with the crap. Even with a *very* modest value for your free time, buying a well-equipped mythbox and save an hour a day is a fantastic deal, even if you ignore the annoyance-factor of ads.

        Even if you value your wake freetime at only say $5/hour, that's still over 1500$ a year saved, assuming only a single person uses and watches the mythbox. For a couple, like me and my wife, the thing is

      • Not necessarily. As you say, a lot of consumers are currently disgusted with the amount of advertising they're inundated with.

        Personalized ads could stand to change the max point on the revenue curve - if you can make the same amount of money with less ads, and attract more consumers to your content *because* there are less ads, there's a net gain for the content provider. It's possible that you'd drive away more consumers by having more than two or three ads than you could hope to make up for by charging f
      • No company EVER wants to lower their margins. They ONLY reason they do it is because competition in a free market forces them to. All hail free markets!
        -russ
        • They ONLY reason they do it is because competition in a free market forces them to

          Except when, you know, companies join forces to form price-fixing schemes and don't get caught for years on end (*mumble CDs mumble*) perhaps because regulatory agencies aren't controlled by free markets as well. (Bounty hunters on the other hand...)

          All hail free markets with no cojones whatsoever!

          "everyone's a libertarian until a crack house moves in next door"

    • The strength of online advertising is that it is based on the site you are visiting AND the profile that Google has about you on its servers. Using those two things has let then aim ads so well that they can severely kick the ass of all previous methods even without eye catching banners.

      With TV you have the same thing with the first part of that. Meaning that an advertiser knows what show you are watching. However, what has always been missing is the second part...what are you watching over time, what
      • Actually I think Google's game plan is going of nicely.

        Google is attempting to position themselves as a credible information broker. First they created a search engine that many people regard as being the best available for general purpose use. This gives them a userbase that will most likely accept them when they slowly change their role of information provider to broker.

        The people who might not go along are kept happy with the unending flow of free services Google keeps releasing.

        Now, as a service providi
    • To be honest, the reason why we got an HDPVR this Christmas (and we don't have an HD TV!) was largely based on being able to set a show to record, and then watching the show 15 minutes late and still finishing on time. I'm not sure where I'm even going to notice Google's ads - the remote control has a convenient "skip" button that instantly skips 30 seconds. A few hits to the skip button, and I'm watching my show again.

      I can see where Google will make money on this. But I'm hoping not to see any of it.

    • the old Coke commercials are priceless (and comical)

      Surely you mean the old MasterCard commercials?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:17PM (#14409549)
    When it comes to google I find that advertising isn't a problem. Google aren't weren't "in your face intrusive" and I feel fine having them there, it's the ones that pop up, make loud noises or drain my CPU which are the ones I hate.

    I think when it comes to advertising, Google can somehow pull it off.
    • Problem is, broadcasters will never going to use this to replace commercials, but in addition to them. Most likely the same pop-up way they use to showcase their own programs on the bottom of the screen right after a break. More advertising is always unwanted, but as long as you're willing to wait a year or so until the DVD season comes out, you're set.
      • More advertising is always unwanted, but as long as you're willing to wait a year or so until the DVD season comes out, you're set.

        Until the little pop-up ads start showing up in the DVDs.

      • A targeted ad will have better return per viewing than a broadcast ad. Furthermore, a targeted ad can be more detailed and specific, not the usual brand awareness pablum which can't say much at all useful. Why would anyone voluntarily choose to pay, say, ten times more for an ad which generates harly any more revenue?
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:19PM (#14409562)
    ".... knowing that Google will still be the only game in town for the crux of the whole thing: the ability to show every viewer the specific ads that companies will pay the most to show him at that specific moment. What Google wants to do with these trailers is SERVE EVERY TV COMMERCIAL ON THE PLANET because only they will be able to do it efficiently. Only they will have the database that converts those IP addresses into sales leads, only they will have the servers and disk space close enough to the viewers to feed the ads. Only Google will have the chops to run a constant, real-time auction for the next ad every consumer is about to see, and then serve that ad at the moment the program goes to commercial."

