Thursday, September 9, 2010

Content vs Ads

Looking at several websites known to provide content, I am wondering what is important for these websites.. Content or Ads.

There was a time when I used to get ads within the content, but now a days I am searching for content within ads. Page is full of ads and somewhere hidden is a small pre-text of content. I have to click on several ads (or real links) to figure out what is the actual content. Most of the time I end up clicking on ads which look like content (thanks to Google adsense ads buried in the content). Google makes it easy for publishers to format the ads so that it looks like the content. "ads by Google" is like a fine-print in the terms of service notice. It is barely visible.

Apart from them, even big names like CNN is also doing it but in a different way. They are displaying big banner ads at the top of the page which pushes the content below the first fold of the page. They make sure that you view the ads. Whether or not you click on the ads is not important, they are banner ads mostly used for brand awareness anyways.

Look at this page from CNN. Big BMW ad at the top of the page covering approximately 80% of the page.

Only title of the article is viewable on the first fold of the content. Hello... I know the title of the article from the website (in this case Yahoo! Finance). I am here to read the content of the article. You are already making money by the content distribution. Please stop throwing the ads at my face...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Spelling checker in Craigslist

In-spite of being a market leader in listing business, I don't think craigslist understand anything about search. People do mistake while typing search term. So now a days it is absolutely necessary to have a spelling checker and correction service along with the search. It is missing in Craigslist. I found out today when I was searching for car. I typed "toyta car". Instead of giving no results and suggesting corrected spelling, it is threw just a no result page at my face.

Now a days it is not hard to build spelling correction in the system. It is not required to build you own spelling correction system. There are lot of APIs available. BOSS API is one of the prominent one which does provide spelling correction API.

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