Google’s Ad Algorithm

Robert X Cringely has, in the past, written about Google’s search and advertising algorithms. Other search engines, like Bling, are trying to slide into the market by designing better search tools. Cringely says it’s not the search algorithm that’s making Google all its money, it’s the ad-matching algorithm. Google reportedly has a higher click-through rate than other companies because its algorithm does a better job of matching user interests to ad content. Not always.

My Intro-To-MIS class has its own gMail account, and I am always emailing back and forth with them on various class topics. For some reason, the topic mix (which ranges across all dimensions of MIS in business) has caused the Google ad algorithm to decide that the products I’d find most interesting are those produced by….drumroll….SCO

Yes, SCO. That SCO. The essence of all that is evil in the world SCO.* My gMail page is dominated by companies offering SCO products. Well, a company. This, despite the fact that if I were caught in a trap that could only be opened by using a SCO product, my first question would be is gnawing off my foot an alternative? The Google algorithm obviously has a major flaw.

Buy SCO Unix & Unixware 7
SysIntegrators sells & supports all SCO UnixWare 7.1.4 Operating Systems. Learn more.

The other funny thing is that the SCO web page for SysIntegrators, the company placing the ad, was last updated in December of 2009. According to the Groklawtimeline (thank you PJ), that’s two years after SCO lost their case against IBM and Novell, found out they didn’t own Unix, burned up most of their money in lawyers fees, told the Utah judge they didn’t need to sequester the rest to pay Novell because they weren’t about to go bankrupt or anything — then switched to New Jersey and declared bankruptcy. Evidently, SI is cruising on autopilot, because I doubt that anyone has spent any money on new Unixware licenses since then. As I recall, SCO only earned about $50K in license fees the year they declared bankruptcy. Why SI are continuing to advertise the product line (and pay money to Google) is as much a mystery as the Google ad algorithm.

*Did you know there was a company in San Francisco who said in their recruiting announcement that if your resume showed you had worked for SCO after the start of the lawsuit, you shouldn’t bother to apply for a job with them.


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