[iDC] Are We Google's Paint? Keywords?
A.Munster at unsw.edu.au
Thu Jan 22 23:35:35 UTC 2009
Thanks Brad - this is interesting:
> at one point, I noticed that these pages were getting
> massive amounts of hits based solely on their page-titles,
> so as an experiment I gradually added more and more
> google-ad-word banners...
> at first with only a few hundred or so ads, I was generating
> $30-40 a month, but the more pages I added (or perhaps the
> longer the ads were online? -- it's a secret goggle payment
> formula apparently), the _less money I made! it finally
> became so trivial that I started pulling all the ads off...
Which also goes to the point I'd like to make with respect to Andreas'
comments about Google standing on advertising as its 'leg'. Of course
if you want to take a straight political economy approach this is
obviously the case.
On the other hand, and this is what is intimated by Brad's experiments
and observations, Google has monumentally transformed advertising and
its place in web economies...one can analyse this in terms of the
political economy of value and exchange, eg how has Google transformed
the 'click' into the unit of web currency? But then again it's not so
simple as there also seem to be other quantitative and algorithmic
operations that determine revenue generation, which are 'secret' ie
proprietorial and upon which Google depends in order to generate ad
revenue through multiple means.
So what we have here is not simply a 'new business model' for
advertising in a web-based economy but a whole new way of doing
'market research', of creating 'attention' to optimize 'market
share', based not upon audiences but rather on the measurement of
pure data (keywords, click-throughs etc), the securitised deployment
of automated mechanisms and operations and the deployment of
massively distributed micro-payment systems. A way of bypassing 'the
human' and transforming pure data into pure money (on the proviso we
ignore the corollary of 'free labour').
Consequently 'audience' has become pure stats for automated
manipulation. I think this is quite different from, say, Amazon's
operations (although obviously Google has also experimented with some
of this with its 'preferred searches' for example).
Hence, a straight political economy analysis kind of falls
away....Google doesn't have one leg nor perhaps does it have many
arms...it's probably more like a hydra - a deceptively simple
organism with two body layers, no brain and no true muscles but
comprised entirely of a nerve net (interconnected neurons but no
centralisation), a remarkable regenerative ability and apparently very
rarely undergoing senescence....
A/Prof. Anna Munster
Deputy Director Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics
School of Art History and Art Education
College of Fine Arts
P.O. Box 259
612 9385 0741 (tel)
612 9385 0615(fax)
a.munster at unsw.edu.au
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