Letting Advertisers Decide Upon Values of Ads: Impressions, Click-Throughs, and Pay-Per-Action

Google’s Inside Adwords blog announced a limited test of a new advertising system on Tuesday, which would allow advertisers determine the value of certain actions (pay-per-action, or ppc).

The AdWords Help Center has an even more extensively detailed explanation of what Pay-Per-Action is, and how it might work. in their Pay-Per-Action FAQ. In both, there’s discussion that under this kind of approach, the advertiser would determine what value a pay-per-action add might cost.

A new patent application from Google explores this concept of having advertisers define the value of a click, or impression, or action – such as a specifically defined conversion. This includes how much an advertiser might pay to appear on a specific site, or what they might be willing to pay for a certain number of impressions or clickthroughs for different keyword phrases. Pay-per-action is one part of this larger system, and the system could also include offline advertising options.

A long and detailed document, the patent application is worth a read if you engage in purchasing advertising through a search engine:

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Searching Google on a Phone Without a Browser

Phone with Specialized Google Search Software

In a new patent application, Google unveils a specialized client software that isn’t a web browser, for searching through the Google search engine on mobile devices, and for viewing emails. This software can read html, but doesn’t work quite the same way that normal web browsers do.

I wrote a post last night at Search Engine Land on a patent application from Google on how they might speed up the reception of search results, in response to a query – New Google Mobile Phone Search Patent Application. It’s difficult to tell whether or not that method would work with this specialized software, but the patent documents do share authors, so it’s possible that they could function together.

Customized data retrieval applications for mobile devices providing interpretation of markup language data
Invented by Elad Gil, Shumeet Baluja, Maryam Kamvar, and Cedric Beust
US Patent Application 20070066364
Published March 22, 2007
Filed: September 19, 2005

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Mark Pilgrim to Join Google

Technologist, author, blogger, and accessibility expert Mark Pilgrim announced yesterday that he will be joining Google.

One of my longtime favorite sites from Mark Pilgrim is Dive Into Accessibility (no longer available), which provides a 30 day, step-by-step approach to making web sites more accessible to visitors and to search engines. The site was written in 2002, and is a little dated, but still very much worth visiting if you own a web site. It uses fairly simple and plain language, and describes accessibility benefits that you can provide to users of your web site, with some very nice examples.

Other free online books and articles by Mark Pilgrim are a little more technical, and include Dive Into Greasemonkey, Dive Into Python, and a series of columns that he wrote at O’Reilly’s XML.com on RSS and XML.

Mark Pilgrim has also been involved in a number of free software initiatives, and if you’ve ever validated an RSS feed at feedvalidator.org, you’ve used one of the applications that he has been involved in building.

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Yahoo Research Looks at Templates and Search Engine Indexing

There has been a tremendous amount of growth, over the past few years, of web sites that use content management systems, such as blogs, ecommerce shopping sites, wikis, and others. How might that affect how search engines index the pages of those sites?

A new Yahoo Research paper, Page-level Template Detection via Isotonic Smoothing (pdf), discusses some of the problems that exist with so many sites using templates, and a method to use to try to understand if a page is using a template. Here’s a snippet from the paper:

The increased use of content-management systems to generate webpages has significantly enriched the browsing experience of end users; the multitude of site navigation links, sidebars, copyright notices, and timestamps provide easy to access and often useful information to the users.

From an objective standpoint, however, these “template” structures pollute the content by digressing from the main topic of discourse of the webpage.

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Google’s Patent Application on Advertising Offline

It’s hard to know the future of Google’s print ads program. Or on television or other media. Here’s a quick peek from an expired provisional patent from Google that may give us a hint of one possible future:

Google Television Advertising
(Click through the image, and then on “all sizes” to see the largest version on Flickr.)

The Google Print Ads team home page tells us that the conducted an experiment with ads in premium magazine titles in 2006, and that they are “exploring ways to add value to newspaper advertising.” They ask advertisers who might be interested in participating in such tests to contact them.

Google’s patent application on advertising through print publications adds some interesting twists on the topic of offline advertising. It includes much more than just magazines the description within the document focuses upon how it would be applied to print publications. The actual patent claim goes beyond magazines:

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Positive and Negative Quality Ranking Factors from Google’s Blog Search (Patent Application)

Google’s blog search shows results in responses to searchers queries based upon a combination of relevance scores and quality scores.

The relevance scores are based upon the search query terms entered into the search box by a searcher, and use traditional styled information retrieval scores for documents. These scores could be created by looking at:

  • Number of times search terms appear in a blog post.
  • Places where search terms appear within the document (such as title or the text within the body of the post),
  • Characteristics of search terms appearing on the pages (such as font, size, color, etc.),
  • Search terms may be weighted differently from other search term when multiple search terms are present.
  • Proximity of search terms when multiple search terms are present may influence the IR score, and;
  • Other techniques for determining the IR score for a document can also be used.

In addition to a relevance score, the search engine looks at a quality score. A new patent application from Google discusses possible positive and negative ranking factors that might go into that quality scores that might be used by Google Blog Search, and provides some explanations for each of those factors.

Ranking blog documents
Invented by Andriy Bihun, Jason Goldman, Alex Khesin, Vinod Marur, Eduardo Morales, and Jeff Reynar
US Patent Application 20070061297
Published March 15, 2007
Filed: September 13, 2005

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