Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Your blog post published successfully! Now look at these ads.

Somewhere along the line, blogger has started advertising to bloggers. Often when I publish a post now, I see a prominent box in what used to be a nice, empty space to the right of the page. In the box are a handful of Google ads driven by the content of the just-published post [The box has been there for quite a while, but it's only lately that I've seen ads in it. This may be because I happened to post on a couple of topics people are actually interested in. I promise it won't happen again.].

Google itself may be a brilliant example of "dumb is smarter", but Google AdWords are generally evidence that sometimes dumb is just dumb. That's probably not just due to AdWords as a technology, but to the business model of selling words to whoever will buy them up, and to some advertisers' practice of buying up anything and everything. Put it all together and Lucky's speech in waiting for Godot can start to look strangely coherent.

I'm only slightly annoyed at seeing my nice pretty blank space sullied by ads. What strikes me more is that Google has determined that bloggers are a market. This seems obvious in retrospect, as there are millions of us, but it wasn't supposed to work that way, was it? Put up a blog, watch millions of people read it, clean up by selling ads. Wasn't that the story? Come to find out that in a world where there are hordes of writers and no guarantee of readers, going after the writer seems the more sensible approach. Ironic, dontcha think?

[Blogger stopped doing this long enough ago I don't remember.  Probably not too long after I posted this, not that I think that had anything to do with it --D.H. May 2015]

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