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.

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  1. identicon
    Decius, 5 Sep 2006 @ 2:09pm

    Black People

    Reminds me of the old "Buy Black People on Ebay" gag years back...

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