Everyone makes mistakes. Even Google. If you missed it then check this link.

‘Google’s latest mistake’

It seems ads for major UK brands have appeared as the ‘intro’ to some youtube videos posted by people with views that many would consider extreme or unsavoury. Google owns youtube of course and those ads that you can skip are a major source of income. The idea is that the ad is targeted in some way based on data about you or the people who access the video.  Trouble is that this is all governed by machines (well machine learning and algorithms) and they can make mistakes. Marketing and marketing communications (like advertising) are increasingly automated. There is human oversight but it’s only oversight. Like any automated process it can go wrong and it did. The following video promoting Google Analytics through satire can now be viewed with some irony.

See also a colleagues article:

Related article in The Conversation

A note on copyright copyright



  1. One of the problems is that the preferred answer to computation errors among tech companies is BIGGER COMPUTERS and MORE SOPHISTICATED AUTOMATION. This is like trying to drink yourself sober. You might think it’s working but that doesn’t mean it is. It might just make the problem harder to see.


  2. Yep – oversight is an issue. You have a problem if the problem is picked up by clients or users. But human oversight of vast info ecosystems is not a practical solution. So, the option is some attempt at automated oversight (easier said than done), improved automation/algorithms to eliminate the problem or the status quo (with attendant dangers). These mistakes will occur and the web is a public domain (with a hidden and opaque superstructure) – so, the mistakes will often be conspicuous. It is a truism that a company’s real attitude and regard for its customer base can be judged by the way with which it deals with complaints and failures of its product or services. Google’s problem is the perception of it as faceless, aloof and powerful, It has a business with a very limited human interface. This makes perfect sense given it’s business model but is an issue in the long term in terms of image and identity management.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s