One of These Things is Not Like the Others

Standard

I subscribe to a few Moreover ad-supported RSS feeds. They were preloaded in FeedDemon when I installed it, and I’ve held on to the subscriptions mostly to get a better idea of their approach to ad-supported feeds. It’s worth noting, however, that I consider all the Moreover feeds to be utterly useless except for this research: the feeds are headline only. Summary feeds are irritating enough, and at least those give me some idea of the post content. I’ve never, ever seen a headline in a Moreover feed that was compelling enough to get me to click through to the actual article.

But I digress. Here’s the game for today: I’ve picked five consecutive headlines that appeared each day in the Moreover/ZDNet feed on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. I’ll list them below, and you guess which headlines I believe are not like the others…

Wednesday, 26 January
Bloggers tackle the Super Bowl
ADV:Long Lasting Chest Congestion Relief
Apple patches OS X
Red Hat testing developer tool
RFID is now mainstream

Tuesday, 25 January
Sun to release Solaris code today
Firefox lead programmer now a Googlista
Workplace gets an update
Windows HTML flaw persists
ADV:IRS Tax Debt Relief Fast

Can you guess? Can you? I’ll give you one more hint, just in case:

No one is interested in topics that are “relevant to everyone.”

I have to imagine that whether it was a machine or a person queueing those ads up for inclusion in the ZDNet feed, the logic went something like this:

On Tuesday it was noted that 2004 just ended and tax time will be rolling around all too soon. It was further noted that people who are interested in technology pay taxes, and therefore they might be interested in IRS Tax Debt Relief Fast. After all, that’s a universal issue, and relevant to everyone…

On Wednesday, it was noted that it’s winter — a particularly cold and nasty one a lot of places. It was further noted that people who are interested in technology get sick, and therefore they might be interested in Long Lasting Chest Congestion Relief. After all, that’s a universal issue, and relevant to everyone…

Now I know that this may sound odd, but I don’t read the articles on ZDNet for tax advice, nor for health care advice. I will concede that both taxes and illness are issues that are relevant to me in a general way, but they are in no way related to the topics that I expect to be addressed in this feed. Nor, for that matter, are they related to the topics that actually are addressed in the feed’s non-advertising content.

No question about it, I have to finish my post on the logic of list segmentation. These people were handed a gift-wrapped basket full of targeted audience and they still managed to fuck it up. Incredible.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/3964002 Rohan Singh

    this won’t really help you with the moreover problem, but i thought i’d point out that several aggregators have a way to get around the annoying summaries. for example NewsGator has a template which you can set for feeds that are summary-only, and it will actually grab the entire page and display it instead of the summary from the feed.

    but still, it is pretty ugly, which is why i hate modblog.