    So you really want that Viagra/Valtrex/Cialis/Levitra ad to always be showing up when your new girlfriend is watching TV with you?
    I would think not.
    • So, you could manipulate your searches and email to manipulate your commercials to manipulate your new girlfriend? The only flaw in this is having to know what women want. Maybe Google knows. I'll ask.
  • But... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by codeTurtle (942468) <gemmaturtle@gmaBLUEil.com minus berry> on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:21PM (#14409578) Homepage
    This could be an interesting idea, but Google's advertising model doesn't translate so well to television. How would you go about compartmentalising viewers into groups, and serving the relevant ad? Sure, you could go on household viewing stats, but that might require extra hardware to get to; and I'm sure some people would object.

    Also, it can't be as simple as the article suggests - when you have someone going to Google.com, you can be fairly sure there is one person (usually) behind the monitor. Many many more in front of the TV. How do you weight your targeting?

    I just can't see how this would practically work.
    • As a man (Score:4, Funny)

      by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:23PM (#14409595)
      I, for one, welcome our new Monostad 7 ad-serving overlords.
    • Re:But... (Score:2, Insightful)

      Easy, lets just put cameras on the TV so that they can see whos watching and how many.....

      1984 is NOT 22 years ago. Its 2 years from now. :P
    • Re:But... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by slo_learner (729232)
      I just can't see how this would practically work.

      Which is why they are google and you are not.
    • It's very simple, actually. They already index closed captioning. The adsense can be based on that content. It may not feature location-based ads, but content-based is really quite easy with what they have today.

      Plus consider closed captioning already exists for local commercials. If they were to use that for keywords some ads could certainly be location-based.
    • Actually, assuming you were using a dedicated TV, they could do a pretty good job of narrowing demographics simply based on (a) viewing habits, and (b) click-through (assuming such a facility were built into television); but this strategy is really predicated on your using an all-in-one computer / web browser / DVR / TV / Stereo ... stealing information from your web browser and/or inbox to figure out what ads to show you while technically feasible would obviously run into legal / ethical / PR issues.
    • I think the key to this working is looking at the recent partnerships between video.google.com and CBS, ABC, and the NBA. They can target you if your downloading or streaming the video's from their systems. They can profile your location, what other shows you watched, what ads you clicked on, etc. Seems to me that the combination of Cable boxes that use the Internet for updates (vs the phone lines the old ones used) and Digital broadcast TV, and a new wave of "tivo" type set top boxes might just start a
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...are they going to be text-only adverts, or do we have to put up with some animated Flash-style nonsense on our screens?
  • AdSenseTV, anyone? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RavenDarkholme (27245) * on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:23PM (#14409593)
    I find this particularly interesting (from TFA):

    No, Google will cut a deal with every network to customize their ad spots for every viewer. For a small cut of their ad revenues, Google will handle all customization costs, hardware and software. The networks will all go along because the customized ads will be so much more profitable that it would make no sense for any network to refuse.

    Sure, it's just a "what if," but if Google hasn't thought of this already, they should. It's a nearly perfect extrapolation from AdSense: contextual advertising for television.

    If they could also get in bed with the media metrics folks, like Nielsen, they'll be able to tie in the demographic information and, like Cringely supposes, only show Alzheimers drug ads to seniors and their children, and only show beer ads to people over 21.

    If Google does go in this direction, I can only hope that ads will be rotated in the manner of AdWords ads. I.E: Only the ads that interest people will be shown, or shown more often. I love to watch well-done commercials, and most of them are so poorly scripted that they A) don't convince me to buy and B) are just plain boring.

    I don't know that this is going to happen, or if it's even feasible, but it sure is fun to think about.
    • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot&keirstead,org> on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:40PM (#14409736) Homepage

      If they could also get in bed with the media metrics folks, like Nielsen, they'll be able to tie in the demographic information

      If Google went into this space, they would almost instantly put Neilsen out of business.

      Neilsen familys need to volenterr, and be paid. Google can give *actual real* dmeographic infromatio, because they already know where you live (from the cable company), and what you are interested in (from Google searches), and who you talk to (from GTalk/GMail).

