A quick puzzle

If I said that in my opinion

AdSense : behaviorial targeting :: hydrogen bonds : van der Waals forces

how would you interpret that?

Update, 6/24/2007: In the same way that hydrogen bonds are much stronger than van der Waals forces, I personally consider AdSense targeting stronger than behavioral targeting. Why? Because behavioral targeting might learn that I like TiVo or Terry Pratchett, but I don’t want to see TiVo ads everywhere I surf on the web. But suppose someone sends me a link to a lolcat page and I go there. At the moment I’m on the lolcat page, you know I’m interested in that topic at that moment, because I chose to go there. So AdSense, by targeting to the content of a page, is more likely to show relevant ads based on my interests at that instant. Just my opinion.

102 Responses to A quick puzzle (Leave a comment)

  1. Matt

    I will say don’t post while you are drunk 🙂

  2. The typical hydrogen bond is stronger than van der Waals forces, similarly Adsense is much more than mere behaviorial targeting.

  3. Adsense is targeted to specific individuals while van der Waals forces and not “targeted” at all.

  4. Behavioral targeting makes AdSense more attractive?

  5. A bit of an overstatement. These natural forces are much more trustable.

  6. Harith, does that sound like drunken writing? 🙂

  7. If that’s drunk posting… man I dunno. Matt’s a lot more interesting than I gave him credit for. 🙂

    I’d interpret it as behaviorial targeting and AdSense are related but not the same.

    Yeah, wikipedia and vague memories of HS physics!

  8. Matt

    Not exactly. However, one can never tell which effect all those Sprites might have on aperson. Better to change to Pepsi Max 🙂

  9. According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_bond

    “The typical hydrogen bond is stronger than van der Waals forces, but weaker than covalent or ionic bonds.”

    Hmmm…. So…. Hydrogen bonds are not as strong as van der Waals forces….just like Adsense ad trageting is not as good as behaviorial targeting???

    Well thats what i got!

  10. specious:argument

    See my blog article for expansion.

  11. Way too hard, don’t you have a picture of a cat or something you show us instead? Actually Ime thinks Khoj already gets the prize.

  12. “In vacuum, London forces (van der Waals forces) are weaker than other intermolecular forces such as ionic interactions, hydrogen bonding, or permanent dipole-dipole interactions.” (Wikipedia)

    Here is the key for your message, right?


  13. puzzles on Matt’s blog : anything else :: hydrogen bonds : van der Waals forces

  14. I would say that your opinion will be interpreted as Google’s official announcement of acquiring the new Dutch behavioral-marketing startup Van der Waals Inc. Naturally, any hydrogen stocks or bond activity will be frozen until the process is complete.

  15. I’d say Adsense still has a long way to go.

    On the other hand, you’re comparing physical facts to something that can still be changed. Do you think hydrogen bonds and van der Waals forces are as variable as Adsense or behavioral targeting?

  16. I would read it like this – replace the : with ‘relates to’ and the ‘::’ as in ‘like’ or ‘in the same way’.. That is purely from looking at the context, after initially considering it might have something to do with perl (namespace – I can’t remember) 🙂

    AdSense is to behaviorial targeting as hydrogen bonds is to van der Waals forces…

    So, since it’s been a while since I’ve done chemistry, a simple google search – http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=van+der+waals+forces+and+hydrogen+bonds&btnG=Search&meta=

    The second result shows a snippet that looks relevant…


    which tells me that van der waals forces (usually weak) that exist between adjacent molecules of the same compound..

    It turns out compounds that have a specific atom in them (hydrogen) bound to one of three specific atoms (oxygen, fluorine or nitrogen) have a particularly strong form of van der waals forces between them.. that is, the molecule is ‘polar’ and groups of molecules tend to self organise in a particular way under normal circumstances..

    I know what adsense is, and I have an idea what behaviorial targeting is, but need to know more about the latter – again – back to google – ‘what is behaviorial targetting” returns this link – http://www.dangoldstein.com/dsn/archives/2005/05/what_is_behavio_1.html

    After reading that, I confirm that behaviorial targeting is serving ads based upon a users recent behaviour / interests… hmm.. that’s what I thought.

    So we have a broad science (behavioral targeting) and a focussed application (adsense)..

    Are you perhaps saying that Adsense is the STRONGEST or BEST form of behavioral targeting?? That amongst other forms of behavioural targeting, Adsense is the glue that outcompetes other behavioral targeting glues??


  17. That contextual targeting – understanding what the page is about/what the author wrote about … is stronger/different than behaviorial targeting/what the reader have done in the past.

