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Thursday, September 28, 2006


Catymology: murky research

As I reported last week, I’m plotting a strategy for obtaining Venture Capital for Catymology. It’s turning out to be more difficult than I expected. But just today, I discovered an experimental tool from Microsoft AdCenter Labs that lets you predict a customer’s gender and age group, based on web searches conducted on MSN search. Hmm, let’s see, that might be an important tool for my business plan.

First I tried this little tool on the word “cats.” The result: “cats” are female-oriented, with a 66 percent confidence factor. Also, individuals who are likely to look up “cats” are likely to be between 35 and 49 in human years. Hmm. Okay. Advertisers should like that; human women in that age group probably buy a lot of stuff.

But then I tried it on the word “catblogging,” and got some opposite results: according to these researchers, “catblogging” is more male than female (60 percent confidence in their result.) And humans who look up "catblogging" are most likely to be under 18.

So, while mature human women like cats, guys under 18 are more likely to read catblogs? This is very troublesome. You have to put female cat lovers over 34 together in the same room with under-18 males; surely that’s a recipe for disaster!


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