WTF Adsense Fails #1 - Leotards & Fish Pedicures?

Gez Hebburn

In this day and age, many habitual & professional users of the internet have developed an excellent new financial and psychological survival skill – instant visual spam filtering.

I for one was an early adopter of Gmail, and impressed as I was with Google’s undisputed ability to help me find what I was looking for, decided I didn’t really mind them analysing my email and bombarding me with ‘appropriate’ adverts.

On launch, the system was bad enough. I play percussion, Brazilian percussion to be precise – so my email discussions are loaded with related key phrases including gigs, carnivals, clubs, DJ’s, samba, brazil... and dancers.

Adsense, in its infinite wisdom, mainly tries to sell me... leotards.

Superhero figures in leotards
What Adsense thinks I should be wearing.

Of course, leotard adverts were a powerful influence on the rapid evolution of my visual spam filtering circuits. My internal advertising immunity software now ensures I only notice leotards and other adsense fails when I check for new comedy content.

This new-found human ability to filter out, ignore and ultimately not even see targeted advertising is arguably a very important one. As well as being invaluable research in effective cloaking technology, it potentially saves hours of distracted screen time, saves the PPC advertiser a fortune on mis-targeted click-throughs, and keeps my wallet safe from impulse leotard purchases.

Recently, though -possibly since ‘improvements’ in localisation and the indexing and assimilation of personal Facebook data ,Google’s ad machine has started hitting me with a new sales message. This one never fails - to generate a laugh.

Apparently the fact that I live in Brighton is enough to assume... that I must be an ideal candidate for... wait for it... a FISH PEDICURE. In Brighton.


fish pedicure advert
© 2011 Groupon, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

So there I am, reading about just about anything, anywhere on the web, and the content is partially obscured by a garish advert encouraging me to let some tropical Garra Rufa fish nibble my toes. It happens literally every day. Technology really does improve lives. This amazing service is available right here in my hometown. How convenient! How could I resist!?

Well, I am all for toe nibbling, but let’s leave the fish out of it please.

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