    I’ve read a few blog posts and patents from search engineers where they seemed to suggest that the holy grail is ‘searcher intent’.

    I suppose that is different than AdSense. When I ran AdSense, as the publisher, I wanted to see Ads that were appropriate to my site. My intent was to show quality ads. I guess that may have been different from my readers’ intent (I don’t suppose they ever intended to click on AdSense when they came to visit my gaming site).

  18. Van der Waals forces are more stable than a hydrogen bond, disallowing as they do in some gasses the easy transition into liquid.

    Thus, are you suggesting that Adsense is more “fluid” in its purview and gives the ‘adsense provider’ (The website owner) the ability to throw content related ads dependant on the viewer, rather than the slower reactions of “behaviorial targeting” which relies on past behaviour?

  19. Andrew is right – it’s about intent. AdSense doesn’t even do conceptual matching, it appears to be a word scrape. So, hmm, “software download” could easily match “dvd download” and “mp3 download” – that’s not even particularly strong contextual matching.

    Comparing a weak linguistic hack with Behavioural Targeting is simply not right.

    AdSense : Behavioural Targeting :: specious : argument

    (In my rush to reply at length in an article, I elided my previous comment).

  20. Hydrogen bonds are strong and fixed (they rely on the structure and innate properties of a molecule). Van Der Waals forces are less concrete and a bit more abstract (they rely on the movement/distribution of localized charge with time)

    I guess that the puzzle is saying the same thing about Adsense vs Behavioral Targeting. AdSense is fairly strong, but rigid, Behavioral Targeting is less strong, but more flexible/adaptive.

    Whether that statement is correct is another puzzle entirely.

  21. Yup – I agree with Andrew – he’s hit the nail on the head imho – but I’d say ‘more relevant’ rather than stronger / different. Good work mate!



  22. AdSense : behavioral targeting :: hydrogen bonds : van der Waals forces

    In Short Adsense rocks over BT, will that make

    Mattcutts: Newton :: Google: MSN 🙂

    Whenever I see behavioral targeting, I wonder how will the world do it for women http://ajinimc.hedir.com/2006/03/05/what-a-woman-really-wants-enjoy/

  23. >> AdSense : behaviorial targeting :: hydrogen bonds : van der Waals forces

    Let’s see, van der Waals forces is about noble gases, which are relatively stable and hydrogen is rather difficult to condense compared to larger atoms.

    Therefore, I would assume that you’re describing that you’ve condensed bonds between two extremely stable elements, albeit difficult.

    Ok, I’m mildly inebriated which is never good for solving chemistry questions, maybe tomorrow…

  24. I’ve got it:

    AdSense brings people together, but it’s not as strong a force as chemistry 🙂

  25. Adsense is to behaviorial targeting like hydrogen bonds are to van der Waals forces

    … whatever that means. Maybe I’m a literal interpreter

  26. AdSense for Scientists: targeted nano advertising / ads you can only read using an electron microscope?

  27. AdSense : behaviorial targeting :: hydrogen bonds : van der Waals forces.

    A hydrogen bond is a special type of attractive interaction

    Secondary bonding usually occurs after primary bonding has taken place. These are weak bonds which are best demonstrated by the rare gases because in these cases no other bond exists.

    Adsense is a special type of behavioural targetting though it is weak compared to adwords which is probably much more behaviorial targeting.

    Just a guess 🙁

  28. AdSense (ads matching the site-content) relates to behavioral targetting (ads matching the site-user) like hydrogen bonds (particles attracted by charge) relates to van-der-waals-bonds (particles attracted by proximity).

    I’d speculate you might intend to say, that AdSense can easily bond ads with content, because it requires knowledge of the content, only. Behavioral targetting on the other hand can build strong bonds only, when the ad is (accidentally) very close to the user.

    Well, I think it really is a puzzle 😉

  29. Don’t forget that Hydrogen bonds are really rare, and van der waals forces are everywhere, lol.

    Serisously, though, surely behavioral targetting would be a great thing to add to adsense (don’t think you really do it yet), far better for clicks. Think about if the person clicks onto a page that is not what they are exactly interested in. Surely those users are way more likely to click if they see an ad that is for something they ARE interested in, and is vaguely related to the page.

    So perhaps this is eluding to bringing in user-tracking like a certain ad network (Double something or other) does with their ads. Google has the data to really target users, and with the web history, and search history results they have they could really personalise well. Don’t forget that both Hydrogen bonds and van der waals forces are both really important.

