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Tue 3 Apr

Ask's advertising campaign

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. 444168708 Ceaeba5755
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Comments

Their trying to drum up buzz for their new search algorithm. My guess is that they've phased out any paid humans guiding and shaping results for particular terms, though I'll bet there's probably still paid placement.

Look for "the algorithm" to get it's own lovable cartoon character! Now that's something Barry Diller can understand.

What about the billboard on 85 that says "The algorithm is banned in China"? What does that mean?

I noticed these only yesterday, here in NYC. The (c) Ask.com 2007 fine print was only noticeable when the advert would roll up to the next. I think it's a pretty insightful play on the association between Google and the term "algorithm," which seems pretty strong. I've also been noticing the continued growth of anti-Google sentiment, or at least doubt, since at least the China incident passed through the news. As much as I like their willingness to move forward with these faux-guerilla tactics (more like guerillas funded by the Reagan admin), I just don't know that I can lament a service I stopped using for the sole reason that it was just not an effective way for me to do research.

I remain amused by the fact that when you go to Ask.com and search for these billboards using any of their catchy marketing sentences, no information regarding them can be found... a perfect example of why everyone uses google...

No commenter image uploaded btk says:

I believe the "algorithm banned in China" billboard refers to the fact that China restricts internet usage, so it is very likely that ask.com is in fact banned in China. Google does exist in a limited form in China, one which prevents results from being displayed for searches related to human rights and other topics the communists wish to prevent their population from being educated on/about.

I think these ad are damn funny! Who cares about you Googlers... did you forget how to laugh? It's f-u-n-n-y!

David Becker of Wired posted some of the lamest technology mascots of all time. To quote: Creatures such as Tux the penguin have become bizarrely treasured icons, while others, such as recent roadside-autopsy subject Jeeves, are better off in the hereafter.

My letter to Ask.

Dear ASK Team and ASK Leaders:

'the Algorithm Is Banned In China' billboard in S.F.is stunning!
Does it mean that China is not allowing ASK into its market?


'Falun Gong Is Banned In China'

China is afraid of human rights, and using Ask, would yield/reveal search results about human rights. Examples of search results:
www.ninecomentaries.com (documents crimes of humanity by the CCP)
http://eng.soundofhope.org/ (documents organ harvesting crimes)
www.clearwisdom.net

On July 20, 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) declared war on a peaceful meditation practice of Falun Gong and banned it! Immediately 100 million people in China had to stop the mediation or face punishment, imprisonment, torture and or death!

In efforts to stop the practice, the CCP orchestrated and staged "immolations", controlled its media to broadcast lies, and poisoned people's minds. To this day the CCP continues to imprison, torture, and harvest organs of living Falun Gong practioners.

In response to saving people from the evil persecutions, the websites listed above, are published to bring information to the world about what is happening.

Why is the algorithm banned in China? I wanted to let you know, the above information.

Through your message, perhaps the world will come to know why "the Algorithm Is Banned in China"
Keep up the important work!


--Karen.

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