Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Irony, Keywords, Google Ads, and Self-Censorship

I tried an interesting experiment with a blog entry. I was wondering why a certain post generated no google ads. There was nothing really objectionable about the content, most of it being a quote from a GM press release. So, was it the negative tone? So, as an experiment, I changed two words in the title of the post. So, look at the difference in the google ad coverage between

- the modified original post

and

- the post with the original title

Interesting! Becasue of two words, I dont get different ads, I get NO ads.

Now, this is just a vanity blog, but even so, the tacit disapproval by the community of google ad buyers doesn't go unnoticed. What does this mean for bloggers who ARE trying to make something commercial from their blogs? Does this mean that the ad market is in effect censoring certain tones of discussion? (Or that someone with a contrary POV shouldn't rely on mainstream sources like google ads for reveue?).

More importantly, when you see a website with google ads (like this one), are YOU, the reader, keeping in mind that the words on the page may be carely editted so as not to disrupt a revenue source?

I dont have a fundamental problem with what I found. Nobody is forced to carry google ads,
and a free market should be about reinforcing choices with capital. But it is interesting to see that the lure of income is strong, even in a backwater like this blog.

Fortunately, the irony filters have yet to be deployed, so by careful (careless?) wordsmithing, one can get a snarky point across using only happy smiley words. But I'm too old for irony, and damn it, it's hard work.

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