      Neilsen can only dream of the kind of demographics Google could extrapolate. Google would mak ethe Neilsen ratings obsolete, because after all, it doesn't necessarily matter if a TV show is being viewed by a lot of people, what matters is if the ads being shown in it key into the demographic enough that the show is profitable. Google can *ensure* that, all Neilsen can do is make educated guesses based on the surveys it sends it families.

      • Neilsen familys need to volenterr, and be paid. Google can give *actual real* dmeographic infromatio, because they already know where you live (from the cable company), and what you are interested in (from Google searches), and who you talk to (from GTalk/GMail).

        All good points. However, Neilsen already has sort of an "in" with TV demographics, and almost everyone knows of "Neilsen ratings," so you've got a brand awareness there. People who make TV have been conditioned to take Neilsen ratings as gospel. Pe
      • after all, it doesn't necessarily matter if a TV show is being viewed by a lot of people, what matters is if the ads being shown in it key into the demographic enough that the show is profitable.

        This opens up interesting possibilities for indie TV show development. That alone might make this whole and distasteful notion of targted marketing tolerable.
      • Neilsen familys need to volenterr, and

        Google can give *actual real* dmeographic infromatio, because

        Google would mak ethe Neilsen ratings obsolete

        Dude, did you type this on a blackberry while skiing?
  • by FalconZero (607567) * <FalconZero@nOSpAM.Gmail.com> on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:23PM (#14409596)
    Hot in the heels of Google's entrances into the markets of TV advertising, PC production, and other 'secret' markets, Minor news agencies are announcing Google's intention to begin international fruit sales. One excited googler said "This is complete rubbish, I wish people would stop all this wild speculation.", his denail further confirming our suspicions.
  • by pieterh (196118) on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:25PM (#14409608) Homepage
    The Big Thing for 2006 is TV on demand, downloaded via some p2p technology.

    Take a look at the top downloads on a site like Piratebay and you'll see that they are all TV episodes.

    What Google is probably lining up to do is to compete against Apple, who are moving into the same market.

    Google are betting that they can deliver TV episodes for free, with advertising. Apple are betting they can sell TV episodes with no advertising. Microsoft are trying to make it all happen through the XBox.

    This is why Google's been buying dark fibre. This is why Google is buying into AOL, for access to TW shows. This is what will drive the next generation of portable gadgets.

    Yes, the Internet and P2P is finally going to transform TV into something that actually produces good entertainment, and will one day turn around and redefine the movie industry as well.
    • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:32PM (#14409666)
      Google are betting that they can deliver TV episodes for free, with advertising.

      Problem: We can already get them for free, with no advertising...

      Number One, set a course of Pirate Bay. Maximum warp.
      • Oh, yes, and two more predictions for 2006:

        - Start of campaigns against unlicensed distribution of TV shows.
        - Such campaigns will not be of the jackboot 3-am-knock-on-the-door RIAA variety.

        Piratebay can cock a snoot at lawyer's letters because of the current Swedish law. However, there are concerted efforts to criminalise the abetting of 'piracy', which would make them vulnerable. Further, each person downloading a copyrighted TV show and also sharing it via Bittorrernt is violating the co
          1. Download torrent from The Pirate Bay
          2. Fire up BitTorrent client with download and upload rates set to 0
          3. Record each IP address willing to send you pieces of the copyrighted material in question. If the IP address is to an American ISP, file subpoena to retrieve customer data.
          4. Lawsuit!
          • They already do this for movies and such. I won't use ThePirateBay for that very reason.

            I just shake my head every time someone says "Just use ThePirateBay, d00d! Free stuff!". I don't want one of those letters showing up in my mailbox.

    • Take a look at the top downloads on a site like Piratebay and you'll see that they are all TV episodes.

      Huh? There must be some mistake. From reading Slashdot I know that bittorrent is just used for Linux distributions and self-produced rock albums.

    • it was even close to the truth.

      Yes, the Internet and P2P is finally going to transform TV into something that actually produces good entertainment, and will one day turn around and redefine the movie industry as well.

      I can distinctly remember this arguement being made when cable TV was coming to my neighborhood and I'm POSITIVE it was said when OTA TV started.

