Along with the internet advertising boom there’s been significant
growth in the popularity of contextual advertising, where an
advertiser’s message is placed alongside the most relevant or suitable
content.

But being a relatively new technology, there are some problems. First
of all, some nasty little tech-heads hanging out in cyberspace are
doing a good job spreading ads for all sorts of things through annoying
means like pop-ups.

And they’re also muscling in on the website space where legitimate
contextual ads are supposed to appear, getting in first and placing
unauthorised messages there instead. But sneaky methods aside,
contextual advertising has got some problems of its own, particularly
with the paid messages it places next to stories on news websites.

Crikey perused The Sydney Morning Herald’s website and found
some shockers. Above an overseas wire story last week on police
questioning Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo over rape
allegations is an advertisement for Fairfax’s RSVP dating website which
says: “Are you looking for love?”

On the same day, a KY personal lubricant ad featured on a story from
the US about a truck driver who filmed his mate having sex with a
horse. An archived story from July about three arrests over a gang rape
in south-western Sydney also features a KY ad.

But taking the cake is a Les
Kennedy piece several weeks ago about a man accused of animal pet
cruelty, and specifically sexual relations with rabbits in Sydney’s
CBD. Not only is there another KY ad, but a separate ad on the same
page about gaining and maintaining an erection!

[email protected]