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Behavioural Targeting Fail


I was checking out my stats on eWebCounter just a moment ago and could not believe the three ads I was staring at in the Google Ads bar on the left side.

If you know me at all, you'll know that this was a total behavioural targeting fail.

Not a chance.


No Thanks.
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Reader Comments (14)

Uh, right--NOT appropriate at all.

March 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarla

Yikes! You are right!

March 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjane

I was reading a breastfeeding blog that had Google ads on its feed one day. The ad that was displayed had a header that read "Breastfeeding" but it was really an ad for formula. That's when I decided that there's no way I would ever use Google ads myself.

Your experience just confirms it for me.

March 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

@Amber: I don't have them on my blog (I only do the BlogHer network right now), this was on a Web site that I go to to check my stats. But if you do include them on your blog, you can block particular ads. However, you can't block them in advance from what I can tell, so you have to wait until you or someone else sees it and then request that it be removed. BlogHer is nice because I can block certain industries and companies in advance, so their ads never show up.

March 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I see that all the time, very bothersome. I have a little ad square on mine but its so far down the page I have no idea what is even on it.

March 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

They sure did get that one wrong! lol

I also find it sad that there are so many of these.

March 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermilkmama

Do those black magic marker marks show up when you object to an ad?

March 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnn Douglas

@Ann Douglas - That would be great, wouldn't it?

March 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Those remind me of the "Breastfeeding Success Kits" many hospitals give out in the states- they all have bottles and formula in them ?!

March 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAllie

congratulations on knowing what the term "behavioral targeting" means. I didn't know that anyone outside of the advertising industry knew what it was, but it can be a frightening concept. I work in advertising and BT is my daily life.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTheFeministBreeder

@TheFeministBreeder I'm involved in search engine optimization stuff for some of my clients and involved in marketing stuff for others, so I've come across it in my work. I'm getting increasingly concerned about the ethics of how it is used in some cases, especially when you start seeing formula ads popping up under a heading of breastfeeding help.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

It can certainly be an ethical issue - especially the retargeting aspect. Our company offers a retargeting product that allows major manufacturers to conquest intenders of another product - so these formula companies are basically buying "breastfeeding" beacons, and retargeting anyone who's been pixeled with a "breastfeeding intender" beacon.

If people knew this, I wonder how it would change their behavior? I wonder if they'd realize they were being had? I wonder if they'd know how hard the formula companies work to undermine their breastfeedind efforts?

Lesson to people - clear your cookies constantly.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTheFeministBreeder

@TheFeministBreeder - Considering the number of people that still order free breastfeeding support kits from formula companies, I'd say the chances of people changing their behaviour is slim.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

[...] I don’t like formula ads to begin with, but what is particularly offensive about the one on Blacktating and many others is that they pretend to be a breastfeeding site, a place that you might be able to get support. I’ve seen this type of thing before and noted it in my post behavioural targeting fail. [...]

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