  30. Could it be reasonable to infer that adsense and behavioural targeting are the forces that hold the internet together ?

  31. I forgot to mention the summary: “Ask? No chance.”

  32. I would interpret it like this:

    Mat Cutts spends too much time on Wikipedia. 80)

  33. AdSense : behaviorial targeting :: hydrogen bonds : van der Waals forces:::google traffic:::google income:::google popularity:::MATT CUTTS BLOG

  34. Don’t forget that Hydrogen bonds are really rare,

    What do you mean when you say “rare”? Hydrogen bonds are bonds betweeen hydrogen molecules in water and are responsible, for example, for the fact that the density of water is higher then the density of ice. You can find water everywhere in our planet , it is not “rare”

  35. I’d say

    adsense:behavioral targeting :: hydrogen bomb:imperialism

  36. I’d say you enjoyed chemistry WAY too much in high school. 😉

  37. AdSense is to behaviorial targeting what hydrogen bonds are to van der Waals forces.

  38. I’d say that you hit your head playing roller hockey. 😉

    Seriously, I know next to nothing about chemistry so I would say that’s nothing more than a six degrees of separation thought pattern and one that I’m notorious for coming up with on a regular basis.

  39. van der waals forces are the forces that drive hydrogen bonding, much in the same way that behavioral targeting is the ‘elemental force’ driving adsense

    (i imagine someone gave this answer already – however, with 4 years of college biology, i just couldn’t not respond)

    although, i guess you could also make the parallel between the ‘scalability’ of hydrogen bonds in nature and the volume of adsense ads on the web for either positive or negative connotations

  40. I think you’ve forgotten that not all of us have Doctorates and know what the heck a Van Der Waal Force is… Given that, I guess I’ll have to Google it. 😉

  41. That got me chuckling. A hydrogen bond is a weak polar bond, while Van der Waal’s bonds are non-polar. Hydrogen bonding is critical for the structure of DNA and many other biomolecules. OK I am getting too technical.

    Adsense works through a different mechanism than behavioral targeting

  42. You guys are way off base.

    You see, the statement Matt is making means that the server gerbils that run AdSense have created an alternate form of clean energy by using the hydrogen bonds and van der Waals forces of their spinning wheels, thereby solving the looming dilemma of global warming!

    Way to go green Matt and Google!

  43. My brain instantly says:

    Ann is taller than Jane and Jane is shorter than Ben – who is the tallest?


  44. Well, it’s translation, not interpretation, but according to Google:
    into French: AdSense : optimisation behaviorial : : liens d’hydrogène : forces de van der Waals
    into German- AdSense: behaviorial Zielen:: Wasserstoffbindungen: van Der Waals Kräfte
    into Italian- AdSense: ottimizzazione behaviorial:: legami dell’idrogeno: forze del van der Waals
    into Portuguese- AdSense: escolha de objectivos behaviorial:: ligações do hidrogênio: forças de camionete der Waals
    into Russian- AdSense : behaviorial ориентации : : водородных связей : ван-дер-ваальсовых сил
    into Spanish: AdSense: el apuntar behaviorial:: enlaces del hidrógeno: fuerzas de van der Waals

  45. A few people are getting close to the second part. Keep guessing on the first part though.

  46. Answer this question correctly and…. get a job offer from Google? [Billboard on the 101 coming soon…] 😉

  47. hydrogen bond = attractive interaction
    natural attraction between elements

    van der Waals forces = attraction by chemical forces
    attraction by using chemical force

    AdSense = marketing by attraction
    showing the ad most fitted to the content

    behavioral targeting = marketing by using force
    showing the ad upon gathered information on behavior

    so, one could say the first is based upon its surrounding (a natural proces) and the latter is based upon intervening (more or less unnatural)

  48. My interpretation is that AdSense ads have or will become more stable by introducing behavoiral data.

    Matt, is this your fun way of announcing that AdSense is becoming more relevant as Google introduces behavioral data rather than a simple page-scrape content keyword match?

    If so, there are two different types of behavioral data Google could introduce to AdSense ads:

    One would be to make better use the data Google has about a user through their behavoirs in Google Search, Gmail, Google personalization, etc. when displaying ads an adsense partner sites.

    The other would be a more immediate fix (in my mind), would be to introduce better click through data (behavoir) on the ads within AdSense on a particular site, more like what is experienced with Google Adwords. An example would be a general article on “Food Staples” using the click through behavior to learn that people reading that article are not interested in office supplies, but are interested in potatoes. This makes complete sense to me because often times I’ll see AdSense ads that are way off target (mostly on news sites or other general sites where Google doesn’t have an overall theme to go by).

