Friday, March 2, 2007

An (Ad)Sensory Experience...

I'd thought I'd try something different today.

Google AdSense is a funny little creature. It allows you to receive revenue on a website, even if you may not be commercial site. Basically, you don't have to do anything to get revenue (small though it may be). Seeing as I like my money for nothing and my checks for free, I decided at the beginning of this blog that I would sell my soul to capitalism. Hence, I put not only
one AdSense bar in my blog, but two. One on the side, on at the bottom.

Now, in case you're wondering what's so different about these ads, it's that they're managed by Google (as everything shall be one day). Hence, Google uses their internet dominance to give "specially-tailored" ads to you, the consumer. The way this works is as follows: when you're on a website know, I'll just let Wikipedia explain it:
Each time a visitor visits a page with an AdSense tag, a piece of JavaScript writes an iframe tag, whose src attribute includes the URL of the page. Google's servers use a cache of the page for the URL or the keywords in the URL itself to determine a set of high-value keywords. (Some of the details are described in the AdSense patent.) If keywords have been cached already, ads are served for those keywords based on the AdWords bidding system.
So there you go. More simply put, the ads you are shown depends on the page you're on. If you're on a soccer fan site (either of them), you might see an ad for Adidas cleats or something.

Okay, enough preamble. Where am I going with this? Well, I like to think that I've covered a wide variety of topics thus far in this blog, so I want to see what Google has seen in it. I'm going to look at each of my posts up to this point, and I'll see the kinds of as each one has.

Shall we get started?
Yes. Good. On we go!

It had to begin somewhere...: A quick scan showed that the most common theme in the ads was blogging. Which makes sense, seeing as this is a blog and all...*cough* My introductory post was no different. The most interesting of them, I feel, was an ad for "Moms Blog", which said, "Share your story and read blogs from moms like you." No matter how many times I read it, it never sounds quite right. Oh, and there's another funny one which asks point blank, "Are you stupid?"

Looking at the Stars...: Okay, this one wasn't much different; most of the ads still dealt with blogging. One interesting one was "Free Blog Ringtones!". I didn't know that in addition to being an integral part to Web 2.0, blogs also had a hit musical career.

An Evening of Wii Boxing: I figured this would either show stuff relating to the Wii or to boxing. It turned out to be the latter. More specifically, it had to do with boxing workouts, although there was one tempting offer for a "free punching bag."

The Horribleness Must End!!!: This one confused the hell out of me. I got an ad for "Handguns for Self Defense", which asks the immortal question, "What type of handgun is the best for self defense?" Never mind the fact that I was writing about the English language. People want their guns, apparently.

LaRouche! LaRouche! LaRouche is on Fire!: One of the ads on this one had the title "Cal Berkeley University." Isn't that nice, an ad for Cal. What's the description say, though? "Move your career forward with an accredited online degree." That doesn't sound like Cal at all. In fact, if you were to click on the link, you'd see that, unlike the prestigious University of Phoenix, Cal isn't on their list of "accredited" schools at all! What a gyp!

Revelations and Taglines: This also had stuff to do with self-defense, including $25 stun-guns. I guess Google's reasoning is "If you're associating with freaks like this guy, you're going to have the need to protect yourself sooner or later."

The Rotten Apple, Part I: Here I was expecting the ultimate irony; that on a page in which I express my hatred for Apple, there would be ads for the company. Actually, all the ads were for volunteering, the most interesting being, "Prayer Volunteers Wanted: Prayer Touches Lives - Reach hearts around the world with your prayers." A beautiful sentiment, to be sure, but a funny thing to advertise...

A (Quelled) Announcement...: I actually got an ad to a specific blog on this one. "Shane Sanders Blog Column - Insightful Articles on Sports, Economics, Life." You'd think this is some hoity-toity professional, don't you? Well, you'd be wrong. It's just some guy with 11 posts on a LiveJournal and (the best part) no comments.

The Rotten Apple, Part II: I found some spyware-removal program ads at the bottom of this one. I think that's the first practical ad I've seen so far.

The Best Grifts Come From the Heart: One funny "Blog" ad I saw said the following: "Eons is a leading blog community for adults over 50 years old." I'm sorry, but the term "eons" really has to be a downer to some of the old folks, particularly those who wish to be young again. "Sorry, Gramps, you can't be with the in-crowd. You're in the eons."

Today Was a Big First for Me...: There was some more volunteering ads here, including one which offered an "Internship in Nepal" (as well as other places) for $799. So, not only are you not getting paid for your volunteer work, but you actually have to pay them to work for them. Brilliant strategy.

Mini-Blogs, Set One: Just more about blogging, nothing new or interesting.

