Friday, August 22, 2008

The Data Crunching Elite

A very interesting experiment in the future of book promotion? I think so. From The Numerati website created by Stephen Baker. This is the strategy of an online campaign to promote the book this a lot. And the site itself.

Here's the idea. The Numerati is about tracking and predicting people by their data. So why not use a domain of that very science--behavioral advertising--to spread the word to the most likely readers?

That's what we're going to do. In the coming weeks, my publisher, Houghton Mifflin, will be running an advertising campaign for The Numerati on the vast network of sites affiliated with Platform A/Tacoda, a division of AOL. We'll be studying the patterns of the people who click on Numerati ads. Which web sites do they come from? What types of profiles do they have? Do some profiles click more on one type of ad than another?

Stephen is reassuringly honest about the possible outcome:

For starters, we'll be looking at two types of people, the datamining types who resemble The Numerati and the arty-literature type crowd that might page through an article about The Numerati in a magazine like The New Yorker. I may have quibbles about those choices. Maybe you do too. But the process has to start somewhere.

We'll make adjustments, and I'll describe the process, step by step, on this blog. I'll also be sounding out readers on the conclusions we reach and the advertisements we distribute. Maybe you can steer us along a more reasonable path. Or perhaps the data will lead us along a path that appears to defy all logic--but still works.

I think we have to read this book, and find out how the campaign worked.

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