    Am I close or am I off by 100%?

  49. @ WebConnoisseur

    So the way we would surf, behave on the internet, would be the basis to show us ads, when visiting sites?

    I think that would be the wrong way!

    Most of the time i am surfing from one page to another, so when i am looking for something specific, that does not mean i would be interested in ads build upon my earlier behavior.

    Further more, i don’t think if implemented that way, it would be a progression for adwords. I have them on some of my pages to and have no problem whatever with the relevancy of the ads.

    If, as a site owner, one has problems while google is showing some irrelevant ads, one should consider building better pages!

  50. So, recapping… Hydrogen bonds are variable in strength but typically much stronger than Van Der Waals forces. Hydrogen bonds are common in many materials, and Van Der Waals forces are rare.

    So I think you are drawing the analogy that AdSense is a generally stronger force than behavioral targeting systems, and more ubiquitous?

  51. Tonnie,
    I agree – it would be the wrong way. That’s why I worded it:

    “…to make better use of the data Google has about a user through their behavoirs…”

    To flip it completely over would be a disaster, but to include it in the factoring (even if it were just a 5% factor) could make it a bit stronger. Even then, I think it would be difficult to pull off, that’s why I stated:

    “…a more immediate fix (in my mind), would be to introduce better click through data (behavoir) on the ads within AdSense on a particular site…”

    I know some webmasters who are frustrated with the adsense ads that show up on their site for two reasons: 1) shady ads and 2) irrelevant ads. This is particularly important for sites who aren’t as good at SEO as you and I. Adwords, which uses more behavorial click-through data (I believe) seems to handle it much better, but it seems like adsense doesn’t have the same level of sophistication.

    I could be completely wrong, of course. Ads are not my specialty, but I’m a sucker for a Matt Cutts puzzle.

  52. I don’t get the full AdSense part, but the first thought that comes to mind comparing hydrogen bonds with Van der Waals forces is that while Van der Waals forces are very weak, when there are many working together with each other they form an attraction between two components that is as strong (if not stronger) than the ‘strong’ hydrogen bond.

    Also that Van der Waals forces occur between molecules that have a complimentary structure.

    Does that help anyone?

  53. AdSense : Adwords Arbitrage :: hydrogen bonds : van der Waals forces

    In defense of the Adsense – Adsense is only as good as the written copy so quit your bitchin!

    Sorry, what was the question? 🙂

  54. If I said that in my opinion

    [AdSense (targeting) : behaviorial targeting]
    [hydrogen bonds : van der Waals forces]

    I would say that, regarding the discussion about the scope of targeting between AdSense targeting and behavioral targeting, I would like to offer scope resolution by defining them as similar to the scope of forces between hydrogen bonds and van der Waals forces.


    Any prizes?

  55. Not very strong in chemistry and conspiracy theories, but I’ll try:
    Van der Waals force is force between molecules, hydrogen bond is force between atoms. That leads us to thought that Van der Waals force is outside (molecules consist of atoms) and hydrogen bond is inside.

    adsense hyd.bond inside
    ——- = ——– = ——-
    beh.tar v.d.w.f outside

    i.e. => AdSense is INSIDE of behavoiral targeting.

    Since most of (by quantities) AdSense sites are really small and generate ~1-2 shows per visit – it’s hard to learn customers’ behaviour (what he likes and dislikes) on one site, probably is AdSense monitors our behavoiur on all sites we visit to show us the most tailored ads.


    And there is some food for conspiracy theorists: Google is now spying whereever you go – you’ll see only AdSense ads that you are 100% sure to click (the motive is to please shareholders of course).

    Add to that something from patents that sound really scary to most of people and has power to give credibility to just about any fact, let’s say it would be Latent Symantic Indexing algorithms and from what you click in Adsense Google can now know what you have at home and what you will have at home within 2 years with 95% probability (because billion of people already clicked the same pattern and behavoiur is obvious to almighty G).


    Just joking, of course 🙂

  56. Since you’ve been talking about privacy in other posts, I’m going to guess that you’re implying that AdSense and its contextual targeting methods are “strong” in terms of protecting end users’ privacy while behavioral targeting is “weak” regarding privacy concerns.

    Incidentally, your puzzle is moot w/o defining which sort of AdSense you’re implying. Is it:
    A) AdSense for Content
    B) AdSense for Search
    C) AdSense for Domains

    Also, I’ll ask your readers this question: Which form of AdSense is not like the others?