The Lobotomist's Dream Post-Superbowl Extravaganza!!!: As can be expected, there were plenty of ads about the Superbowl and its commercials. One which I thought seemed a little too provocative was for "Banned Commercials - Too Hot For TV". However, a quick look at the URL showed that this was an ad for something more insidious than pornography - the pretentious, prevaricating propagandists known as PETA. I don't think there's a supposedly "good" organization I have less respect for. Begone, PETA ad! Off my blog!

Notice Anything...Different?: Being an extremely short post about my blog, the ads here also were just the same rehashes.

Music to My Ears...: Ah, I think this was the most distinct of them all. In addition to offering "Free Music Downloads" (which, if you look, turn out to be anything but), there is also an ad called "Soundtrack" in which "An all-star cast pays tribute to legendary composer Ennio Morricone". What? Not only is that not a soundtrack (it is a "Tribute"), I've never even heard of this man. And if I haven't heard of him, he's obviously not "legendary."

I Want to Know - Have You Ever Seen the Rain?: Ah, plenty of ads about rain clothing, including "Helpful Links for Rain Boots," which turns out to be nothing but a page of more ads. Lovely.

Through Tinted Glass...: They actually had ads for sunglasses on here. Sadly, though, none were for the kind I wanted. Rats! And here I thought I could actually work the system.

Required Reading: The only ad which caught my eye here was for the "Tom Howard Story Contest." They say they have $3,200 in prizes, but there's also a $12 entry fee. I've always been wary about contests with an entry fee, but who knows, maybe I'll submit my Sapphire story.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish...BLUE Fish???: This one also threw me for loop, as the most common theme here was for "Criminal Background Checks Made Easy". Hmm, maybe Google really does think I'm sketchy.

The Lobotomist's Dream Valentines Eve Special!: Considering that this was a Valentine's Day blog, I thought the addition of "Discount Pepper Spray" was a crack-up.

More like the "Goodbye, Break" Café...*cough*: There were even more Valentine's Day ads here, probably due to the fact that it was posted on that day. They seem kinda useless now, but I guess it's never too early to plan ahead.

Down the Rabbit Hole...: I always love the ads that say something to this effect: "Get a free copy of Windows Vista 2007. Offer expires today!" They never expire today, and anyone with half a brain knows they don't. Plus, having to sign up for a bunch of different offers just to get a free copy of a new, still-buggy product is neither appealing nor economically free.

Influences, Part I - The Incredible Quotable Oscar Wilde and His 1890s Companions: The theme on this page, for some reason, was paralegal training, for all the many people wishing to be legal secretaries. I was disappointed, really; I wanted some 1890s paraphernalia.

Questionnaires: One-Word Answers: More criminal background checks here, and not much else.

Ashes to Ashes...: I thought the funniest ad here was for "Chimney-Cleaning Logs". Haha! 'Cause, y'know, ashes...

Why I Hate the News...: Here I was, talking about natural disasters, and the ads were about "Personal Soccer Training - Register Now for Individual and Group Sessions with an Expert Instructor." You see, this is the kind of ad that should be on either of the soccer fan sites.

Presenting the Greatest Team Ever!!!: In addition to an eBay ad searching "Roosevelt", there were ads for "Scalp Treatment" and "Hair Loss Treatment," which is ironic because none of those presidents were bald.

Monday Music Madness!!!: There is one ad here which says, "How to Copy Any DVD Movie - Copy & Burn any protected DVD Movie to a blank CD. Copies play anywhere." Despite being sketchy (partially because CDs are too small to hold movies), I find it amazing that such an ad can be legal. I mean, I have no qualms with...those people who copy movies, but this ad looks like it's begging for a letter from the RIAA.

An "Eye-Opening" Experience...: Surprise, surprise, eye exam and contact lens ads. One which tickled me offered a "Free Online Eye Exam." I'd be really curious to see how that actually worked (and if it was actually free), but I didn't want to give them my email address.

A Different Place to Rest My Hat...: One ad that caught my eye said, "Coffee exposed - A Shocking Secret Coffee Co's don't want You to know". Horrified, I took a look. I breathed a sigh of relief when it was only referring to "stale" coffee. No e. coli to be found.

How Funny Can a Guy Named Victor Be?: Finally, we have an ad for "Executive Protection" and "Armed Security Officers", which Google recommends you post around your house in case I ever decide to come over for a visit.

My overall impressions? Google's AdSense isn't as accurate as I think they'd like it to, they obviously think I'm evil. Take a look around some time at the ads on here. Some of the actual websites can be pretty funny to look at (just don't sign up for them). And whenever you do click on something to laugh at, I get a few cents in my pocket. Everyone's a winner!

No comments: