eBay's Advertising Gremlins Want You To Buy Steve Irwin's Death

from the oops dept

For years, Overture (now a part of Yahoo!), used to say that Google's contextual ad matching might be a problem in cases where the text alone didn't provide the right context. They used an example of a news article about someone being stabbed, where Google would supposedly show contextual ads for knives. It was never clear if this was a real example, or something simply made up by Overture's marketing team, but it was mentioned so often that many people assumed it was fact. Whether or not it was true, the Register is pointing to an example that shows these types of problems can happen. Following the news that Steve Irwin (aka "The Crocodile Hunter") was killed this weekend by a stingray, plenty of people searched the internet for news of his death. It's quite likely that many did searches on Google, where apparently at least some were shown an ad offering the ability to "buy Steve Irwin Dead on eBay." This isn't the first time we've seen ridiculous eBay ads, where they clearly are substituting the search term for a wildcard, but it does seem particularly bad in a case like this. You would think that words such as "death" or "dead" would be on the blocked list... but apparently not in this case.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Ensign Pike, 5 Sep 2006 @ 3:56pm

    Bad ad strategy

    I will occasionally click on ads when searching google (especially when I'm looking to buy something) but I never hit the ebay ads for precisely this reason. It's obvious that it doesn't matter if it's available or not, therefor they are all suspect.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.