Ford Explorer Teaches Me to Ignore Google AdWords Ads

So I have been doing a bit of surfing around recently and I have been seeing Ford Explorer AdSense ads everywhere.

Are they bidding on a list of stop words or the letters of the alphabet perhaps? At $8 a click? Or what is up with those ads being everywhere? I thought the US auto industry was screwed? While GM is in the hurt locker it doesn't seem Ford is fairing much better.

By Google delivering those damn Explorer ads that are so far off target they are teaching site visitors to ignore the ads, and may be costing themselves and publishers a lot more than they realize. If people learn to ignore textual ads then funding good content production is much harder. If people can't afford to make good content then Google is going to be full of garbage.

I know I have read a number of times about how Google did not like when people bought off topic links. Do they think they are doing the web a favor by putting those Explorer ads on exceptionally off target websites? Where does the targeting end? Why is it legitimate to publish AdSense ads so far off topic if off topic links are bad?

Of course it would be ironic if the ads were behavioral and typing this post meant Ford ads for the next 5 years for me.

Published: December 23, 2005 by Aaron Wall in contextual advertising


December 23, 2005 - 3:23pm

I was actually thinking of banning them myself they are that annoying

December 23, 2005 - 4:39pm

I thought it was just me that was seeing them everywhere. Very annoying.

December 23, 2005 - 7:39pm

I commented on the ads yesterday and, it is annoying. But, after talking to someone at dinner last night, I think the problem is only going to get worse as there is apparently a LOT of automaker money that is slated to make its way into online advertising in the next month or two. Hopefully, Google will get a clue.

December 23, 2005 - 8:52pm

There are a bunch of big spenders getting search savy and we will see alot more of this.
They have so much to spend as a branding thing...

December 23, 2005 - 9:19pm

Yeah, it will be interesting to see how they affect "contextual" advertising networks like Adsense.

December 23, 2005 - 10:29pm

$8 bucks a click!?! Mann... what they need to do is give free lunches of gourmet sandwiches when you visit their dealers like they do at Lexus.

December 23, 2005 - 10:33pm

free lunches of gourmet sandwiches

I think I need a sensible new car here shortly :)

December 28, 2005 - 4:11am

I'd like to hear more about this. I was seeing those ads on some of my sites last week too, specifically on one of my footer placements. Ironically enough I don't have Flash installed in Firefox so I was just seeing a grey box ;)

For general to low quality traffic sites I think this is a good thing. For niche sites.. ban them.

Some Dude
December 28, 2005 - 11:24pm

I think the point is that relevance counts, but you can pay through the nose if you want your add shown anyway. Maybe that premium will go up even higher if people get really pissed about these type of ads.

December 29, 2005 - 7:30am

Google is now officially crap. My blog is full of examples of why this is.

January 3, 2006 - 12:20am

There is no question that Google is officially targeting automakers and encouraging them to advertise more. Unsurprising.

But my question is: do the publishers have Site Targeting enabled? Targeting via "matching page meaning" can be thrown out the window by agreement of advertisers and publishers. Big brands will want to show up more ubiquitously and to maintain high, defensive spending patterns... right? If they pay, where's the harm to the publisher, particularly if they can opt out?

AdSense shouldn't be seen as a panacea. Of course this is what advertising by billion dollar companies has long been like: "untargeted." Given the multitude of ways advertisers and publishers can opt out of aspects of the network experience, I can't see any major harm to either side.

January 3, 2006 - 5:24am

do the publishers have Site Targeting enabled?

Is there an easy transparent way the average publisher can disable site targeting?

January 4, 2006 - 3:45am

Answers own question...
I think the easiest way to disable them is to block them one at a time via the competitive ad filter, but if you don't want site targeted ads why must we wait until after someone has done it to block them?

AdAge has an article about automotive companies already buying up 80% of the 2006 online ad inventory.

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