Sphere Blog

February 27, 2008

Sphere Implicit Search

Filed under: Implicit Search,Sphere Advertising Partners — sphere @ 11:49 pm

sphere-bubbles.pngI want to share a few thoughts on why advertising in tandem with Sphere’s Related Content modules (CONTEXTUAL IN-LINE & Widget) is gaining traction with Top Tier advertisers. In the past quarter, we’ve run campaigns with Dell, Verizon, Barack Obama and Symantec. The latter, currently is running it’s second campaign with us – just scroll to the bottom of this Salon article to see a live example.

As we all know now, Google Ads are so valuable in part because users have expressed an interest in the product/ service by their action of searching for that product/ service or something related. Sphere, on the other hand, has built a killer “implicit search” engine. A user who clicks on one of our links, or even looks at the module for a few seconds, has implicitly searched for that content. They have taken an action and that is why advertising to them can be so valuable. We believe this is potentially much more valuable and efficient then contextual ads that are on the side or bottom of the page — where they don’t know that the user is very engaged in that topic. In our initial campaigns, we’re seeing very high engagement/ advertising effectiveness. We believe this is partly because the reader is engaged with the content.

Sphere is now on a lot of article pages each month. Within our growing network of partner sites, readers can navigate web content in a new way. The user can just point and click instead of constructing a keyword search. Very few search tools deal with multiple-word queries – instead the user types one or two words in a search box. Unless you construct the words perfectly, your search engine will not be able to discern the valuable words and therefore, it will unlikely point you to more content that is contextually relevant to what you’re reading. Thus, Sphere is adding a unique capability and core functionality.

Sphere’s approach is different. Our core technology is a utilizes Sphere’s proprietary Content Genome.™ The Content Genome™ was developed specifically to deliver high precision, low cost (automated) related content delivery in dynamic on-line publishing and news environments. Unlike other solutions, the Content Genome™ does not require a taxonomy or training — Sphere can index any text artifacts, or media with associated text, and generate related content out of the box. In other words, we use the words that people read in an article to get a sense of what the article is talking about and then we match it with other content that is contextually relevant.

When we started Sphere, we thought about our ad opportunity as akin to Google‘s AdSense (e.g. Contextual ads on publisher pages). But what we’re saying above, because Sphere is an Implicit Search Engine, is that maybe it’s more like AdWords — e.g. Sponsored links on the Google search page.

We’ll share some more thoughts on advertising soon. In the interim, we’d love to hear your thoughts.


  1. It’s Barack Obama, not Barrack . . . . just was well this isn’t keyword search.

    Comment by paul — February 28, 2008 @ 3:22 am | Reply

  2. thx for catching the typo 🙂 corrected now.

    Comment by sphere — February 28, 2008 @ 3:50 am | Reply

  3. it’s its not it’s unless it’s it is.

    Comment by fred nurk — September 22, 2009 @ 6:30 pm | Reply

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