    Hint: AdWords users have a choice of ad distribution on the Search network and the Content network. 😉

  57. ? OK, maybe you mean that the relationship between Adsense and Behavioral Targeting is similar to that between Hydrogen bonds and van der Waals forces. But since Hydrogen bonds are more powerful than VdW I’m confused because it seems that Adsense is not reasonably considered stronger than Behavioral Targeting. However… I guess you could argue that Adsense is stronger because it often beats ads that a publisher picks themselves and utilizes math click through stuff as well as behavioral data to create the Adsense pick for the page?

  58. So perhaps I am stating the obvious.

    AdSense it to behaviorial targeting as hydrogen bonds are to van der Waals forces


  59. Certainly an interesting puzzle. I’ve realised that when I think of AdSense, I’m thinking of it from the perspective of an advertiser (that it is the publisher side of AdWords). I probably need to put myself in Google’s shoes, and then think of what AdSense is perceived to represent.

    Then I think you’re making an analogy that matching the content of a site is more powerful than behavioural targeting, and offers greater flexibility.

    That’s an interesting proposition.

  60. What I get is this:

    Adsense provides very specific advertising results that is specialized for the page content (and what a user is reading about at that particular instant). In most cases, users will only click on the Adsense Ad if it specifically matches the information or product they are looking for. Similarly, Hydrogen bonds only exist if the both atoms involved in the attraction are Hydrogen ions. A mismatch in molecules, or in ad/page content, means that both these devices do not work.

    However, behavioral targeting takes an aggregate of all the things that a user is searching for, and makes Ad suggestions based on what they seem to be interested in. If a user sees a behaviorally-targeted Ad that is irrelevant to the page they are on, they might still click on it, because the user has a history of being interested in that topic. So the Behaviorally targeted Ad and the content for which the user is actively looking for don’t have to match. Similarly, Van der Waals forces are a general attraction between molecules. The molecules do not have to be the same for the attractive to work.

    If that was complicated, a simpler version:

    Adsense is specific to page content (and specific to what the user is current reading about). Hydrogen bonds are specific to Hydrogen ions.

    Behavioral targeting is based on aggregate user interest and not specific to what they are looking for at a particular instant. Van der Waals forces are based on aggregate molecular movement and do not depend on the specific molecules involved.

    Does the winner get a free link from your blog?

  61. Adsense + Doubleclick?

  62. I would like to ask you a question:

    Do you think that Google Adsense for domains adds to or subtract from the value of the AdWords content network for the advertisers?

    If you think it adds value: Why?

    The reason I am asking the question is probably pretty obvious right away for you, but for the others reading this: Adsense for Domains is a service that Google Adsense provides to people with too many domains to use for anything useful. Its a way to make money by basically just registering a domain name. As such it might seem as a great service for everyone – also for the advertisers using AdWords.

    BUT; As skilled advertisers on Google AdWords are well aware: A click on the content network is far from as vaulable as a click from the search network. The click-through rate are higher, the price per click is usualy higher, and the conversion rate is usually considerably lower than with search ads.

    With the Adsense for domains it seems to worsen even more. Its hard to quantify though – since Google AdWords gives you no way of opting out of the Google Adsense for domains network.

    When you add to that the fact that a substantial amount of ads on the Google Adsense for domains network are served on domains of typo-squatters and other domain squatters then you start to see the problem with Adsense for AdWords advertisers.

    This isnt news to anyone, so why do we still not have a choice of opting out of the Google Adsense for domains network in AdWords? This has been covered as far back as in 2005: http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/051220-153537

    A good example of how this really is can be found in ndparking.com that is VERY active with various domains – most I have seen very simular to acctual companies web addresses – and based on tricking people into their site when they are really looking for something completely different. These sites arent’ just bad for advertisers on AdWords, its bad for the web – they occupy space with pure machine generated garbage. Its really a paradox that Google – who is trying to give the best possible search results – also are helping spammers make money with their Adsense network and not doing anything to help create better value for the users/searchers and the advertisers.

  63. Upps.. I meant to say the click-through rate on the content network is MUCH lower, not higher. Just want to clarify that.

  64. That you are geekier than me. But in a good way.

  65. I couldn’t spell that sober…..

  66. Chris Finlayson

    AdSense : behavioral targeting :: hydrogen bonds : van der Waals forces

    Hydrogen bonds only occur when there is both a hydrogen bond acceptor and a hydrogen bond donor. When this situation occurs a temporary bond forms that is much stronger than Van der Waals forces, which can occur in any system.

