Findory Dumps Google Ads For Amazon

    September 25, 2006

Findory, the personalization startup that remains my favorite news source, has switched its ad system from Google AdSense to Amazon Associates.

Findory had famously been running a form of personalized AdSense, by feeding to AdSense keywords based on the logged-in user’s account, but Greg Linden says that even with very well-chosen keywords, AdSense just didn’t deliver the results he hoped for.

In his blog, Greg says that AdSense’s targeting is too stubborn, insisting it knows best (like delivering ads about car parts when you use the keywords “search engine“), while Findory had hoped to use its detailed personalization history to make the ads more targeted.

Since AdSense would not bend to the Findory database’s will, Greg decided to find an ad system that would, and it turned out to be one that maybe even has some legacy code Greg wrote back in his Amazon days.

According to Greg, Amazon’s system delivers slightly lower earnings than AdSense, since while books have higher payouts, but not only do you have to get the user to click the ad, they also have to buy the book.

However, Amazon listens to Findory’s data more often, which means there is more of a chance they can tweak it to get better earnings, something that proved almost impossible after a year of tweaking AdSense.

One suggestion: While getting Amazon’s personalization data to play well with Findory’s might prove impossible (or not even a consideration), Findory could keep track of which users do and don’t click ads and buy books, and target the ad system by (a) if they don’t click ads, introduce some randomness to find some ads that work and (b) if they do click ads and buy books, target the ads more towards the books the user is likely to buy than the news articles the user tends to read.

After all, I might read a lot of articles about Google, but what if the only books I buy are about Superman?

There’s a lot of room here, and I wonder if Findory can do a better job targeting ads than Google can.

All they need to do is raise the eCPM a nickel to declare success, and it would make Google realize that it needs a broader set of data than just the words on the page to create an even more effective ad system.



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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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