Targeted advertising, I love it

Imagine yourself driving home from work in your car, when suddenly you see this billboard:

At first your mind sees it but can't really comprehend it, but after driving by for the 5th time or so you sort of memorised the thing and you start puzzling when you come home. Never mind the puzzling (believe me, it really is a puzzle once you get started on it), you'll see what the purpose of this thing actually is:

- The billboard wants you to go and have a look at a website, of which the adress is obviously ending with '.com'.

- The trick is to know what should come before the '.com'-part.

- The text in between the brackets, saying "first 10-digit prime found in consecutive digits of e" translates into something like the following: 'e' is a universal mathematical number, resembling the number 'Pi', in that it consists of a long row of decimal digits (see here for 'Pi' or here for 'e'). In short, 'e' is also a long string of digits, where you can find this "first 10-digit prime" that is mentioned on the billboard. How?

- By looking for them of course, there's a whole list of them. Kidding. There is actually a list, but I suggest you go take a look and then come back here.

- See? Smart people, unlike myself, know programming languages that can search this "first prime" for you, and they tell us it is this one: 7427466391. Inserting our solution in the brackets, we get "7427466391.com", resulting in this link: nice eh?

- Well not so because now someone is demanding you to figure out what the fifth number is they are looking for in their row (where the previously found number is also in). You can do this by being mathematically very smart, or by looking it up in spiffy calculators like these. Just insert the four numbers you already have and you get this spitted out: "Numbers formed from 10 consecutive digits of e whose digital sums are 49." Not that it matters (did you notice there are already some links related to this story?), but personally I don't think anyone without programming knowledge or a brain that takes quizzes very evening would have noticed this.

- Anyway, we're in, as they say. Insert the login and password on the Linux page (wonder if this mutual endorsement is a stab in the back for Microsoft; Bill Gates got thrown of a most-powerful-100-list somewhere --by the guys from Google amongst others, and now this ...) and you come to this page (or this one, the ".com" one was already down a few moments ago).

"Yes, and what know?" you ask. You simply send your resume to Google, and wait for mail to come in, asking you to come and tell them how much you want to earn. That's it.

More links concerning this whole story: HispaLibertas got me surfing (and most probably ruined my holiday tomorrow morning) , ZDNet has seen things too and calls it a "trap" (well maybe, for geeky people), and here's where a lot of people were sweating hard to help us out.

This kind of (very!) targeted advertising has been done before, but I think Google got way further in it this time. A company that can make people scream out "Thank you for the inspiration!" can count on their clients' support for a very long time.

05:15 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (4) |  Facebook |


Trackback trackback, see URL below

Gepost door: LVB | 13-07-04

Hmm ... trackback :-)) thanks much for the linkage Luc!

Gepost door: Flint | 13-07-04

Google Ads Astronomy magazine is running similar ads, though it's clear they're for Google. Here's an example:

Picture a vending machine with approximately 30 products available, with selection numbers like 1431, 1886, 1580, etc. The keypad has 21 separate buttons, such as: 16,7,13,19,27,73,11...

The instructions say:
Press five different (but not necessarily distinct) buttons to be put into this formula; A x B + C - D + E, which will be claculated to get the snack you want. Identify the snack you can't get.

You are then instructed to send your solution, along with your resume, to Google. Interesting approach.

Gepost door: Michael Hiteshew | 03-08-04

Thanks for the info Michael, nice blog you have there by the way!

Gepost door: Flint | 04-08-04

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