"Ads by Google" on the first post of the thread

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by Watcher, Jul 2, 2004.

  1. Watcher Just another old creaker Registered Senior Member

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    First of all, I have no problem with any website earning some cash to keep things going. Sites with no revenue stream eventually die.

    But... I was rather surprised to see some of the "ads" that have been associated with top level threads.

    For example, a thread in Ethics, Morality, & Justice called Bisexuality

    http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?t=37730

    generated an ad for http://www.defendmarriage.net, including a banner declaring "Show your support for traditional marriage, purchase and display merchandise with our popular Defend Marriage logo".

    Of course the Google ad engine searches the text of the post for keywords, and supplies an ad that seems like a good fit for their advertiser. I don't think that anyone would have a problem if we were talking about ads for Coke, or automobiles, or travel agencies, or toilet paper. BUT I am a little distressed at the appearance of "ads" within a discussion forum that are clearly designed to detect the presence of an opposing opinion, and then supply propaganda to counter it.

    Seems to me that this type of targetted "ad" tends to undermine the very nature of an interactive discussion forum.

    Google would be better served if they stuck to products and services, and stay away from the non-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Is there any way to restrict the advertising robot to products and services only?
     
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  3. Alpha «Visitor» Registered Senior Member

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    Google would need to implement that. Really though, if you're not interested in the ad, ignore it. It's a relevent ad, so why complain? Google doesn't necessarily know which side of the debate people are on. The advertiser likely submitted keywords it wanted it's ad displayed for, such has "homosexual", "marriage", "wedding", etc.
     
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  5. Watcher Just another old creaker Registered Senior Member

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    Hmmm I think you missed my point - that this it is really not an "advertisement". An ad is selling a product or service, which would be completely legitimate.

    The non-profit is using the Google service to seek out people on the Internet that oppose their views. I feel this is somewhat instrusive and manipulative, particularly on a free-speech forum. I suspect that Google does not make it clear to potential clients that non-profit, religious or political organizations might use the robot to find an audience they want to influence.

    There is probably a place for these organizations to promote their ideas - but does it belong on an interactive discussion forum? The key word is
    i n t e r a c t i v e.
     
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  7. Alpha «Visitor» Registered Senior Member

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    It is still an advertisement by the definition of the word. Just not an ad for a product/service. One of the main purposes of ads is to increase awareness. The ad is serving that function. It's not really relevant that the purpose of this ad isn't motivated by profit. Not relevant for the requirement of being an ad anyway. I don't see how it's intrusive, and as for manipulative, it's simply providing a different viewpoint (and may not realize it's doing so).
    As for it appearing on this forum, you'd have to talk to Porfiry about that one. He joined the adwords program (or whatever it's called) and chose to display Google ads on his site. The content is determined automatically by keywords, and the question of belonging isn't really relevant either. It belongs because Porfiry chose it, and Google found a matching keyword.
     
  8. Hathor Banned Banned

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    really. i find it an endless source of amusement. the mismatches are hilarious.
    i particularly like the ufo ads. i bet the skeptics practically hurl when they see their precious science forum defiled in such a manner

    yay! google ads rule!

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  9. Hathor Banned Banned

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    what the hell? whats going on? is there a glitch?

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  10. §outh§tar is feeling caustic Registered Senior Member

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    I have a firewall that blocks them by default.

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  11. Watcher Just another old creaker Registered Senior Member

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    SouthStar...

    I have ZoneAlarm. What is yours? That's nice not to have to see that stuff.
    My understanding is that G-mail also has this "feature" (in other words your email is accompanied by relevant advertisement). Sticking with Yahoo mail for now.

    Hathor:

    As far as this being a "precious science forum", well I've been in and out of various forums for years... all of them have their advantages and disadvantages. All in all, this forum has less intrusive advertising than many, so that's a good thing. But I'm not so enthralled with Google's tactics, and I'm not alone in that opinion, those signing up for G-mail aren't so happy either - it uses the same methodology by mining the email for keywords.
     
  12. Alpha «Visitor» Registered Senior Member

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    I have a Gmail account, and yes it does display ads at the side of the screen in emails. At first I didn't like it, but I've found some of them to be useful, and they really don't bother me anymore. It's very easy to ignore them. Privacy implications are negligible. The sites linked to don't get any info about your email or anything.
     

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