Advertising Feed back Loop: Facebook and Adwords

In Systems design a feedback loop is something that measures the difference between expected and actual output and adds it back to the system to enhance it’s performance

For a better more accurate definition see

Here is how Facebook measures the satisfaction whether I got for an ad on my page- note fraudelent or systematic cheaters would be eliminated by the law of averages.

It places a very small thumbs up or thumbs down on an ad on right hand corner.

When I place a thumbs down on an ad ( note it shows only graphical ads)-it asks me why i didnt like the ad

Was it

1) Misleading
2) Offensive
3) Uninteresting
4) Irrelevant
5) Repetitive
6) Other- allows text mining of free form allowing subjective feedback.

However if I type say Business Intelligence on Google – I get the following

Open Source Ad on Pentaho at prime spot just above the results. Makes me wonder how much open source will spend.

Search Results-
Wikepedia entry usually at the top ( but no ads there*)

Search Optimization means SAS Business Intelligence is now fifth from top- which is the first mention of a BI vendor there ( Note cost to SAS is zero as you can see below). In the remaining top 4, two are similar and as the title page tag remains more important than sheer consumer behaviour to Pagerank.

Right Column Sponsored Links ( These guys spend more money than SAS to be on the sponsored links and still end up in a less favourable ad page than in top vendor on search results page)-


(Note from Ajay*- A senior IIM Alumnus CK Prahlad (the first batch in fact) – first expounded the concept of core competence-

Now-what is Google’s core competence.
I believe that Google should simply donate all its information on wikipedia, and offer Google Knol to it- rather than just wallow in sunk cost theory or expect an immediate return from this transaction. It will get lots of goodwill- and maybe the Google Wikipedia Knol will take off.

Similarly sell Orkut to Facebook and just take the advertising and search functions to be combined in a seperate spin off called Google Search before Microsoft forces the Europeans and Justice department to do so.

Or continue to moon the giant.)

I didnt like the Adwords ads or the order they were in. But there is no way in Adwords for me to give feedback to it. Facebook listens. Will Adwords listen.

Saving the New York Times from itself

The iconic newspaper New York Times, flagpole for progressive, liberal and communist thinkers (depending on where you stand) is under attack again.

It is under attack from the stupidity of its old school old fashioned presses, who believe cutting thousands of trees every year to make loss making newspapers is better than just putting the News on a Kindle, on an iPhone, on an RSS feed. Apparently online advertising is a difficult topic for the Pulitzer prize winning newspaper to master which has Nobel writers in its hallowed mustachioed and sometimes dowdy columnists.


If the NYT just shut down its paper division and shift to a paperless world, it would save lots of money, and earn lot more money from the online world. They can ask their own technology columnists and strategists if this is possible- and ask Google for help. Google with it’s Al Gore links, environmental standing and hunger for more and better online advertising can definitely team up (but for those anti trust worries alas)

So here is a Facebook cause- Save the NYTimes.  You can join up here –

It has 37 members already and I created it some time back in December 2008. If you love newspapers and want the NYT to shape up, then join up.



How to spend less time on Twitter and get more work done

If you are interested in using Twitter, can’t spend too much time and often wonder “Now What” after sending an update —-this post may be right for you.

If you think Twitter is less important than reading email, this may help change your perspective.

If you don’t use Gmail and wont use Twitter, then this is an irrelevant post and you can skip to the end of the post)

Enter the Twitter Gadget



What does it do-

It embeds Twitter in a handy margin next to me. So I can do my emails ( which are on Gmail by the way) and also tweet from time to time.

Take a look. Read more here –





(Note from Ajay

Names of Twitter Applications begin with Tw (Tweet this tweet that) the same way names of  iphone applications begin with an iNote, iCare.

Fortunately names of Facebook applications do not begin with Fac….but you need to look harder to find where applications are in the new Facebook layout. The new FB layout should be called Flackbook but seriously…)

Facebook Design Changes

Cooler. Sleeker. Check out

Here’s my new profile– Its like it just re designed by some Apple guy (what  is Apple doing that they are keeping secret…anything at all in social networking)

Mark Zuckenberg will have that 15 billion Dollar valuation yet, even if he has to slay all the Open Social Networks put together. No wonder MS and FB are coming closer…enemy of enemy of my friend and all that.

Besides the fact that founders of Microsoft and Facebook are Harvard droputs.

That’s my new business plan. Get into Harvard, be the founder of a new company, drop out.

Statistically it should work !Or get in Stanford and drop out .

Orkut and the Quiet Open Social Revolution

Orkut has worked very hard with

1) avoiding clutter unlike the FB (apps go in the left)

2) customized page themes

3) integration with the gtalk

4) scraps/ wall posts updates

5) some better games than FB. yes i especially liked Space invader

almost like a flash game

which hasnot

been seen in some time. And most FB games were there !!

This is one Google product they are keeping much quiet about- wonder if they are

changing their high profile ways with the justice department sniffing on the yahoo deal.

Heres a preview – Go and revive that old Orkut account of yours

The Math behind online strategy games

Online strategy games are the kind people play on Facebook , with thousands of multiple users logging in. The graphics are not as demanding as those in a virtual world (like or World of Warcraft )


These graphical games are hugely entertaining and addictive. unfortunately World of Warcraft is not present either in India or China.


However this post talks about simpler games (which are more like optimization problems). Here gamers get a specific or variable game currency to spend (which can be tokens, gold ,or dollars). The amounts can be fixed or varying dependent on current position. The gamer then has to allocate the currency into multiple resources that increase his net worth (or prevent his net worth from decreasing by other gamer’s interventions “attacks”) .  These multiple resources can be defensive (to prevent other gamers from stealing worth or value/score) , aggresive (to steal other gamers value) or passively accretive (enhances value on stand alone basis). Usually the costs of these resources are different with different benefits . The benefits are either fixed (like in the games Triumph or Return of the Infernals ..below) or they vary (as in the game DopeWars Online).


To further enhance the optimization complexity , gamers can form alliances or cartels to co ordinate strategy against other gamers.

Such games help in simulating operations production, market forces in business strategy (like the beer game) , and have now taken the leap into free online games thanks to Google’s Open social initiative and Facebook’s  pioneering application building by third party developers.

Ultimately they are simply optimization equations which seek to maximize net worth or score of a player subject to multiple fixed and variable constraints.

A good website to track the world of games is

This is a fast growing industry and creativity in designing a simple front end,financial resources to host servers , and some maths to run the back end optimization is all that is required .

You might just get some interesting cash flows from advertising, in game promotions,premium subscriptions , and bonus packs besides enjoying the game of course.

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