Commentary

What Do Search, Online Advertising And Frankenstein Have In Common?

frankenstein

Online advertising is going through a Frankenstein phase. A bold statement, yes, but let me explain how the Web will become the social network.

In the book, Frankenstein, Mary Godwin Shelley describes a man searching for the meaning of life. The book's theme, born from the inspiration and the company of creative writers and storytellers Shelley kept, describes her desire to explore creation.

Shelley, the wife of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, began writing the novel at age 18 and published it one year later after the two spent a weekend visiting with good friend and Romantic poet Lord Byron.

The connection between Shelley's masterpiece and online advertising and search engine marketing begins with the underlying social content that holds together the Web. I'll preface the following by saying that by no means I view online advertising as being destructive. But it will become more disruptive. It will continue to create questions about privacy. And, it will spark a variety of new industries supporting online advertising.

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Last Friday I wrote in the Search Marketing Daily blog "I'm expecting a new industry to emerge focusing on ad targeting through social signals and features, the underlying structure of the Web. Think about the social signals that sit below what searchers see online--the content that holds together 'the Web.'"

The thought described in Friday's post points to Google's projects in emerging technologies as an example of how search and social will change the overall Web, as engineers continue to tap science to create new experiences. In fact, those changes have begun to occur more rapidly than first thought.

Although we have yet to see Facebook "Like" buttons associated with Google Sitelinks ads in search or business locations on Google Maps, Mountain Dew during the weekend became one of the first to stick the "Like" button in ads running across display networks and publisher sites. The button could become a new metric for advertisers to measure the success of advertising campaigns.

In this application, Facebook provides the pipeline, and MediaMind the technology to make it happen, supporting the trend by brands to bring social media to consumers across the Web.

RadiumOne, an ad network promising better results by mining the social graph to target ads, emerged Monday tapping data people share through most social networks, excluding Facebook, links, blog posts, videos and other online sources. The technology supporting the ad targeting determines close connections and matches the brand's customer base based on how they interact with each other.

And, as part of the Web relying increasing on social signals and content, The Wall Street Journal during the weekend reported Yahoo will launch Y Connect, which should allow third-party sites to integrate Yahoo across their own properties. Site visitors will have an option to log in using a Yahoo ID and connect with content on the Yahoo network.

In the comScore Top 50 Properties for August 2010 in the U.S., Yahoo sites ranked the No. 1 property with 179 million visitors, followed by Google sites with 178.8 million and Microsoft sites with 165.3 million.

Scarier than the privacy breaches in Facebook caused by unintentional ignorance by the engineers building life online, the clout The Wall Street Journal has to stir thing up.

The Internet continues to evolve, and with it engineers will create a Web beneath the one searchers see. Not all features of this creation will come to life as planned. Some will need revisions and tweaks. The creators, including consumers, of the Internet, the Web and the content continue to learn with each step. Perhaps modern-day novelists will find the meaning of life in the connection made through the content on the Web.

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