Rogue’s Gallery of Inappropriate Bubble Ads

This search for “Child Protection Services, NY” provides an obvious example of Google’s inability to target a specific ad against a specific place with their new Info Bubble Ads.  It provides great fodder for my second installment of the Rogue’s Gallery of Inappropriate Bubble Ads

There is some irony that the Archdiocese of New York* is sandwiched between Children’s Rights and the NY Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Child in the Map search results and I suppose the bottom ad for a Child Protection Lawyer is somehow oddly relevant in this context.

But the ad for the Gay Church service shown against the Archdiocese manages to clearly demonstrate Google’s (lack of ) ability to target these ads correctly. It adds fuel to the already inappropriate fire that is the Bubble Ad… I never knew that the Adwords algo had such a twisted  sense of humor.

In attempting to match a single ad to a single Place in Google Maps raises multiple issues…..

1)Certainly business (and churches & political organization for that matter) have a new arena where they need to worry about reputation management. They now have to think about “defending” themselves against ads from competitors or groups that disagree with their position….This drives ad growth and is likely to drive up bid prices for Google. While this occurs for all the wrong reasons I believe that they ones of which Google is likely aware. I had heard rumors in early September of Adword Account Reps instructing large Adword clients to take out ads in Google Maps in anticipation of this rollout.

2)The algo is incapable of correctly understanding which Places should have ads and which shouldn’t. This makes every Place in the virtual universe a target for an ad. Churches which are in theory a sanctuary from commercialism lose that… somber memorials become just another opportunity for a pitch.

3)Content that is abhorent or antithetical to the Place in real life can be associated with the Place virtually. The algo does not posses any ability to distinguish relevancy at a granular enough level to provide truly relevant ads that respect the intentions and aspirations of a given place. But worse, ads that are totally inappropriate by most human standards become acceptable.

4)At the end of the day, many of these ads are disrespectful of the user that made the effort to dive deeply into Google and find out more information about a given place.

There is the argument that the low visibility of the ad location somehow obviates the offense. My experience with Google Maps is that it is a testing ground for the big show. Single ads against single Places will migrate outward and upward if they are successful within Maps.

Like Facebook is pushing the limits of privacy in an effort to have none, Google is pushing the limits of ad display so that there are no societal limits on where or when ads can be displayed. Clearly breaking down societal mores that provide implicit boundaries to advertising is in Google’s best interest. I am not sure that it is the interest of either the general public nor the small business community.

*Note that I have no love lost on the Archdiocese of NY and they certainly have only themselves to blame for any problems that they have. That doesn’t deny my belief that they, and any church for that matter, should not have to worry about how Google uses their info bubble.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Rogue's Gallery of Inappropriate Bubble Ads by

12 thoughts on “Rogue’s Gallery of Inappropriate Bubble Ads”

  1. Google (and especially GooglePlace) is in my opinion a ‘money making machine’ without sense & soul.
    So what can & should we expect?

    Strange enough. until few days any try creating entries for GooglePlace containg th eword “Gay” was rejected by “gay isn’t a permitted term” orn similar.

  2. @EHG

    ‘money making machine’ without sense & soul

    Great quote!

    Is gay still not permitted? Did they just make an exception and white flag it in the one account?

  3. so how long will Bubble Ads be around and How long have they been around? This has caused a problem with a person i worked with already as well. :\

  4. Google is not so much interested in providing relevant (or accurate) content for the local algo as it is in making money; you’re right ehg, it’s a business. It’s one mistake after another, quality control is a joke. Rolling out products full launch after limited and weak testing. It keeps us SEO’s in business, that’s for sure.

    Andy :-)

  5. @Andy

    This bonehead move will keep the hard sell, less than honest PPC houses in business as well…. I can hear the pitch now… “Look at this ad that is on your info bubble! You need to protect your reputation! Take an ad out with us.”

  6. Mike I had not stopped by in a few days… what a great series of posts. I have not laughed this hard in a quite a while!! ATTENTION anyone looking to launch a search engine NOW is your chance Google is dropping the ball.

  7. @Mark
    See what you missed? Juicy, juicy articles.

    Google frequently takes these sorts of fliers, tests, reviews and the reworks them so that they actually work. This one is definitely off to a bad start and falls in the alpha category. But their strength is often their ability to go back at these things and make them somehow work…. I don’t see that as possible here but maybe I am wrong. :)

  8. For nearly a year I have been trying to get Google to stop redefining our place as a Nightclub and putting strip clubs, adult dating services and similar as related places and in the adverts.

    Our place is in fact a Children’s Dance group and categorized as a Children’s Activity.

    Other folk dance groups have had the same treatment.

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