Saturday, August 27, 2005

Why irrevelant text adverts keep appearing on tech sites

I'm sure that there's more than one reason for it, but Tim O'Reilly's recent article provides some insight into one cause.

Search engine spammers (or optimisers; is this the hacker/cracker thing again?) have trouble getting high page ranks through link farming (because Google now ignores link farms) and find the prices for certain AdSense keywords (to appear as sponsored links in Google's search results) too high, so instead they pay high page-ranked sites to carry their text ads to get some reflected page rank. That is to say, the people viewing the pages that these ads appear on are not in fact the intended audience; rather people searching Google for particular keywords are the intended audience, this is merely a means to get Google to put them there, and for the high page-ranked site to make some cash on its "position".

I don't yet have an opinion on the validity or otherwise of this practice, but discovering why something odd happens is often of interest.

(via Kottke)