Posted August 7, 2007 7:05 am by with 11 comments

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For the most part Google’s AdSense algorithm is pretty good at matching AdWords ads to relevant content. Unfortunately, every now and then it goes wrong. This time Google decided that an ad for “Sexual Emoticons” would match perfectly with content on practical tips for handling sexual harassment in the workplace. We’re pretty sure that’s the last thing the site visitor would want to see.

It’s no wonder Facebook advertisers are concerned with their ad placement, when even Google can’t always get it right.

Check out the bottom left of this screenshot – click to enlarge.


Thanks to Mike for the tip.

  • *chuckle* can see that raising a few eyebrows.

    The question remains though, how do you solve this sort of issue? I suppose the answer would be to elevate the ad placement from keyword matching to some sort of sementic analysis ….
    or maybe, just don’t run AdWords on sensitive pages.

  • Lol that’s another in a long list of unfortunate ads. Most of the ones I’ve seen have been on Google’s own pages due to the broad search matching done by sites like ebay and others. In this case though I think it would reflect just as badly on the site publishing the ads as it does on Google.

  • Just when you think things can’t get worse huh? It looks like Google still needs to work on getting adsense ads right!

  • It goes to show that algorithms aren’t quite as good as human beings when it comes to determining obvious inappropriate connections.

    Just because two pages (or in this case a page and an ad) use the same or similar words doesn’t mean both are talking about the same thing.

  • They’ll still need to improve their matching algorithm. I think some extra ‘if’s should be performed before matching these ads. But it could have been worse, right?

  • Yeah, gotta watch that broad match too, we’ve checked our search query reports and found bids on some terms were somehow extrapolated to child porn… thanks Google, that’s EXACTLY the kind of association with our brand we pay good money for.

  • I am wondering if someone clicked on that ad.

  • *cough* lawsuit! *cough* 😀

  • Tony

    Ebay are no different I saw an advert for molestation on a victims of sexual abuse website

  • Wow, that is pretty shocking. Was expecting something a little worse, sex emoticons are too bad. Nonetheless, on a sexual harrasment websites definately not necessary.

  • Hershel Gau

    You guys are all dumb. The Google ads are displayed from data taken from your own recent search results and +1’s and other factors. The ads that are shown are most likely NOT shown on everyone’s visit..They would get ads relevant to them