Web advertising vs.social search

April 20, 2009 by George Eberstadt

Catching up on my reading.  Sorry, this’ll be old news to those who stay current.  Eric Clemons, a professor at Wharton, wrote a piece on TechCrunch a month ago titled “Why Advertising Is Failing on the Internet.”  It stirred up some controversy — 753 comments on TC as of now.  The core of his point is that consumers don’t trust or want advertising, and on the internet there are alternative, more trusted and welcome ways for consumers to get info.

What I just want to point out here is his commentary about what WILL work.  Along with a few other ideas, he writes:

Social search. Social search is a way of tailoring search based on the user’s network of friends.  Rather than searching for any hotel in Chicago, or for any hotel that paid for the keywords “hotel” and “Chicago” I would like to be able to ask for the hotel where my friends stay when they are in Chicago.  This invades no one’s privacy, avoids the annoyance of pushing ads at me when I am not searching for something to buy, and provides more relevant results than paid search usually can deliver.

We agree.