    It seems you are suggesting that AdSense works very well in certain situations. Like maybe when the content contains lots of keywords and there is a high paying/relevant ad for the particular keyword. Behavioral targeting should work in any situation, but is much harder to do in practice. Therefore they are like LDF. Can happen at any time, but they rarely work.

    Sorry for the long response, but we chemists don’t get enough play on the net.

  67. AdSense : behaviorial targeting

    AdSense is the Method : behaviorial targeting is the Theory

  68. I can’t spell when I am drinking and posting comments either. It’s embarrassing to wake up the next thing wondering what I wrote online. 😀

  69. Matt do you disclose now please

  70. Matt,

    Tell us what it means!!

    Adsesne is acting a lil erratic the last few days? So what is the scoop?? 🙂


  71. Well, hydrogen bonds and van der Waals forces act via totally different mechanisms. Hydrogen bonds take advantage of the permanent dipole moment created by hydrogen bonding to electronegative atoms like N, F, O – whereas van der Waals forces jump on the temporary dipole moments created from dynamic and ellipsoid-shaped electron clouds around inert atoms and molecules and such. So, yeah, one “is to” for that side of the puzzle is “stronger than”, but you can also think of van der Waals forces and hydrogen bonds working cooperatively to establish and uphold chemical systems.

    AdSense scrapes live text in G-like fashion to deliver ads; it makes use of permanent “textual dipoles” (if I may) to determine what ads to show. Behavioral targeting is (in this context I think) the practice of scraping historical and relational (behavioral) text to deliver ads; it makes use of dynamic and relational “textual clouds” (ok that’s a bit more of a stretch, but you see what I mean) to deliver ads.

    So, I think its been mentioned above that perhaps the answer to the riddle is that scraping live content is more “attractive” (profitable, effective, etc..) to Google and its clients than using historical and relational data. But one might also guess that AdSense and behavioral targeting, while distinctive in mechanism, can work cooperatively to establish and uphold an advertising system even though the former is technically more effective.


  72. well thats the average of two ratios

  73. Hi Matt,

    Question about Google Adsense.

    Do you think Google will ever put our money that was earned from our websites into a moneymarket account like PayPal does so we have a small return on our funds? Seems like the viable way to keep our funds in the hands of Google.

    I have asked this to Google before, and they have said no. But I think this is something that needs to be looked into.



  74. WebmasterWorld might be on to something on this

  75. Hydrogen bonds are a type of van der Waals force

    Hydrogen bonds are the strongest type of van der Walls force

    van der Waals forces, glue molecules together by exploiting the fact that each molecule is comprised of atoms that have shared or transfered electrons to each other, thereby having many molecules that are slightly charged on each side. The positive side of one molecule positioning itself against the negative side of a neighboring molecule creates the van der Waals force.

    Hydrogen bonds, e.g. forces between water molecules, are the strongest because they exploit the fact that hydrogen is good at giving up electrons and oxygen/fluorine/nitrogen are particularly good at taking those electrons. The magic of the magnetic force does the rest.


    AdSense is a type of behavioral targeting

    AdSense is the strongest type of behavioral targeting

    Behavior targeting joins advertisers and consumers by exploiting the fact that web publishers have already pulled together consumers with a common interests (the publisher’s web page content). In physics, positive is attracted to negative. In people, we are attracted to content that’s interesting or relevant to us.

    Adsense is the strongest because any web publisher can easily “give up some space” or add a tower of ads on his site. The magic of html and javascript and google’s ad delivery logic find and present the ads seemingly effortlessly, many ads actually, and people are receptive to the relevant ads presented on the page.

  76. Adsense, has a long way to go, I think they need to rethink thier future plans if they want to stay on top.

  77. Regarding your question:

    AdSense : behaviorial targeting :: hydrogen bonds : van der Waals forces

    I would interpret this as meaning adsense ads based on someone’s behaviour. I am not too sure about what the rest could mean.

  78. Matt appears to be seeking the record for the shortest blog post with the longest, most verbose set of responses?

  79. hmmm. excuse my bad chemistry… but interpreting wikipedia, this is what I can get:

    Behavioral Targeting/van der Waals: There is a weak link between object A and object B. Plus they require a difference in polarization. The link is created when object A and object B have opposite poles (they are unrelated).

    Adsense/Hydrogen Bonds: They can strongly link object A and object B regardless of the fact that they are of the same polarization. Ie object A and object B can be strongly related.

