Commentary

Can I Use Search To Query Search? And Other Imponderables

I've spent the last few days trying out Microsoft's new search engine, Bing, (not really, but David Berkowitz did and he declared that) "it's much better categorized as a 'search portal.' The idea of a search engine is to get you where you want to go fast, based on the queries you enter. The idea of a portal is to give you all the content you need so you don't have to go anywhere else. Bing is a hybrid, a search portal that lets you keep searching and refining your query without ever leaving the site until you absolutely have to." Got it? Me neither, but back to our story.

I've spent the last few days trying out Wolfram Alpha the "computational knowledge engine" that allows users to enter questions in the query field, such as, 'How old is President Barack Obama?" Wolfram spits out an answer. Not really, but personally I don't care how old Barack is as long as he doesn't drop over and usher in a Biden Presidency. But there are lots of others things I do want to ask Wolfram:

If you are in the advertising business yet use online ad blockers and fast forward through ads on recorded TV shows, mute live TV ads and pull all the heavy stock ad pages out of magazine before you read them, does that mean you'll spend any more time in purgatory than say the guys who invented the CueCat, male body spray or fried ice cream?

It is OK to give an atomic wedgie to everyone who says "accountability" out loud?

Once and for all, is advertising art or science? Don't give me any of that "it's a little of each" crap either. My art director's contract is almost up so let's get to the bottom of this one!

When somebody asks, "Did you see that story in The New York Times today?" what should I say?

When I see "industry leading" in a press release, should I automatically assume the opposite or just put a spam blocker on whoever sent me the release?

When I'm on my cell phone and I have to pee, should I sit to minimize the noise or just try to aim for the sides? How many feet do I have to run before I know the flush is out of audible range?

When somebody starts talking to me about their effective CPM, should I mentally cut it back by two thirds or seven eights?

Everyone wants to "engage" me now. Is it legal to be engaged to more than one media property at a time? Should I tell them about each other? I hate keeping secrets.

How many unique users can dance on the head of a pin?

If Time Warner Cable puts a meter on my internet usage, can I deduct from my statement for every time a magazine is late or never arrives or its cover is torn? Or every time the cable TV signal blips and I lose 30 seconds of dialogue or an important replay? Or every time a page takes longer than .0004 to load? Or if the guy who installs the cable lines smells like he played seven hours of cricket in three week old socks?

Should I use Bing to be uber-cool or just to help drive down my Google costs?

2 comments about "Can I Use Search To Query Search? And Other Imponderables".
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  1. David Berkowitz from MRY, June 5, 2009 at 12:02 p.m.

    My head exploded. Thanks.

  2. Kevin Horne from Lairig Marketing, June 6, 2009 at 8:01 p.m.

    Well done George! You used another profanity this week ("pee") but no one complained! ;)

    P.S. please let us know what the answer was to the art/science thing....

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