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Contextual ads can be your enemy

October 9, 2007 @ 8:00am

I was testing an online project management application last night and didn't feel like signing up for the paid version, so I signed up for the free trial. Their free trial is advertiser supported with Google Ad Sense ads at the bottom of the screen.

Ad Sense works by looking at the page you are on and determining which of Google's advertisers to show based on the page contents. The trouble with these ads here is that they are all for this app's competitors. To Google, that is the correct context of this page. It is a site about online project management, so the four ads were for "Simple Project Management", "New Project Mgmt Solution", "Project Management" and "Web Based Project Mgmt".

I tried all four links and found I liked three of them even better than the site I was testing. So those ads probably made them 20 cents, but they would have been better off letting me poke around a little more. I was considering subscribing.

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