      What do we have on what's generically described as TV now that's so special and good? We all have a couple of things we like, but the rest is trash.

      W
    • Yes, the Internet and P2P is finally going to transform TV into something that actually produces good entertainment, and will one day turn around and redefine the movie industry as well.

      How, exactly, is a change in delivery method going to improve content? You've said it yourselve, that the top torrent downloads may be TV episodes... today's TV episodes. The content is the same, just the delivery is different. Did cable transform television into drastically better entertainment? Not really. Has satelli
    • This is why Google's been buying dark fibre. This is why Google is buying into AOL, for access to TW shows. This is what will drive the next generation of portable gadgets.

      Actually, what Google bought was a 5% share in AOL, not Time Warner. AOL is a (formerly) wholly owned subsidiary of the company formerly known as AOL Time Warner. So what Google bought wouldn't get them access to those shows anyway.

  • Busted... (Score:5, Funny)

    by dbucowboy (891058) on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:31PM (#14409659) Homepage
    This could be bad news for married people who are secretly searching the web for a "special friend". Opps!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:33PM (#14409674)
    When he's right, it's only because he makes so many stupid, hacky positions and predictions that by the law of averages he has to hit one once in awhile.

    Not to say he's a bad source of information, mind you, just that he's a source of information no better than, say, a magic 8 ball.
  • The thing... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Moby Cock (771358) on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:37PM (#14409710) Homepage
    Over the last few years I've been struck by Google's ability to compete in a very effective way. Generally they seem to eschew a fight with the main competitor and rather simply rewite the rules and assert their dominance in that field (think online ads). Advertising is one of those ivory tower industutries where small firms must 'play ball' in order to get any decent contracts (my brother was in advertising for a number of years). Google, it is speculated, will simply rewrite the notion of broadcast advertising and assert a stranglehold on the new style. An interesting gamebit, to be sure.

    The big New York ad firms will be scrambling to figure out how to beat Google at this new game. No if Google opened Google Studios, where they could produce the content of the ads, they would be richer than God
    • Google would not be interested in the studios concept. It puts them into competition instead of controlling the interest. It also makes them have to engage in risk in an area for which they are not experts. They know how to analyse ads and determine relevance, etc. They do not create media, though, and the cost to compete is very high.

      Were they to engage in that, the stock price would take a serious hit.
      • Plus, why would they adopt a strategy any different than Adsense? Google doesn't mind sending you to other web pages, because their ads are on those pages. Similarly, they won't mind sending you to other people's video content.

        Actually, this could be the catalyst for an explosion of amateur video content. Imagine: I make a video, doesn't matter what. Some sort of short clip, independent movie, even a regular TV show. I upload it to Google Video. Google dynamically inserts the ads every time someone watches
    • Ad agencies are not scrambling to figure out how to beat Google. They are figuring out how to USE Google to their advantage. The companies who are scrambling to beat Google are those that distribute advertising and media. Ad agencies just make the ads that go into these mediums.

      Just wanted to clarify.

  • Hmmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by cornface (900179) on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:37PM (#14409712)
    It seems as though they are transforming slashvertising, at least.

  • oh no.... (Score:2, Funny)

    by cparisi (136611)
    I guess I will have to get ready for those hard core porn commercials during
    "The Apprentice"
    ... not sure how my wife will react it....
    • " I guess I will have to get ready for those hard core porn commercials during "The Apprentice"
      ... not sure how my wife will react it...."


      Hopefully with a trip to the "Boardroom" where you will be "fired." ;)
  • Why is it? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by scronline (829910)
    Most people know how overrated google has become. Why then do we keep writting about only the good things? I don't read Cringely very often, but I've never seen even him have anything really negative to say about google. What's up with this? Is it just because they put out some nifty tools that raise large amounts of privacy concerns? Is it because it was ONCE a killer search engine?

    Why aren't poor search results being reported? For example, in the city of Vallejo, CA we are the only facilities based
    • Re:Why is it? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shaper_pmp (825142) on Friday January 06, 2006 @01:40PM (#14410164)
      Disclaimer: I'm no Google fanboy (in fact, I can be downright wary about them at times), but this post has several problems and incorrect assumptions:

      "Most people know how overrated google has become. Why then do we keep writting about only the good things?"

