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back to article Google on advertising-funded cesspools: We don't like them either

Did you know that Lexus marketing money has wound up in the hands of a bestiality video website? I certainly didn't either, and it's a sure bet that Toyota Motor Company, which owns the Lexus brand, didn't mean that to happen. But it's just one striking example of how multinational companies help fund the web's darker side. …

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My girlfriend's dog loves our new Lexus.

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Bit confused

Are they talking about adds appearing ON the websites (adsense, clickszor etc) or appearing on the search engine when a list of nasty sites is displayed?

If its the ad-sense side of things then the ad agency controlling the account has a lot of tools that they can use to push their adds towards hosts they deem accessible. But in the end, if a site is about bestiality or human trafficking, then they are not going to advertise themselves as such.

A "black list" is hardly useful as these sites are illegal and would be closed down the moment they are discovered.

If a company uses less reputable advert placement schemes then they do so with full knowledge that these company's will allow anyone to host their adds with little checking (if any) and as such, then yes they are implicit in the dark side (tm)

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Re: Bit confused

doubleclick ads appear on bittorrent webpages. The agencies say that it is all sub-sub-sub-sub-contracted out to some 5th party company in Ulan Bator, much as the parent company says that all transactions take place behind some bullock pen in Tipperary.

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Re: Bit confused

"A "black list" is hardly useful as these sites are illegal and would be closed down the moment they are discovered."

That's a bit of a sweeping statement there; bestiality isn't even universally illegal, and depending on the agenda of those doing the categorising, certain introductions sites could be considered "human trafficking" (e.g. the various "Russian Brides" agencies).

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Anonymous Coward

"In finance, there's a saying: 'Complexity is fraud'".

What part of finance isn't complex?

@Gordon Prya

The way I understood it was when 'sponsored results' appear for searches such as "Nun getting it from a dog in a lexus" then sponsored ads for lexus appear next to the organic results possibly rouge sites that stream bestiality for example.

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What part of finance isn't complex?

Large parts of finance are extremely simple, so long as you understand a few basic concepts - and the terminology. If you do it every day, and still don't understand some transaction then it's entirely possible that there's something wrong with the offer. But it's embarrassing to say "I don't understand" when everyone else is busily pretending that they do. This is the root of quite a lot of the recent financial crisis.

If risk-management can't understand it, then they can't manage it, or price it. Like selling interest rate swaps to small businesses, the offer was too complex for them to understand because the banks were hiding the fact that there was virtually no upside in the deal for the small businesses concerned. Whichever way interest rates went, the banks did OK. But they were sold as a way of avoiding volatility.

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>Large parts of finance are extremely simple, so long as you understand a few basic concepts

Buy good businesses at a fair price, hold until price is high, sell, repeat. Ignore anyone talking about money on TV unless it is Warren Buffett. Don't borrow more than you can afford to repay. There you go, that will beat 99% of professional money managers over a decade.

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rouge sites that stream bestiality

I've heard of lipstick on a pig, but rouge bestiality is a new one for me. Boy, is my face red!

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British Phonographic Institute

Wow! You guys have a British Phonographic Institute over there? How do you enroll, is there a test? Do they offer night classes?

dZ.

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Re: British Phonographic Institute

I think that there is a misunderstanding here, but I can't tell exactly what. Probably "Phonographic",

As it happens, Wikipedia's page redirects to "British Phonographic Industry", and web site www.bpi.’co.uk apparently refers throughout to "BPI" or "BPI The British Recorded Music Industry" - does light dawn? I suspect a recent name change from "Institute" that people aren't aware of. Anyway, you can indeed join. http://www.bpi.co.uk/join-bpi.aspx explains benefits.

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An interesting article. Thanks.

There's also a problem the other way. With dodgy adverts appearing on legitimate sites. Which leads me to wonder how much of the blame to put at the door of the ad networks.

I've noticed that quite a few web cartoons take the scummiest, dodgiest adverts for diet-pills and work-from-home-scams. This includes something as big as Dilbert, which surely could manage to get financed by better adverts than that?

I've always been amazed by the piss-poor quality of Facebook ads as well. Maybe it's because I log in every 6 weeks or so, and post even less frequently - plus my personal information is only partly true. But surely it's not in Facebook's interest to be running ads that are obvious scams - it's truly amazing just how many Eastern European and Asian women want to marry me, and how many competitions I've won with prizes of free iPads. I've even won a few Lexuseseseseseses! Or is it Lexii?

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>work-from-home-scams

You mean being a money laundering mule (assuming you don't fall for the fake cheque, forward us a part of it scam)?

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Alternate option:

Stop caring. A company's ads appearing on a site as determined by some algorithm is not endorsement. If the ads work and sell things, what's the problem?

I think we all know why the BPI is getting involved in this, too: Potential to cut off another avenue of funding to pirate sites.

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ACx

Re: Alternate option:

Yeah, very little to do with porn or beastie abuse.

Frankly, we should all heave a sigh of relief that they haven't .....yet..... slung in the buzz work of the decade, word "terrorism". I suppose its because its low risk to accuse some kid downloading Iron Man 3 of supporting and financing Al Qaeda, but not easy to accuse Lexus of it.

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Happy

Re: Alternate option:

You and I understand that an ad appearing on a dodgy website isn't an endorsement, in fact a lot of people do but image management is key to making advertising effective (and it is effective). If you are a household name say Coca-Cola it is bad juju to have an ad appear on a site that endorses say baby seal hunting*. Even if it isn't readily apparent the Human brain links adorable dead baby seals together with 'a Coke and a Smile', it isn't a big jump mentally to begin to see Coke as the fuel that keeps baby seal hunters going through their long days on the tundra. Very few brands want to be associated with baby seal hunting.

