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Pandora, Online Dating, and Insomnia Mediciation: Looking Forward to the Primaries!

- July 19, 2011

Continuing on my “Internet 2.0 theme”:http://tmc.org/blog/2011/07/08/whatever-will-facebook-think-of-next/ from last week, thought I would quickly share this experience with “Pandora”:http://www.pandora.com/, the “free” internet radio site which, if you don’t subscribe, supports its business with advertisements. The neat trick about Pandora is you can create “stations” by giving them a song or band that you like, and then they play music that they think you will like based on the one revealed preference you’ve given them. You then get to fine tune your preferences by “liking” or “disliking” songs, with the neat trick that disliked songs stop playing immediately.

Apparently not satisfied with predicting musical tastes on the basis of revealed information about musical tastes (which actually makes sense), Pandora seems to have applied a similar algorithm to its advertisements: advertisements also seem to be a function of musical tastes. So this afternoon, I had my “Goo Goo Dolls’ Broadway”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbwzPzJ6wCU station running, and I got an advertisement for an online dating service. However, the moment I switched to my “J.S. Bach”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Sebastian_Bach station, the ad immediately flipped to insomnia medication.

One can only hope that 2012 presidential candidates take out similar advertisements on Pandora in the coming months as the primaries approach. Can’t wait to see whose ad pops up on the “Aerosmith’s Crazy”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGM5GkINMMI station…

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