Hello, World! And, answers to your Noiszy questions

Hello, World!

On Friday, some amazing things happened.  First, my guest post on mathbabe.org (about Noiszy) went up.  I woke up to my phone buzzing with form submissions from Noiszy.com.  A friend sent an IM saying, "uhhh, you're number 2 on hacker news!"  Several threads about Noiszy appeared on Reddit.  We were mentioned in a front page article on LifeHacker (more on that later).  A conversation started on Twitter.

This is awesome, to say the least!  Noiszy has multiple goals, but one personal goal for Noiszy is for people to think and talk about data & algorithms and how they should be used responsibly.  That's happening, and there is so much to discuss.  I've also had a lot of feedback on Noiszy (the plugin) and I'd like to address the top few items before we get into the more philosophical bits.

"Can I see the source code?"

Yes!  Not literally today, but we're going to make this open-source in the immediate future.  I'll keep you updated on that.

"Can I get this for Firefox/IE/Opera/mobile/etc.?"

These are all important.  For Firefox, you can use Foxified to enable Chrome extensions, and then install Noiszy from the Chrome web store - this appears to work well, but we're working a FF version.  Also, by going open-source, we should be able to develop support for additional browsers much more quickly.  Stay tuned for that by following @noiszytech on Twitter.

"Why doesn't noiszy just visit random sites? can i update the list of sites?"

Updating the list of sites is definitely high on the list of things to do.  A future post will delve into the depths of how personalization works and why it makes sense to choose a short-ish list of sites, but for now:

  1. To have any affect in the near-term, Noiszy data has to be focused on a limited number of sites.  More to come on that topic.

  2. Yes, we can update/change the list of sites, and I'd love to hear from you about what sites you'd like to direct traffic to and why.  Please submit this form, or tweet to @noiszytech with the hashtag #NoiszySites.

"Are you actually helping these sites by sending traffic to them?"

No.  Sites love traffic from real people, because people can buy things and be influenced; bots just drain resources.  For sites that make money from ads, clicks drive revenue, not impressions.  People click ads; bots do not (or, when they do, they don't actually buy things, which is even worse).

Noiszy is not a bot - it's traffic from real people, using their real browsers - but its traffic isn't meaningful, so it's kind of bot-like.  Since it doesn't click ads, it's highly unlikely that anyone is making money from your Noiszy visits.  (As a side note, there are some programs where sites make money from impressions, but it's a very small amount relative to clicks.  Also, in those cases, if the ads don't get clicked, the sites are penalized so in the long run they make less money from all impressions, Noiszy or not.)

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who came to learn about Noiszy and the idea behind it, and especially to those who downloaded and used Noiszy and to everyone who contributed to the online conversation about it!  This is amazing and I'm so excited to keep the conversation going.  I'll be posting here and also on Twitter, so please follow @noiszytech for updates.