One of Melbourne’s main newspapers is The Age and like many newspapers it can be accessed via a Web Browser, including a mobile website. Most articles that appear on the mobile site have advertisements by Google, as well as featured advertising. Now I cannot blame The Age for using advertising to subsidize their website; after all if I visit their website I may not purchase an actual paper. But I do ponder what mechanism exists for selecting the advertisements. Let look at some examples:
On April 28, 2011 The Age carried a story about a tourist who nearly killed a crocodile by feeding it a brick. So what did Google suggest? A brick matching service of course!
In an article on May 3, 2011 regarding the death of Osama Bin Laden and how he had evaded capture up until his death, what did Google suggest? How about a mobile phone stealth product and home conveyancing! Unsure who they were targeted to?
On August 23, 2011 an article ran about the Federal Labour politician Craig Thomson who is having problems with allegations regarding the use of a credit card to pay for escort services. So what did Google suggest? Cable TV (Foxtel) and Credit Card debt relief! Perhaps they are suggesting that watching the right channels on Foxtel could prevent embarrassing credit card charges?
Probably the worst example of Google confusion is the story of the Youtube bully video that The Age published on March 21, 2011. Bullying is a terrible thing and should not be made light of, but considering that one of the bullied children reported being abused by being tied up with duct tape, Googles suggestion was rather shocking:
So have you seen worse examples? Curious to see if other websites are having the same issues.