    However I feel that my argument doesn’t quite cut it with Behavioral targeting. In theory you could say that what you have looked at in the past is not what you are interested in now, and therefore they are unrelated. but that depends on the timeframe analyzed, maybe they are related and therefore don’t quite fit with the v.d.W force.

  80. AdSense : behaviorial targeting :: hydrogen bonds : van der Waals forces

    Well I did some reading on this one,… and I hope I learned at least something from it. Here´s my take at it:

    As far as I know, Adsense is more about contextual targeting than about behavioral targeting. So it’s both targeting, but each a different type.

    Hydrogen bonds are a form of intermolecular forces and so are van der Waal’s forces. So they´re both intermolecular forces, but each a different type.

  81. Ads customized for the searcher rather than targeted for the page… would probably make better send to blur the two.

  82. I would say it reads something like:

    “Matt needs a hobby.”

  83. Are we going to get your interpretation, Matt? Or do we have to guess for ever,… 🙂

  84. People are always reading lots of bizarre stuff from their own heads into what Matt posts.

    So I reckon Matt is having a laugh by writing some nonsense and seeing what interpretations people can come up with.

    And they are quite impressive!


  85. Hydrogen bonds are directional they can be weaker or stronger than van der Waals interactions in solution. They are polar in nature and can be dipole-dipole, charge-dipole or charge-charge interactions.

    Van der Waals are induced dipole interactions that are less dependent on direction and are more of a dispersed interaction hence the alternative name dispersive forces.

    In all forms of nature from the human body down to your DNA and proteins these interactions compete with and reinforce each other.

    Without this combination all nature would fall apart, hmm equating adsense and behavioural targeting to some of the buildling blocks of life discovered by some of the greatest minds of our time…”delusions of grandeur” is my interpretation 😉 ….

    From a “friendly” computational chemist, who does this for a living!

  86. Hmmm, I’m going to have to take a flier on the symbology, but I think you’re getting at :

    “AdSense is to behavioral targetting as hydrogen bonds are to Van der Waals forces”

    Van der Waals forces are relatively weak, short range attractions relying on the momentary dipoles caused by minute, transitory fluctuations in the distribution of electrons around the nucleus. Although they dissipate quickly, they also occur frequently, giving the aggregate illusion of a strong constant force in the macro scale.

    Hydrogen bonds are a special case, where an H atom is bonded to a relatively electronegative (N, O or F, I think), which acts as an electron acceptor, causing a permanent dipole, as the e- of the H is pulled into the acceptor atom. This system can form much stronger bonds with other similar systems, as the system is more stable.

    The essential difference between the 2 is that although they use the same basic mechanic (the movement of e- to create a varying electric field, which causes the attraction), the H bond has persistence – once the e- has moved to the more electronegative atom, barring a major change in the system, or very rare circumstances (dissociation), the dojnation is permanent.

    “Translating” that to the first portion, I suppose you are trying to say that AdSense is “stronger” because it is also persistent. Whilst all behavioral targetting programs rely on some persistent data to determine what ad a user is more likely to respond to, AdSense (according to your patent apps) is likely drawing from a larger, more diverse set of behaviour data than “normal” cookie / IP based, anonymised behavioural targetting systems

  87. AdSense relates to behavioral targetting.

  88. Greg Milsted

    AdSense is to behavioural targeting as hydrogen bonds are to Van der Waals forces

    Whilst behavioural targeting is a dependency/associate of Adsense, as is Hydrogen bonds to Van der Waals force, they are elements of a larger composition that is Adsense/Van der Waals respectively.

    You may even be suggesting that behavioural targeting is as scientific a process as hydrogen bonding in the Van der Waals process.

  89. I keep coming back here in the hope that there will be an official response to all the guesses. Sigh.

  90. I think Andrew was the closest…

    The first step is to parse it into semantics..

    AdSense is to behavioral targeting as hydrogen bonds are to the Van Der Waals force

    The next step is to ask what this means..

    AdSense is like a hydrogen bond. AdSense is the hydrogen atom binding the two electronegative atoms (the potential customer and the advertiser). This bond being created is a stronger force (a contextual ad right at the moment of context) than…

    Behavorial targeting .. ie, the Van Der Waals force, ie a weak electromagnetic force.

    Van Der Waals force is weaker but it operates over a longer distance than the stronger hydrogren bond. In the same way, behavioral targeting may be ‘weaker’ or less effective on a per-impression basis than point-of-context targeting but it can act or be effective over a further distance away from the source data points (which for Adsense is the current context, and for behavioral targeting it is collected contexts or user data points..

