I was emailing with a friend of mine in an exchange over some travel plans and the coming holiday. Normally, I block all advertisements in Firefox using Adblock, but I had whitelisted Gmail for some reason recently and so I was seeing the contextual advertising displayed on the right side of the web page.
Since I rarely see advertisements, I hardly ever investigate contextual advertising. But given the sheer variety of products and services, I had to check out some of these:
- The Gold Cockerel Books company offers a chicken coop construction booklet at a mere $13.00. Except they call it a “poultry house” which is surely a major step up for any fowl who grew up in a lowly coop.
- Google picked up on a keyword for a traditional Ethiopian clothing worn around Christmas but instead provided a few links for Chinese clothing. That’s a pretty far off from Africa, but the wedding dresses were still beautiful.
- Perhaps the most confusing advertisement was the How to be a Manhattan Dad, which linked out to a blog by a father with two young children The City. There are some rather cute videos of his children endorsing Barack Obama and a brief rant on paternity leave disparity.
I often get stuck in a cycle of reading my big news sites, my rss syndication and checking the analytics on online properties I control. For those Gmail users seeking adventure, I recommend cruising some of your more colorful past conversations for odd destinations on the web you would otherwise never have considered.