Google advertisements

July 9, 2010

I remain puzzled by the success of Google’s business model.  Obviously, I don’t have the makings of a good businessman, because Google is fantastically successful, with a torrential positive cashflow and high profits.  Google seems to have more of a right to the name Amazon than Amazon.com, given the relatively meagre profitability of the online bookstore cum emporium, despite it’s annual revenue, and Amazon.com should be called, say, Thames, a not all that impressive river.

Google gets its money from advertising, ads that Internet users click on after making a search.  I ran a very focused ad campaign for a specialized product related to my work, and it garnered a decent response, but if I had done a search for that product, I don’t think I would have clicked on the ads it presented.  I don’t think I have ever clicked on a Google ad, except for a few instances when I experimented to see just what they would turn up.  Once again, I am obviously not a judge of how people will behave.

My sense of the advertisements that appear on the Google sidebar is that they are generally vague, tangentially related to my search, and never better results than what I turn up with my Google search itself.  Why would I waste time with them?  When newspapers and magazines purchase advertising, they pay up front, and do so because they know their material will be seen by readers, and possibly read.  Some magazines, e.g., fashion publications, are all  about the ads.  Pay-per-click ads generate revenue only when browsing people click on them.  Why do they click?  But click they do!

So…I come to this rather depressing prospect.  Google is reaping megabucks off of billions of clicks by vast millions of users who are clicking on ads that are of limited value simply on the hope, the misconception, the belief, reflex action? of responding to an advert.  Their business model is built on the bedrock of consumer acculteration.  Countless people wasting countless hours in pointless activity is making Google rich.  People love to shop, they love advertisements, and they are happy to be led down the primrose path by ads that promise much and deliver little.  Why not, it’s all free!  We pay only with our time and attention!


Art by the numbers…

August 4, 2008

Today, in the New York Times, there was an article about an economist who has reordered the canon of art history by using market statistics and counts of the appearance of works in standard texts.  After his quantitative ranking is done, what will know about art?  That is, will it deepen or alter our appreciation of the works?  I think not, though it may have some interest as cultural history.  As Arthur Danto pointed out succinctly,

“I don’t see the method as anything except circular. The frequency of an illustration doesn’t seem to me to really explain what makes an idea good.

“Somewhere along the line you’ve got to find answers to why it’s so interesting.”

If you’re interested in art, that is…

Unmentioned in this article, is the fact that it seems to reverse Marx’s comment on history playing out twice:  first as tragedy, then as farce.  This economist is engaging in a travesty of thought, a tragedy of …well, maybe it’s just farce all around, but the farce certainly came before him.  Has he not heard of Komar & Melamid?  These two tricksters did extensive polling – market research – to discover what art people want and then they gave it to them!  That’s art by the numbers!!


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