    Matt you had better come back, there are 93 people here who want to know the answer. And if it’s just a non-sequiter to see how we would abstractly represent and relate those concepts IT’S NOT A PUZZLE!!!! Or wait, maybe it is.

    Here’s a puzzle for you then… is a puzzle a puzzle if there’s no real answer?

  91. Same here – instead chafing my head – I think it would be wise to wait -Common Matt – time has come – you should open all the gates now…

  92. Matt…I think there has been enough guesses. So, why not hear it from the horses mouth.

  93. Yea, what was your rationale behind the “puzzle”?

  94. How do I see it? I was not really able to read all 96 comments but quickly skimmed through several of them. And many have mentioned that H-bonds are stronger than vdw. True.

    I do not know if there was anyone above that mentioned that H-bonds are only on some selected molecules. Usually those with Hydrogen and in many cases with Oxygen and Nitrogen. Not every molecule can H-bond with each other.

    Van Der Waals is on every molecule.

    Aside from having Adsense being a strong bond with website content as behavioral targeting is taking note of what a person is doing, where this can simply be interacting with everyone, relevant or irrelevant, irregardless of the content.

    And since h-bonds and vdw are both IMF and are not really real bonds like Covalent and Ionic bonds, these can easily break off physically if needed. The same way Adsense can easily kick you out if needed. Covalent and Ionic bonds usually need separation by a chemical means since this is already a compound. h-bonds and vdw are just formed in mixtures you can separate in many cases even with a porous filter. Adsense can do that too, with their semi-permeable membrane spam-MFA filter

  95. Benj,

    I have to say your comment is outstanding. I personally see a connection between science and google algorithms. Not only math wise, but chemistry also. Amazing!

  96. AdSense : behaviorial targeting :: hydrogen bonds : van der Waals forces

    Well I did some reading on this one,… and I hope I learned at least something from it. Here´s my take at it:

    As far as I know, Adsense is more about contextual targeting than about behavioral targeting. So it’s both targeting, but each a different type.

    Hydrogen bonds are a form of intermolecular forces and so are van der Waal’s forces. So they´re both intermolecular forces, but each a different type.


  97. If I visit a web page about The Simpsons, content targeting will tell the advertiser that I’m likely to be interested in The Simpsons. That’s fine if the advertiser is selling Simpsons merchandise.

    But what if the advertiser is selling Coca-Cola? They might like their ads to show if I’m a teenager, or if I’ve ever visited a Pepsi page.

    Come to think of it, even someone who is selling Simpsons merchandise might pitch their ads differently if I’m a person who regularly buys clothing online, as opposed to a person who buys geek gadgets.

    So, I think there’s room for content targeting and behavioral targeting, even sometimes at the same time.

    PS: Maybe you posted this when you heard rumors that a competitor was about to launch behaviorally targeted ads 🙂

  98. Roger Browne, nope, I hadn’t heard anything. And I don’t mean disrespect to behavioral targeting. I just think the page that a surfer is on *right now* is a great way to tell which ads should be shown to that surfer. So I do think contextual targeting is very powerful.

  99. I think Adsense is a big joke. Never bothered to pay for this because:

    I never click on any Adsense for the simple reason, Google will spend an enormous amount of effort make sure search results are relative to the page but the Adsense is not looked at this way. I have in the past clicked on an Adsense ad that was on a page I was browsing for Web Development. 3 out of the set of ads had nothing to do with the subject. They were just placed there because there was a link at the bottom saying web development by ”******”.

    They may have changed the way they do things but I wouldn’t trust that every click you pay for is going to account for anything.

    This automatically makes me think that behavioural targeting is just a fancy way of Google trying to say they know the behaviour of the person behind the mouse when this is absolutely impossible. And after witnessing first hand how inprecise they are with targeting ads I would have to say absolute BS.

    However, I do think contextual targeting is powerful as well. I just think Google is a long ways of getting it right.

  100. So AdSense, by targeting to the content of a page, is more likely to show relevant ads based on my interests at that instant. Just my opinion.

    In Brazil it seems that all websites show basically the same ads, this must be due to the fact there are not a lot of companies advertising using adwords on the content network.

  101. Egol..

    As far as I know, Adsense is more about contextual targeting than about behavioral targeting. So it’s both targeting, but each a different type.
    I don’t understand.

  102. Wow, a pretty decent amount of thought went into responding to that. Interesting stuff. I personally think there should be some bay to balance behavioral and content targeting. I can see each being more effective, depending on the search term and mindset of the user – maybe some A-B testing by Google to determine which is best for different sites?