Robert Scoble’s Frustrations and why branding on Internet is different

Over at the Scobleizer blog two days ago, Robert Scoble (author of Naked Conversations) shared about Google changing its monetization strategy toward a Microsoft one… and in his post he mentioned a particular frustration about Google ads:

Did you realize that over on Naked Conversations, our book blog about corporate blogging, we can’t put Google ads on there?

Why not? Well when we tried Google ads we got a ton of porn advertising (we’re the #10 result for “naked”). Yes, we’ve out SEO’d the porn industry, but that means we can’t take Google ads cause Google ads (unlike ads, from, say, FM Media) won’t let us choose which advertising we want on our pages. So, we removed the Google ad bar from our blog.

As I read this, I laughed my head off, because I realised I had been a similar situation before (albeit not so funny).

I was writing on a particular trek in Kuantan, Malaysia called the “Berkelah Waterfalls”… and since the trek isn’t as popular as the Himalayas and “Berkelah” is not an proper English word, Google served me ads based on the word “Waterfall”… I got totally unrelated adverts like “Artificial Rocks”, and “Polyester Rock Systems”.

On another case, I talked about hydrating myself during treks – and one of the measures for that is to drink enough such that you urinate a number of times a day… and I got served funny advertisements again – I got more ads about urination than hydration! :mrgreen: And to make matters worse, it seem like there is a shortage of supply about urination system, and the ads persisted even after new entries were posted on the blog!

So with contextual advertising programs like Google Adsense, it is important that you be careful with what you write and how you brand yourself! While humans can probably understand what “Naked conversations” mean as a snazzy phrase to a book, search engines are probably going to pick these words up literally!

Pardon me if funny ads start showing up after this post! :mrgreen:


  1. You can filter these ads SITE by SITE! That’s the only work-around Google can offer. But if you are talking about Naked then I supposed there are just too many advertisers competing for this keyword and the manual filter will not be a feasible solution. Rocket scientists at Googleplex need to think harder…

  2. Yeah, thanks Shi. Google does allow you to filter out ads – primarily for filtering out competitors’ ads.

    But then again – the line is drawn at 200 filters! Definitely for some industries there will be more than 200 online players right? Also, this does not solve new ads been added to the queue every single day.

  3. You *might* have some success by going to your blog’s HTML and specifying (using some special AdSense delimiters) exactly what you want AdSense to concentrate on.
    Can’t remember exactly how to do this, but it was pretty easy. Then again, it may not work for you!