By now, everyone knows that AOL mistakenly dumped 20 million user queries onto the Internet. That’s a goldmine of data – that’s the good news. The bad news is its about 450 terrabytes and if you don’t have SASS or some very fancy tool, it is pretty darn difficult to parse the data.

Until now . . . A friend of mine has created a pretty incredible tool to mine the AOL data. His AOL Search Data Tool let’s you quickly look up individual keywords (or sets of keywords) and play with the data. For example, I typed in “mortgage” and I got about 17,000 variations on the term, plus the URL the user eventually clicked on, plus the clickthrough rate by position.

I’m not going to tell you how to use this data (well, at least not unless you pay me A LOT of money) but this is powerful stuff!

On an unrelated note, posts have been few and far between as of late and I apologize for that. Bear with me though – I’ll have some exciting news soon!


  1. Anonymous September 15th, 2006

    The tool is cool, but regarding your comment that you need SAS to parse the data, its not. The data is just 2 GB (36 million records) and mySQL on a fairly decent linux box easily handles it.

  2. Richard Jones October 26th, 2006

    450 TB would be quite a lot of data. Luckily it’s only actually 373 MB, in a simple tab-separated values format which is easily loaded into a computer program / database.

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David Rodnitzky
David Rodnitzky is founder and CEO of 3Q Digital (formerly PPC Associates), a position he has held since the Company's inception in 2008. Prior to 3Q Digital, he held senior marketing roles at several Internet companies, including (2000-2001), FindLaw (2001-2004), Adteractive (2004-2006), and Mercantila (2007-2008). David currently serves on advisory boards for several companies, including Marin Software, MediaBoost, Mediacause, and a stealth travel start-up. David is a regular speaker at major digital marketing conferences and has contributed to numerous influential publications, including Venture Capital Journal, CNN Radio, Newsweek, Advertising Age, and NPR's Marketplace. David has a B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago and a J.D. with honors from the University of Iowa. In his spare time, David enjoys salmon fishing, hiking, spending time with his family, and watching the Iowa Hawkeyes, not necessarily in that order.