*Replace baby seals with anything that isn't cool and refreshing...

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Re: Alternate option:

Suricou Raven,

Ads are all about perception, and creating a good one of your brand/product/image. Companies take this stuff incredibly seriously. Admittedly much of it is utter tosh, but when I worked for a US multi-national, the document explaining how, and under what circumstances, to use our company logo went to 19 pages! And heavy forfend if you put the logo at any angle other than 19 degrees, except in the few situations where it had to be straight-and-level...

There's just been a successful campaign on Facebook by women's groups. FB wouldn't remove images they didn't like of violence against women. Apparently Facebook's image can't get any worse, so they hit the advertisers. They'd got Nissan and one other global company to pull their ads from Facebook in only a couple of weeks of campaigning. Because people were complaining to any company who's ads appeared on those pages. And who can blame the advertisers for hating that association? I'm sure they don't approve of rape, nor do they control Facebook's ad-slinging engine.

Much of marketing is about sticking your logo next to something that people like, and hoping some of the magic will rub off. And to some extent that works. So the last thing companies want is the opposite effect, which may be ineffective, less effective, or in their nightmares - more effective. People are more likely to complain than to praise, after all.

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Re: Alternate option:

>adorable dead baby seals

That's a bit much. I don't mind the hunt, but they look more adorable alive.

>...long days on the tundra

The seal hunt mainly takes place on ice in and around Newfoundland and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

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Stop

ads

I just cannot understand why anyone is using a browser without using Ad-blocking.

If I wanted to see adverts I could just watch TV....there's a slight problem, I don't own one.

Every time I'm stuck in a hotel room and put the TV on I realise why I got rid of it. Mindless drivel interspersed with vacuous crap and I'm not sure which of those are the adverts :(

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Re: ads

ad-blocker you have to work at. If you notice it comes configured to let a load of doubleclick ads through the filter.

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Re: ads

I think part of it is user loyalty and part of it is ignorance. I block plenty of ads but some sites (like El Reg) I let serve what they will. I understand that those ads help keep one of my favorite web resources alive. I've even clicked on some that piqued my interest.

As far as ignorance goes, the non tech users who do bother to use an IE alternative often do it because 'their friend who is in IT uses FF or Opera, so I should as well'. They don't get into the whole add on scene and even then they often get frustrated because it is seemingly always updating and as stated using AdBlock requires management and lots of people simply don't want to bother. They want it to 'just work'.

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Re: ads

The ads help to pay for the web sites that carry them - that's why they're there. So, browsing minus ads is watching the show without paying. Having said that, I used to prefer browsing with all graphics disabled - a much faster experience on a slow connection, and, until Google text ads came along, it was nearly ad-free.

I rarely buy products after seeing the advertisement. That's paying for the advertisements as well as for the product, and it shows in the price. But if everybody did as I do, then it wouldn't work.

Also, all of the supermarkets where I buy food advertise, although they rarely advertise the food that I buy. I suppose they don't need to, since I'm buying it anyway.

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Ad Networks - What Is Shady?

While not porn, even El Reg gets some dodgy ads flying their colors. The 'Search Public Arrest Records' and the 'Intimate Wear for Her and Him' always get me. Most of the ads are appropriate but then out of left field comes along that is not only irrelevant to my searches but not really suitable for the venue. This isn't a knock on El Reg it just highlights how difficult it is to control automated advertising.

Most of the control systems I've seen for advertising (on both sides) are fairly broad category based systems that don't allow very granular management. Intimate wear probably falls under the 'Clothing' category where that option doesn't allow 'Type' to be determined. There's also the trust factor that has to go full circle, ads can't be deliberately mis categorized or it undermines the whole thing.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Ad Networks - What Is Shady?

Pretty much. I've got nothing to do with the ads side of El Reg but I used to run a series of corporate sites. Management there was not keen on Google ads at all, because their perception was that it was too difficult to control exactly what showed up.

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Joke

As Lowery points out, however, after trawling terabytes of evidence:

"I've never seen Coca Cola or Apple advertisements on a hardcore pornography or pirate site. If Apple can control it, so can others."

Well, I guess somebody has to do this kind of research.

Terabytes of it, no less.

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Apple and Coke don't buy Google Adwords, so they never show up in porn.

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Anonymous Coward

Lexus marketing money bestiality video evidence?

Where exactly does it say that, do you have a link to this panel discussion?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Lexus marketing money bestiality video evidence?

See the link 5 paragraphs down, "brands include". I'm feeling generous this afternoon so here's a direct link: http://thetrichordist.com/?attachment_id=5428

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Happy

Re: Lexus marketing money bestiality video evidence?

What kind of poor excuse for a moderator are you? Feeling generous? Pah! In my day our moderators whipped us, beat us, then cut us into tiny little pieces and danced on our graves. And we were grateful for it too!

...mumble, mumble, young people... mumble, mumble... A proper war, that'd do 'em some good... bring back the birch... national service... mumble, mumble, long-haired can't tell if it's a boy or a girl... mumble, mumble...

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Thumb Down

Maybe it would be better to allow Google ads on adult sites and let advertisers decide if they want to allow their ads to appear there or not. Or better yet they could have a few tiers along the lines of movie ratings. Then it would also save mildly edgy sites from having to live in fear of getting their ads cut off completely.

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The reason you don't see Apple and Coke on those raunchy websites is simple, neither buys Ad Words advertising from Google. There is also very finite control of the media and geography with the Google Ad Words platform.

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