What's an Algorithm?

Album Cover: Kid A

"We got heads on sticks. You got ventriloquists."
Radiohead / Kid A

Posted on May 29, 2007 10:13 PM in Computers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

I won't touch on the offensiveness of Ask.com's new ad campaign, but I will say that their ad campaign is pretty stupid. The other day I got a call from my brother asking me if I had seen the ad on TV for Ask.com. I told him "no," fairly certain that he wouldn't ask me about that strange pimped out cars ad that has been on TV for a couple months now. He then started telling me about a commercial in which a child asks his father about algorithms. My brother then asked me, "what is an algorithm?" I'll concur with TechCrunch's assessment that "algorithms mean nothing to [laymen] and [they] should be the core target market for Ask."

I wonder...has Google ever aired an ad for their search engine?

Comments

Ian Clifton on May 29, 2007 at 11:28 PM:

Word of mouth is definitely the best advertising. I often think if these companies that spent millions on Super Bowl ads and year-round advertising put that money into making their products better, they would end up making more money AND satisfying more people. Or they could just donate the millions to charity and get excellent PR and a warm fuzzy feeling...

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Zim on May 30, 2007 at 10:45 AM:

As far as I know, Google's popularity is due to viral marketing only... and it worked very well.

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Phil Bradley on May 30, 2007 at 3:07 PM:

Yes, it's a dire campaign, and I really think they need to drop it as quickly as they possibly can. I've written more about it at http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue51/search-engines/

Phil.

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Bernie Zimmermann on May 30, 2007 at 7:07 PM:

Thanks for the link, Phil. And Zim, I'm pretty sure you're right. Google took off because it did the best job (and still does, in my opinion), not because they had the best ad campaign (or an ad campaign at all).

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