Friday, 20 February, 2009

The Perils of not researching before posting

Ever since I started blogging, I have found that the writing part takes much lesser time than the research part.

Because my blog attracts people of a certain minimum intelligence and awareness, I have to be very very particular about facts. With Google today, it is very easy to look up facts.

This is like basic, a GIVEN.

So, imagine my surprise when I read this article by Tavleen Singh in the Indian Express.

Basically, she saw LK Advani advertising campaign on the Dawn newspaper website. The Dawn is a popular newspaper in Pakistan.

So, she commented, why is Mr. Advani asking for votes in Pakistan.

Had Ms. Singh done any research by going to Help section at Google Adwords, she would have realized that Google makes money using contextual advertising.

Google tracks IP (Internet Protocol) address, the unique (well almost) identifier of your internet location.

This allows Google to show relevant advertisements.

And Google has got so good at it that it tracks this not at country level, not at state level, not at City level, but (in metros at least) at the residential area level.

So, if you surfing net in Delhi, Google can detect ~ precisely that you are from which area of Delhi. And thus it shows advertisements relevant to you. So it would not show advertisements of a Bangalore store running a Sale since that would be irrelevant to you if you were in Delhi.

The key is where are you accessing Internet from.

So, when Ms. Singh surfs the Internet, she does it from Delhi. And smartly enough, LK Advani campaign shows up since she being a surfer from Delhi is a potential voter.

While she tried to spoof Mr. Advani, unfortunately the egg is on her face.

It is human to err, to seek forgiveness takes a big man.

I do hope in interest of journalist ethics, Ms. Singh would own up her error in the next post of hers.

That would be the only fair and ethical thing to do.

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