by adam on March 4, 2011
Two recruiting hacks to find developers and designers (site search on google):
by adam on February 6, 2011
In A/B testing, as is the case in the rest of economic life, there is no such thing as a free lunch.
In my experience, most split and multivariate tests are set up to maximize for a certain goal, e.g: registered users or email subs, but often fail to account for the un-intended consequences of such “optimizations”. The problem with changing your ui to try and maximize for one of these goals is that you are failing to measure the dis-utility that often gets created by cluttering or fragmenting the continuity of your interface or landing page.
For example, say I am trying to increase visits and awareness of a new feature of my product by adding a link to it on my homepage. Typically an experiment would be constructed by adding a new ui element and testing it’s copy/color etc that call attention to the new call-to-action that I am trying to optimize for. The problem with this kind of test is that by only measuring click-throughs to my new product page, I miss measuring the missed attention that was not given to another part of my interface.
Since the attention of the website visitor at any given moment is a finite resource, it is impossible to add something without detracting something at the same time. I have yet to see an a/b testing framework that accounts for this by default.
The end result is a bunch of “maximized” local optimums that don’t look or behave cohesively and often appear ugly, as I would imagine is likely the case with plenty of fish.
My answer on Quora to: I’ve noticed that when designs are refined through A/B testing, the res… http://qr.ae/MXiZ
by adam on January 31, 2011
In my experience the problem with the facebook advertising platform is that it doesn’t effectively allow for different types of advertisers to compete on an even playing field.
You could make the argument that since they allow for all different types of interest/demographic bidding, that there are many micro playing fields for different types of advertisers to compete on, but this analysis fails to capture the one most important vector that drives internet advertising, which is intent.
The beauty of Google’s adwords platform is that for any given keyword, a one-man custom boot making shop in Texas can profitably compete against internet retail giants such as Amazon because for certain keywords the intent of the searcher is more aligned with their product offering than Amazon’s.
In a generalized second-price auction such as Adwords, since advertisers are attempting to maximize their ROI on a per-keyword basis, they are not perversely incented to maximize their CTR at the expense of receiving lower CPC’s and an increase in less qualified traffic.
On the other hand, on the facebook advertising platform, different types of advertisers who will have wildly different costs for customer acquisition are competing for impressions and clicks head-to-head. This in turn causes two kinds of major distortions in the marketplace:
1) Advertisers with the highest customer acquisition value will eventually rise to the top, crowding out the smaller guys. e.g: you will see more ads for attorneys and real estate agents then you will for restaurants and dry cleaners.
2) Ad Copy / Images will trend towards becoming more and more attention grabbing in a never-ending arms race towards a higher CTR = lower CPC.
In the long run, neither of these two attributes is conducive to a robust and sustainable advertising platform for facebook.
My answer on Quora to: Is advertising via Facebook as effective as Google Ads? http://qr.ae/4GYA
by adam on November 26, 2010
There has been a Cambrian-like explosion of vertical search sites popping up over the past five years to fill the gaps that general purpose search engines like google and yahoo have not been able to fill. By specializing in a specific vertical e.g Yelp (for reviews), Kayak (for travel), Nextag (for shopping), these sites have been able to gather large audiences over the past five years, thanks in large part to the free distribution through natural search that google et all send to them.
It goes without saying that the result provided by yelp is better on many levels. This is simply a matter of focus. Google clearly knows that it can’t possibly server a result to satisfy every different type of user query, so this leaves room for other sites to specialize their efforts around a particular niche. Since not every search problem is created equally, these sites have been able to focus on building domain-specific functionality and filters to solve the unique search problems in their domains. This poses an increasing threat to the core businesses of google et all as these sites gain in popularity and start becoming the place where people start their searches.
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