Wednesday, June 17, 2009

When will we get better contextual ads?

For contractual reasons, I usually refrain from discussing the advertisements that appear on the Empoprises blogs. However, this was just too bizarre to pass up.

I recently added a post to my Empoprise-IE blog (no link, for aforementioned contractual reasons) that talked about the U.S. Flag Day holiday, a celebration of said holiday in Pomona, California, and the Finnish flag. Because I subscribe to my own blog (somebody has to), I received an email including this post that includes an embedded advertisement. Based upon the context of the words in this post, an ad was served up that included the following headline:

American Flag Casket 80% Off

Now I'll admit that my reaction to this was somewhat colored by recent events. Normally, people in the funeral industry apologize in their advertisements if the advertisement appears at an inopportune time. Well, this particular ad didn't have any such message - and, as it happens, I read it a day after attending a funeral.

But it still strikes me as bizarre that a message that I considered to be a message about a Finnish woman's birthday and an American holiday ended up becoming the host of a casket advertisement.

I'm sure that you've noticed the same thing when you visit blogs with advertisements - you read the text of the blog post, and then you see an advertisement that completely clashes with the nature of the blog itself. Or perhaps you're on your own profile - a profile for a service where you've already told them that you're married - and you get served up a bunch of singles ads. (But then again, considering the number of marriages that end in divorce, perhaps the advertisers know what they're doing.)

I wish that ads were more in line with the content of the surrounding text. Hopefully this will improve over the years. It has to.
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