Google Ads Gone Awry

I started thinking about the Google ads that appear next to Associated Content material when one of my own articles received the comment that it would not align well with ads. Sites such as AC and thousands of others use Google AdSense to create revenue for the company. On AC, when a user reads an entry on a particular topic, the Google ads on the page usually offer more products or services in the same topic category. When the reader clicks on those ads, the site receives money for “referring” customers to other businesses. If an AC reader pulls up “Best Buy’s Geek Squad: Conquest of Branding Over Competence,” by Joel Hirschhorn, the ads include Atlanta Computer Support and Tech Squad – Calgary, offering the reader more resources for computer support.

However, when the material doesn’t align well with keywords in the advertising, the automated program will try to match any terms in the article. Often, one will see ads on AC pertaining to writing and editing services when other matches couldn’t be made. After searching the pages of Associated Content, I compiled this list of ten articles with which the Google ads obviously did not “align well.” Whether funny, ironic, or just downright weird, I’ll never read another article without checking all the ad titles!

Article: “How United States Policy Screwed-Up the Middle East” by Timothy Sexton.
Ad: Sexy Iranian Photos

Article: “10 REASONS to DITCH that DIET” by rochelle moore
Ad: McDonald’s Snack Wrap

Article: “Beliefs and Practices of a Shaman” by Liona Berry
Ad: Oprah Has Spoken

Article: “Children’s Choking Hazards: Know The Hidden Dangers” by C.M. Denis
Ad: A Teacher’s Dream

Article: “Strange Travels: The Penis Museum of Iceland” by Brian Want
Ad: Guided Vatican Tours

Article: “A Modern Woman’s Guide to Elegance” by Beth Allen
Ad: Diamonds diamonds

Article: “The Art of Loving” by Bernadette Harper
Ad: 100 Photoshop Tutorials

Article: “For Better or for Worse – Boston Man Marries Himself” by Allen Smith
Ad: Troubled Relationship

Article: “Rats as Pets – How to Care for Your New Pet” by Jennifer Gates
Ad: When Rats Attack

Article: “Sociopathology Illuminated” by Josh Schuler
Ad: Need A Shrink System?

I’m sure there must be many more examples of Google ads gone awry, and I have heard of at least two cases when the ads were offensive because of the material with which they were paired. “Water Before and Ultrasound” by content producer Kim Ray begins with the sentence, “The anticipation of an ultrasound during pregnancy is exciting…” Next to this article is an ad for Illinois abortion clinics. Clearly, a pregnant woman trying to learn about ultrasounds as she lovingly caresses her belly under the keyboard will be disgusted by the mere mention of an abortion clinic. As more and more websites begin to use Google AdSense and other similar programs to generate easy revenue, web designers and writers have to learn how to align material with those ads. Perhaps there will soon be sites available like Nichebot and Textalyzer that can determine how well an article will align with Google ads before publication. Just as serious writers know that electronic “editors” are no match for the human eye, it would appear the same is true in advertising.

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