Remember the announcement in November that Yahoo and Adobe were testing out a new ad system inside pdf documents? (No? It only got 1,200 hits.) Well, they are, and the big question then was how Yahoo and Adobe would determine what sorts of ads were placed in the documents, and how they’d appear. Now there’s a free (or rather, ad-supported) downloadable book—“200 documentaries you must see before you die”—that lets you test the new ad system out for yourself.
About the book, which seems pretty valuable, actually, if you’re a film buff:
Each review is a rave review; that is, I only review films I love and believe others will enjoy. Merely good films are left unmentioned. I also include what no other film review source does: I provide 4 to 5 screen shots from each documentary to give you an idea of what the texture of the film is. And I only review documentaries that can be seen easily on DVD or tape at consumer prices (either as Netflix rentals, legal downloads, or online purchase). Documentaries available only in theaters, or as high-priced “educational films” are regrettably ignored.
And about the inline ads:
If you choose to see the ads, they will appear in a gray sidebar on the right, adjacent to the pages of the book, just outside the frame of the page, as shown below:
These ads are inserted into the PDF by Adobe (using the Yahoo ad network) when you open the file. Like Google Adsense ads, they are contextual. That is, Adobe/Yahoo tries to match the content of the ads with the content of text on the the pages, in my case, text about documentaries. The ads I see at this moment of writing are mostly about apartment rentals, but they change each time one opens the book. The way Adobe/Yahoo “knows” about the content of the PDF is not by crawling the web, but by the author (me in this case) submitting the PDF to their machine the first time, which then stamps it with a registration code, so it can remember what’s in it when someone far away opens it on their machine.
A few things we like about this scheme:
- the process is opt-in, so you won’t see the ads unless you agree to;
- the ads appear on Adobe Reader 8, but supposedly the file will still open, ad-free, on older Reader versions;
- the ads appear to be selected based on the content in the book, not on any user-identifiable data (at least that’s what Kelly’s description above leads us to believe—the odds are high we’ll end up having to edit this bullet).
But we’ll have to test it out now to see how it actually feels to have contextual advertising in the virtual margins of a manuscript.
“True Films eBook” [Cool Tools]