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Google and Ads That Profit from Tragedies

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The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, and many other news organization web sites have bought keyword ads for terms related to the Virginia Tech tragedy.

As investigated by Brad Flora, they are paying as little as 5 cents and as much as $2.15 per click to drive searchers to their websites who are looking for information about the shooting. While no doubt these are ads of interest to searchers, is it really right for Google to accept those ads?

After every major event, SEM-savvy news sites buy up keyword terms related to those events. This has been going on for a little while, and when see in regards to such a close-to-home tragedy as this one, it seems cruel. I wouldn’t fault Google, even a little for accepting the ads. It’s an automated system, it adds value to the searcher, and it’s a free market. But still, I wonder if they wouldn’t sleep a little better at night knowing they had added a parameter refusing those sort of ads? I might.

(via BoingBoing)

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