An Early Look at How Gmail Works

Share this content:
For the past week, DM News has been one of the 1,000 users Google invited to test its controversial new e-mail service, Gmail.


A common complaint by Gmail critics is that scanning personal e-mail messages to place ads is invasive, or, in the words of California state Sen. Liz Figueroa, "like having a massive billboard in the middle of your home."


But the vast majority of Gmail messages have contained no advertising. Google spokesman David Krane said the company is judicious about the frequency, and users should not expect to see them in most messages.


One unusual feature of Gmail is how it stores information in "conversations," which build as a user corresponds with someone. As the conversations grow, Google's AdSense listings will shift as the messages change subjects.


Of the ads received, some have been impressively targeted, highlighting the potential payoff for advertisers. One e-mail message about a visit to New York to watch a Yankees game was accompanied by text listings offering Yankees tickets and merchandise. Another e-mail about an upcoming marathon contained an ad for endurance-boosting supplements.


Commercial e-mail is the most likely to receive text listings. The DM News daily e-mail newsletter returned ads for mailing listings and e-mail marketing software; an e-mail from Turbo Tax yielded listings from tax-preparation services. A reminder order from 1-800 Contacts comes with offers from competing services.


As a product still in testing, however, Gmail often gets it wrong. Invoices from cell-phone providers target listings for invoice services, not cell phones. An e-mail mentioning 9/11 and the war in Iraq triggered listings for online memorials. Krane said Google filtered ads from sensitive subjects and would continue to build this capacity.


close

Next Article in Digital Marketing

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Brightcove is the world's leading video platform. The most innovative and respected brands confidently rely on Brightcove to solve their most demanding communication challenges because of the unmatched performance and flexibility of our platform, our global scale and reliability, and our award-winning service. With thousands of customers and an industry-leading suite of cloud video products, Brightcove enables customers to drive compelling business results.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above