Here they are, pictures of the mysterious new "algorithm" billboards that have been popping up along Highway 101 between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. They're Ask
's own, Valleywag has confirmed. At first, we wondered whether the campaign was a tongue-in-cheek response
, by Google
, to Ask's negative advertising
. One of the slogans, "The Algorithm Killed Jeeves," appeared to refer to the also-ran search engine's trademark butler; Google is the company with the world-conquering algorithm. And Google had been tweaked by a faux-guerrilla campaign by Barry Diller
's Ask, which papered the city's underground, and lampposts, with an appeal to consumers to break the information monopoly. But who are we kidding? Like Google cares. Valleywag's photographer got close enough to the 101 billboards to spot the Ask.com credit, in discreet letters, at the bottom left. (Photographs below.) That would fit: a second billboard -- The Algorithm Is From Jersey -- makes a reference to the home state of Ask's search brains trust. Anyway, the IAC
search engine company got us to notice. But, now that we're paying attention, please somebody explain the ridiculously confusing message.