Ben Langhinrichs

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Kontera's stupid 'smart links'

Tue 26 May 2009, 09:12 AM

by Ben Langhinrichs
Do people remember search engines before Google?  While useful, the number of results and the lack of well designed algorithms meant that you would wind up manually stepping through a lot of muck trying to find a useful result.  Google transformed the search engine into something far more useful by getting a lot smarter at determining what you were likely to want to see.

What brought this to mind today was another sour experience with Kontera.  These "in-text" advertisements are popping up in more places, purporting to be "smart links" but feeling more like "stupid links".  For example, I went to Niklas Waller's post on TinyMCE, and saw various links.  When mousing over them, I would have laughed if it were not so painful.  The contextual advertisement for "WYSIWYG editors" is shown below and has to do with book editors, the advertisement for "AJAX" had to do with the cleanser, and the advertisement for "browsers" had to do with Internet Explorer.

Kontera's ads

What did these add to the experience?  Nothing.  The first two were not relevant, and only managed to muddy up the experience of the original post.  The third was at least relevant, but given that I was using Firefox 3 to view the link, it still added nothing useful.  Someday, Kontera, or somebody else, may figure out how to do enough analysis of the surrounding post to give useful results, but right now it is just a blight on the web content.

Copyright 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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