That Old Adage

19Feb10

We think of Google as being a search engine, that monolithic company that somehow upholds most of the Internet. But I want to put to you that Google is first and foremost an advertising company. Google Adsensewhen it works – brings content creators together with advertisers with a minimum of fuss. And when it doesn’t work? Well, hilarity ensues…

What is it trying to say?
Browse Local Aussies Now
I assume in this context ‘browse’ means to ‘look at cleavage.’ Sure, sex sells, but you’re left sort of wondering what the product is. Wouldn’t it be better if advertisers just said what they meant?!

This one leaves little to the imagination…
What Google Calls 'Contextual' Advertising
This is what Google calls ‘contextual’ advertising. This particular ad appeared [via Google Adsense for feeds] on a blog entry about ugly things. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it is still quite alarming that au.Shopping.com gives you the opportunity to:

Buy Obese Ugly Women
Compare Obese Ugly Women



Facebook Ad: Get RuinedBut it’s not just Google…
Facebook recently gave me the opportunity to “ruin” myself. And actually that didn’t bother me nearly as much as the accompanying picture – some sort of Vanilla Ice whiteboy rapper attacked with some sort of ugly stick.

I presume all three ads hope to arouse enough curiosity within the viewer to get them to click through. But it didn’t work with me. Infact the Facebook ad scared me much more than it intrigued me.

I guess computers making educated ‘guesses’ based on keywords within a webpage and based on demographic data from a social networking profile are wonderful. But perhaps they are no substitute for actually knowing something about your target audience. Hell, even the email spammers know enough about me to know to stop sending messages about Viagra and to start sending cheap offers for Ritalin.



One Response to “That Old Adage”

  1. And, yes, it was with considerable irony that the post about the perils of online automation in advertising is followed by a list of ‘Possibly’ related posts…


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