Thursday, May 24, 2007

When Google ads go wrong

Here is a classic - and rather sad - case of when the automatic serving of sponsored links from Google against content can prove, er, problematic.

A UK-based obituary website,, where visitors can post tributes to loved ones, has been critcised by users who discovered some rather inappropriate ads placed alongside content.

Links to low-cost carrier Ryanair, for example, were found next to tributes to dead boys and men named Ryan.

A page dedicated to a man who died in a motorcyle accident featured an ad for, you guessed it, motorcyles.

The owner of the site, Terry George, introduced Google ads to the site recently but, according to reports, didn't realise that links are created based on content on the same page.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

Hat-tip: BBC

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The contextual ads at the top of the spam folder in Google's Gmail web-based email are all for spam recipes. Mine is currently reading "Spam Hashbrown Cakes - serves 8".

I can't work out if this is deliberately tongue-in-cheek or happy accident.