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Search Engines Say The Darnedest Things

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Dynamic keyword insertion for contextual advertising has its drawbacks, like making one’s ad look like the advertiser engages in human trafficking.

Search Engines Say The Darnedest Things

The idea behind dynamic insertion makes it a benefit to the advertiser. When someone searches for a specific keyword falling under the range covered by the dynamic one, the searcher sees an ad with that keyword displayed.

It’s a great little bit of technological wizardry, but magic is not infallible (just ask Merlin about Nimue sometime.) At Justilien Gaspard’s blog, we see an example of how this can go awry.

When searching for ‘buy kids’ or ‘sell kids’ on Google (or Yahoo or Ask), some disturbing ads appear in response. Ads for Target and eBay’s Shopping.com assure us that we can buy kids online, and find great deals and save!

The ‘sell kids’ response from eBay’s ad promises plenty of competition for our young’un. "212 million potential new buyers," says their contribution to the poor-choice-of-words Hall of Fame.

But hold off on that phone call to Chris Hansen. Target and eBay aren’t trying to grow their business by seeking out vile human trafficking scum.

It looks like these searches trigger dynamic insertion ads in response. Questionable ones, in this instance, but algorithms don’t understand that kind of subtlety. Hopefully people seeing these ads do understand it.

 

Search Engines Say The Darnedest Things
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