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People have been saying that ads are going to be more targeted on the Web since the 1990’s. The more data we give to corporations, the better they can “serve us” ads which “meet our needs”.

I read that again on Scott Adams’ blog a little while ago. I’m doubtful that more data → more targeted ads, because Gmail and Facebook each know about a jillion things about me, and I still see irrelevant ads frequently.

Here are my made-up guesses of why ads are still irrelevant:

  • it’s cheap to serve irrelevant ads (true in email)
  • no matter how much data, people don’t currently know what to do with it — their models aren’t good enough to weed out false positives (non-customers)

I don’t bring this up to complain, I bring it up because I wonder if a team of mathematicians, psychologists, dataists / statisticians, and marketers, couldn’t do better ad targeting and make a business of it. Maybe Mathematical Capital would invest in a business like this.

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