      Maybe it's because (less a certain section of the Slashdot audience where it's trendy to bash Google), "most people" (you know, the 90% of people on the internet who barely know which way round a mouse goes) find Google works perfectly well for them. And from personal subjective experience, it's a lot better than the majority of other search engines out there, and vastly better than the state the search industry was in before Google came along.

      And, to be fair, they are extremely innovative as a company - look at the sheer number of products launched (even if they are beta)... can you name many other companies who even beta-release quite such a number of products with quite such regularity? Google also have a good track record of entering a moribund field (search, webmail, etc) and kicking the already-entrenched players up the arse.

      They've mastered the Richard Branson/Virgin technique of analyzing an industry, working out what's wrong with every offering out there, and offering something which fixes it. It's not always disruptive tech, but can sometimes merely be disruptive feature-offerings.

      "I don't read Cringely very often, but I've never seen even him have anything really negative to say about google. What's up with this? Is it just because they put out some nifty tools that raise large amounts of privacy concerns? Is it because it was ONCE a killer search engine?"

      Well, Cringely's a bit of a fanboy, but I've seen him post a few less-than-glowing things about Google before.

      "Why aren't poor search results being reported? For example, in the city of Vallejo, CA we are the only facilities based DSL provider and we even own vallejodsl.com, but up until today (which is the first time I've done this search in 2 months) we weren't even on the first 5 pages."

      So what? Did you ever think that the website of a single local DSL operator in rural america might not be especially interesting to an audience spread across the entire globe?

      You also don't say what search terms you were chasing, which makes this entire statement non-operative in terms of judging Google's performance.

      By giving this example you also raise the possibility of the usual scenario - someone who's pissed off with Google because they can't get good rankings for their own pet site, not because it's generally poor at search.

      "I've been given huge amounts of excuses for why that could be, but when 80% of the results were blackhat SEO tactics that shoved us back I could care less about them."

      Well, you very obviously haven't got good advice. Might I suggest you start by updating the site to XHTML 1.0 (ideally Strict, Transitional will do), and make sure the code validates [w3.org] . If you haven't done this you haven't even taken the first steps you should have taken.

      You should also take a lot of that text on the site out of images and put it in lovely plain (but styled) HTML. Google can't index text in images - this is pretty much SEO Baby-Steps lesson #2.

      "We are a well established company (15 years in business) and there should be no reason why we should have been so low on the results. We have plenty of backlinks but google only lists like 36 while others list as many 3000. We stood in that "state" for well over 2 years regardless of what we did on our end."

      Yes, there is a good reason: your website is crap and hasn't been SEOed at all. Apologies for being harsh, but you need to realise there's a buttload of things you could (and should) be doing, rather than just sitting there blaming the seearch engines.

      The age of your business is immaterial
      • "Well, you very obviously haven't got good advice. Might I suggest you start by updating the site to XHTML 1.0 (ideally Strict, Transitional will do), and make sure the code validates . If you haven't done this you haven't even taken the first steps you should have taken."

        Search engines do not give a rats ass if your site is xhtml or not. Its really annoying seeing people constantly giving ridiculous reasons to move to xhtml that are complete nonsense.

        "You should also take a lot of that text on the site ou
    • Re:Why is it? (Score:3, Informative)

      I don't read Cringely very often, but I've never seen even him have anything really negative to say about google.

      Actually, he has said some negative things (or least not positive) about Google. In particular he wrote some articles on how AdSense may be squeezing as much money out of advertisers as they are willing to pay [pbs.org]. Also followups here [pbs.org] and here [pbs.org].

    • Re:Why is it? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by podperson (592944)
      After glancing quickly at your website vallejodsl.com it looks like the only clue that your website has anything to do with vallejo and dsl is its URL which google (rightly) considers a "shady SEO" tactic.

      Try:

      1) Putting some actual RELEVANT CONTENT on your site.
      2) Having titles and content that correspond to your website URL.

