free html hit counter As We May Rant - John Battelle's Search Blog

As We May Rant

By - July 14, 2004

Another rehash on “the future of search” – this one from Fast Company. OK, ready? It’s…contextual, behavioral targeting, and local. Whoa. I have to keep in mind that the readers of larger magazines are not search enthusiasts, but still…the cliches (“Meet the future of advertising!”), the careworn anecdotes (they trotted out the Adsense-displays-luggage-ads-next-to-suitcase-murder story, gleefuly planted by Overture last summer), the lack of analysis. Is this how you justify shipping atoms around the nation? At least my “intent over content” meme gets a boost, from Charlene Li, at Forrester. “You could never target intent before, in any medium,” says Li, capturing what’s exciting about the new method. “You just put your message out there around content that seemed likely to attract the right people and hoped it worked.”

Glad to see that idea spreading.


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2 thoughts on “As We May Rant

  1. I tend to be skeptical of personalization, especially when it’s done using machine learning or other algorithms. On the other hand, there are so many results pages with the same relevance ranking, so it makes sense to try and distinguish among them.

    But even something as seemingly simple as location is iffy. If I search for “chicago pizza”, I may be looking for chicago-style pizza in Berkeley (Zachary’s is the best), not necessarily pizza *in* Chicago.

    I think this may work if the interface is transparent enough — if it’s able to explain *why* you got a certain result or set of results, and allow you to override the adjustments.

    Avi