Comments: My _Guardian_ column on Google's "interest-based advertising"

Why are your precise titles turned into hype and clichees?

Posted by Philipp Lenssen at March 26, 2009 08:33 AM

Well, it is a column for a newspaper, so it has to appeal to a fairly broad even if intellectual audience.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at March 26, 2009 08:38 AM

But they are still expected to read the article itself, no? If so, the amended title offers less of a bridge to it. And what's the point of "getting the title easy" if it's a *wrong* meaning you'll get? There would have been ways to trim down your original title and still keep the intention.

Posted by Philipp Lenssen at March 26, 2009 09:21 AM

"Expected" might not be correct word. "Induced" or "Attracted" or "Enticed" are more the goal. I try not to be a diva about the editing, figuring they know their business better than I do. I'm much more concerned if they get things wrong, rather than merely doing something different from what I would do.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at March 26, 2009 09:28 AM

Nice article - like you, I am amazed at how good Google is at dressing in lamb's clothing.

Posted by alan p at March 26, 2009 02:25 PM

Stuff below not directly related

Seen elsewhere :-)
"Operators of online social networks are increasingly sharing potentially sensitive information about users and their relationships with advertisers, application developers, and data-mining researchers. Privacy is typically protected by anonymization, i.e., removing names, addresses, etc.

We present a framework for analyzing privacy and anonymity in social networks and develop a new re-identification algorithm targeting anonymized social-network graphs. To demonstrate its effectiveness on real-world networks, we show that a third of the users who can be verified to have accounts on both Twitter, a popular microblogging service, and Flickr, an online photo-sharing site, can be re-identified in the anonymous Twitter graph with only a 12% error rate. "

Upshot "anonymized social-network graphs. " do not necessarily provide any protection against attack. Even someone having the "cleansed" data is enough to give your game away.

And some people are just borderline evil
"Pharmaceutical companies pay RealAge to compile test results of RealAge members and send them marketing messages by e-mail"

Posted by tqft at March 26, 2009 11:19 PM

Yes, your "chew toy" line was magnificent, but as I've pointed out, it's not just the "AdSense network," although Google is spinning it as such. In fact, it's the AdSense network plus the old DoubleClick network together, which makes the problem twice as big as most watchdogs suspect.

See for the evidence.

By the way, there used to be AdSense ads on your blog. I'm happy to see that they're gone now, and congratulations on cancelling your account if that's what you did.

Posted by Daniel Brandt at March 27, 2009 11:35 AM

I noticed that Google is now censoring the results for your namesake Norman Finkelstein now..

Is this the first instance of US Google censoring for political reasons? I guess they've had plenty of practice in China.

Posted by Shadrac at April 11, 2009 06:39 AM