      Your site looks like an incompetent cybersquatter site. That's why.

      These days, thanks in large part to google's aggressive attempts to break SEO tactics, most SEO advice consists of stu
    • For example, in the city of Vallejo, CA we are the only facilities based DSL provider and we even own vallejodsl.com, but up until today (which is the first time I've done this search in 2 months) we weren't even on the first 5 pages.

      I'm a little unclear on your statement -- do you mean that your company didn't show up on Google until recently or that it still doesn't? When I searched for "vallejo dsl" just now, one of your sites was the 4th down on the 1st page. What changed?

      And to be perfectly ho

    • Several valid points are brought up by the comments you guys have all made. Granted, the vallejodsl.com domain is just redirecting actually. Our actual site is scronline.com which pulls up correctly, and when you go to vallejodsl.com it just pulls the same data. I had intended to setup that domain to redirect but I haven't done it as of yet. Which vallejodsl.com wasn't really intended for anything other than to see if it could improve ranking for scronline.com, but to be perfectly honest I'm not even wo
  • by 3D Monkey (808934) on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:45PM (#14409775)
    I have a friend who is developing a technology that would mix seamlessly with this Google idea, and I believe he is currently in talks with cable companies about it. The device he's engineered will actually map the picture coming accross the broadband cable to your television set, and with a joystick-like remote control you can navagate around the screen and click on products that you are interested in. Information, or links to information, about each product or person in a show would be served along the broadband stream making virtually everything you see in a show "clickable." It would allow you to say, get information about the gadget that is being used in CSI, or stats on your favorite sports player/team.

    It seems that integration with Google would be invaluable for something like this, and it would really change the landscape of advertising content. We would begin to choose what ads we want to see based on our personal interest in a certain item. Since DVRs are striking a blow to the standard 30 second spot, and product placement is growing in leaps and bounds this really seems like the new stage for advertisement in general, but best of all it might allow us to finally have seamless programming.

    Sorry I don't have a link to info about this device, he doesn't have a product site built up yet since it's still in development.
    • Tell your friend to expect a call from the MIT Media Lab lawyers.
    • Note to self:

      Patent "mapping the picture coming accross the broadband cable to your television set, and with a joystick-like remote control you can navagate around the screen and click on products that you are interested in."

      I guess that's been the missing ??? step.
  • by b1t r0t (216468) on Friday January 06, 2006 @01:00PM (#14409884)
    I see one small problem with this idea of super-insertion commercials on TV.

    Who is going to film the ads? Who is going to edit the ads? Who is going to appear in the ads and do voice-overs?

    With text ads, just about anybody can make one quickly and easily. With picture ads, you don't even really need to be an artist as long as you can paste a picture of your product next to some text in Photoshop. Flash ads are a bit more work, but even then, it's little more than animating and scripting a bunch of pictures and text.

    But with narrowcast video ads, how are they going to look when they are filmed by amateurs? Think about stereotypical used car dealer ads from movies and go down from there. Way down. It's a brave new world, and we're going to run out of pancake makeup pretty quick.

    • Who is going to film the ads? Who is going to edit the ads? Who is going to appear in the ads and do voice-overs?

      When the dotcom boom started, the average starting salary of a fine arts graduate went from whatever they were paying at McDonalds to more than the average starting salary of a Comp Sci graduate. Why? Because suddenly thousands of companies needed thousands of artists to produce hundreds of thousands of web page design elements. This was a consequence of supply and demand. As the production of pe
  • satellite TV? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by enbody (472304) on Friday January 06, 2006 @01:10PM (#14409959) Homepage
    The proposed, targeted advertising could work for cable, but what about broadcast mediums such as over-the-air or satellite?
  • I can see them possibly having a database matching the IP of my television to the IP of my home computer...so in theory, if I Google a product, they'll be able to match those IP numbers. But let's say I don't Google the price of a new radio or whatever. Let's say I go straight to the manufacturer's website, or I go to Amazon or Best Buy. Google won't know what I'm looking for...unless they somehow cut a deal with those other companies, perhaps offering cheaper advertisements in exchange for information a
  • That is what I would say. If they do the things well, and so far they did, they could truly become a huge company. They are profitable, have very smart ideas, investing into a lot of research, hiring pretty smart people it seems... Future seems to be bright.

