Adventures in Google’s Contextual Advertising


Ah, the magical irony that is Google.

The indispensible Internet thingy’s second largest business operation is Adsense, an advertising revenue-sharing arrangement with thousands of bloggers and online news outlets, in which Google’s algorithms scan online content and match it with relevant ads.

A story about mutual funds, for example, would be paired with an ad for Morgan Stanley. But sometimes the company’s spybots go a little haywire. Take the editorial in today’s New York Sun, for example. The authors harumph over the city employee pension plan’s lawsuit against Apple Computers, in which the pension fund has substantial stock. There’s a good deal of righteous indignation over the plague of class-action lawyers that stalk the land and ruin honest businessmen.

And what Google ads pop up right next to the screed? One for class action lawyer James Sokolove’s endless asbestos lawsuits, and one seeking clients for Koskoff Koskoff and Bieder, a Connecticut law firm that specializes in medical malpractice.

Fume all you want, Sun editorial scribes, but those goddamn legal eagles will always win in the end!