Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Refocusing of Others Online to Behavioral Targeting and Computational Advertising

On the work/professional front Others Online is going into a bit of a transformation.

A rethinking exercise demonstrated that what we do best was connect people with content based upon implicit attention streams (this can be anything, click streams, blog posts, twitter, searches). That content was other people (social referrals), content (web pages & blogs) and ads.

Optimizing the process of selecting ads for individual people/groups and context rather than broad categories is what we'll focus on for a while, particularly me as concentrate on being the computational advertising guy at OO.

As for the social networking part of the software, we're refocusing on adding value to existing community and topical sites and other like groups that tend to connect people around a specific topic or geography.

Personally I think the refocusing on computational advertising and targeting is a great choice. When was the last time a web advertisement was really relevant to you? Do you really want to see noisy advertisements for mortgage refinancing and Viagra-like products? The key to all of this is to be socially responsible and give users complete control so that we don't fall into the Facebook-Beacon backlash.

Well, that and some clever algorithms to do the learning.

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