Google Searches for Ad Dollars in Social Networks

New patents aim to pry profits from patterns

2 min read

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently published a series of intriguing patent applications from Google. They raise questions about the search giant’s significance for the profitability of social networks—and whether anyone has figured out how best to translate Web 2.0 hype into bankable income. Dozens of social-networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, and Friendster continue to flourish like Web startâ''ups in the dot-com heyday—consuming engineering talent, computing resources, and thousands of lines of code along the way. But no one has yet found the golden keys to profitability. The three Google patents, which rely on language processing and other technology to search for patterns in data, could ratchet up social networks’ ad revenue by better targeting ads to individuals, experts say.

Most social network sites rely on ads for revenue, but according to New York City research firm eMarketer, those sites account for just one US $1.4 billion slice of the $50 billion online advertising pie. A good click-through rate for advertising on traditional media sites is 2 percent, but ”on Facebook, you’re lucky if you’re going to get 0.3 percent,” says Jaffer Ali, CEO of online advertising agency Vidsense, based in Mokena, Ill.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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