    Now, will all the ads and all the things Google do remain discret and small? I doubt it.

    As it will become a bigger company, and go more and more into the traditional advertising business, it will probably behave like others in part. Depending on the medi
  • It would be interesting if Google did start supporting MITs $100 laptop [wikipedia.org]. Subsidising the profileration of these devices throughout the world is probablz ultimatelz a good thing for Google. Given that the devices will be built around Linux, it is likely that Google will be the default search engine. Even if Google doesn`t help out financiallz, I`m sure their techncal expertise could be used. I`m still quite sceptical about whether MIT will be able to build a software system that lives up to the requirements.
  • by TMarvelous (928161) on Friday January 06, 2006 @01:44PM (#14410200) Homepage

    In the last two years the Weather Channel has been making a big push in this direction. They have been a technological innovator in the cable world especially in the way they push the local forecast to every individual head end that carries TWC. Leveraging that technology they have begun regional targeting and weather specific targeting.

    An example of this is a tire company. On any other network when they buy national time one commercial for one tire is aired. With regional targeting rain tires can been served to the northeast and good weather tires to the south - in the same :30 seconds two spots run simultaneously in different parts of the country. Take that a step further and you really begin to see the value in the premium price TWC gets for these spots.

    TWC links it's ad serving to it's local forecasts at each head end. If it's raining in your county you'll see a rain tire commercial, while your buddy up north on another cable system where it's snowing will see a spot for snow tires. An hour later when the snow turns to rain he's see a spot for rain tires.

    While conceptually the idea of Google leveraging these trailers is conceivable Cringely's prediction is flawed. Google will not be able to sell targeting to the networks. National network commercials are still carried over the air. Cable operators simply retransmit them. The minute or two of local time is sold by the local affiliate, also over the air and then retransmitted. Neither the nets nor the affiliates would let a cable operator insert commercials over the ones they've sold and no technology exists to legally insert them over the air interrupting the original signal. There may be some room in the cable only universe for cable MSO's to sell national advertisers more targeted spots in the 2 minutes an hour then get but the idea of Joe's Restaurant down the block spending money on production of a TV ad and then paying extra to target me seems a little far fetched.

    I think the prediction in today's NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/06/technology/06onl ine.html [nytimes.com] makes more sense. Downloads an convergence of the TV and PC are where it's going to be at.

    Or we could just wait and see what the announcement is. What is the point of specualting anyway besides driving traffic to /. everyday? :)

  • seems to be building itself on top of the M$oft platform. Most hardware vendors are going w/ media center pre-installed. What's different in this scenario is that the browser isn't going to be as centric as it is on the desktop pc. Apple seems to be heading in this direction as well with front row [ http://www.apple.com/imac/frontrow.html%5D [apple.com]. I don't know but I think Google is going to need to pursuade hardware vendors to use their new GoogleOS instead of windows media center (ROFL) before being taken seriou
  • Firefox (Score:2, Funny)

    by kalbzayn (927509)
    Sounds promising. Firefox will develop a TV. We could use the adblock plugin to get rid of commercials forever. Everybody is happy. Advertisers gets to pay for ads. Google gets paid for ads. I get to block ads. Now, we just need a Firefox to get in on bill board displays, and we won't have ads anywhere.
  • by edmicman (830206)
    If anything, all I want is more of a rotation of commercials during series or specifically, multi-part sports programming. Ie, I HATE having to watch the SAME commercials during the entire NBA playoffs, or March Madness, etc. They bombard you with the the whole game, EVERY GAME.
    • Yes. I agree totally. Here's another idea which Tivo should be able to jump on right now;

      Let me give each advert a thumbs up or down and over time I get more of the same kind of advertising that I give an "up" to and less of the adverts that I give a "down" to.

      I am sure some genius can come up with a scheme to make sure you cannot give every advert a thumbs down. In fact that is already built into my scheme. If you thumbs down everything then you are simply back at square one.
    • Be grateful you're not a Canadian hockey fan.

