“Scary-smart” and Microsoft in the same sentence

February 6, 2008

Yeah – I know – which is why I was so intrigued by the article. It’s located over on CNN.com with the title “Microsoft tinkering with scary-smart ad spots” and it definitely grabbed my attention.

With the impending bid for Yahoo still looming news about Microsoft’s latest advertisement projects are very interesting. We already know how a company like Microsoft can use distribution channels (the OS) to drive revenue to other products (Desktop Publishing and Workplace Communications). Now it seems that the purchase of Yahoo is another mechanism for Microsoft to exploit one channel to benefit from another.

Unfortunately, it is genius and, it represents a big push for the company to continue its strife to take over the world. Scary – very scary.

I am a big proponent of smarter ads and also could care less if my “actions” on the Internet are tracked by “big brother”. Look, the Internet is a tool. If it doesn’t get smarter what good is it. So, I have stated before here that I want the Internet to learn about me and understand what I like and don’t like. Present me with advertisements that make sense. Don’t show me things that I would never be interested in.

Part of me feels that if we get more targeted ads, then we won’t need so many. Instead of having to blanket a site with many ads hoping to reach a site visitor, they could have one spot that is guaranteed to reach visitors. If I can go to a page – look at the ad – say quickly “yes” or “no” then move in it wouldn’t bother me. So, I am glad that someone (Microsoft or not) is working hard to turn this crazy out of control advertisement world on its head. Shake out what doesn’t work.

One of the projects that they are working on stated that it could “… scan(ned) videos for surfaces where product images could be inserted…”. Who knew that vidoes had “surfaces” but I guess if it did then we could certainly use them for product placements.

Another project built “transcripts” from a video using voice recognition so that it could supplement the video with targeted advertisements (on the side of the video) which correlated with the content of the video. Hell ya. I am in.

Building systems that make advertisement companies smarter will help us – we are consumers – we buy things. What are we really afraid here (besides the impending takeover of the world by Microsoft)?

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