Monday, January 15, 2007

Searching less far and wide

I just spent a quarter of an hour unpacking a piece of gobbledegook advertising language that appeared in a job advertisement. "Including reporting (standard and non standard) and provider/public liaison, and audit and compliance activities" was just one of the job requirements. Put simply, does it mean: telling the boss what you’re doing if he inquires, being able to speak to the customers in real English, making sure the petty cash hasn’t been filched, and coming to work on time? I think it might.
I won’t be going for this job, somehow; if I can’t make sense of how they talk in the advertisement, how will I understand them in reality? Would I have to translate everything everybody said, or would they talk in plain English?
I came across a phrase today: Vertically Searching for Meaning. This is a whole new concept to me, and again it’s taken me a bit of translating to get my head around it.
Basically, a Vertical Search is a more specific search than something like a general search, such as Google does. Google searches far and wide from its index of recorded webpages, and though it’s superb at what it does, it can also give a lot of irrelevant information. This is neither the fault of Google nor the searcher.
Vertical search engines, however, search a database that contains information related to a specific topic. It’s like the Encyclopaedia Britannica as opposed to a map index to your local city and its environs – though of course the comparison isn’t exact. Vertical searches, therefore, are of much more use to people wanting a particular focus. Thus there are search engines for doctors, job seekers, real estate – and others: I guess some of the ones I’ve talked about in the last few weeks would come into this category. Roughly.
Of course advertisers are interested in these vertical search databases, because it allows them to focus their advertising in a much more specific way. While Google’s adsense ads for the most part align themselves to the topic in hand – for the most part – ads on these databases know exactly what’s of interest and that makes all the difference.
Well, there, now that I’ve explained it to myself, I’m much happier!
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