      "THEY'RE DOWN HERE!!"

      "WHAT??"

      "THEY'RE DOWN HERE!!"

      "DON'T YOU FREEZE ON ME!!"

      "DIG!!"

      "WE FOUND THEM!!!!!"

      *cheers*

      "Who put this music on?"

      Any fellow Canucks will want to kill me for reminding them. Personally, I'm now going to work mostly to burn the memory of this commercial out of my brain from last night's game.
  • why is it that TV advertising seems to be totally accepted as a normal thing these days ?

    I quite frankly couldn't give a rats ass for any of the items I see advertised on TV. In fact, I'll go further and say that if I see an advert for something that I might actually be in the market for, I'll make damn sure I don't buy it from the company running the TV ad.
    All these companies have bought into the idea that if they don't advertise more than their competitors, then they lose market share. Well I think that's

  • ... used for all the latest google posts.

    "According to {INSERT BLOGGER}, Google is poised to enter into the world of {INSERT FIELD/INDUSTRY}. This would usher in a new era for the venerable medium, creating a tidal wave of revenue for {INSERT BENEFACTORS}, while solidifying Google's position in {INSERT FIELD/INDUSTRY}. {INSERT BLOGGER} develops this prediction based on his belief that Google is developing a network of data centers to be placed around the globe, which would be used to {INSERT FIELD/INDUSTRY}
  • According to Robert X. Cringely, Google is poised to construct a 120 km diamater orbital battle platform [wikipedia.org], with a weapon capabale of destroying entire planets.

    Seriously, this guy must be making a killing in advertising with all these whacked out theories on what google's gonna do next. Two weeks ago, he claimed google was poised to build an independant internet, powered by cargo-container supercomputers with 8,000 AMD processors.

    Have any of his ridiculous claims ever been backed up? Why do /.ers keep
  • by garyrich (30652) on Friday January 06, 2006 @03:35PM (#14411128) Homepage Journal
    Even with hundreds of cable channels we don't get "narrowcast" ads. The technology to do it is all there already. Why do I currently get tampon ads during a midnight episode of Evangelion? Nobody thinks that is the target market. The tampon maker had no idea that their ad would show up there. What they buy are these large horizontal "media buys". They make a "Buy" for a few million $ that includes spots all over the place. For the same $ that it would take to buy targeted time on the Lifetime Network, they can get the same amount of time there and a bunch of other ad spots that are basically "free". A favorite of some friends of mine that worked together in the early 90's is the company's placement of a full back cover ad for a rather arcane pice of sofware in Field and Stream magazine. Yeah, it was a stupid place for the ad and there are million of better things you could spend the $ on. But it was one of those "media buy" packages. For the same $ that it cost to put it on the back cover of Byte and PC World you could do one of these deals and get those two and Field and Stream and Ladies Home Journal and a few others as well - so why not?

    "The system" isn't set up to narrowcast its ads to those who are the likelies customers. If they don't use what they could do now, they are unlikely to use this type of thing from Google.

    Sure, they could wake up and smell the money. It's a pretty hide bound industry though.
  • by animus9 (765786)
    Let me guess here: Blipverts?
  • Boring alternative (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume (22995)
    The boring alternative is that they are putting up data centers to increase rundundancy and reduce lag(network hops). The fact that it, combined with owning a bunch of dark fiber, also helps them hedge against brain dead network operators attempting to charge for access, probably doesn't hurt.
  • by Retired Replicant (668463) on Friday January 06, 2006 @06:57PM (#14412944)
    The more and more I read these articles about all of these peripheral businesses Google is getting into, the more and more I wonder if there is any cohesive strategy to the whole thing. Are Google's executives just going bonkers with all the money they have to spend? Are they just trying to grab headlines to prop up their stock price? What's next, Google brings back the Pets.com sock puppet to serve as the mascot for their new service which lets you store up to 1 Gigabyte of email on your dog's flea-collar which is connected 24/7 to their global Wifi network and enables you to zoom in on your dog via satellite photography?

Swap read error. You lose your mind.

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