Here’s something that’s probably not in the script for the Obama campaign:
I noticed yesterday on this conservative anti-Hillary web site an ad for Barack Obama’s campaign site, prominently displayed among titles like “Truth Boating Hillary” and appeals to “Derail Hillary.” The bottom of the ad clearly stated that the “Meet Barack Obama” ad was paid for by Obama for America.
The ad’s presence on a site accusing Clinton of breaking federal election laws isn’t necessarily the result of a direct decision by the Obama campaign. Most likely, the campaign bought certain key terms from Google, which, through its automated calculations, placed the ads where those key terms appear. (It’s noted right under the ad that it was placed by Google.)
Google puts it this way: “Ads by Google are contextually relevant advertisements that appear beside related content on the page.”
It’s the same reason that Obama ads turned up on web sites sympathetic to Fred Thompson in July.
I asked JT Thompson, the webmaster of the anti-Hillary web site, for an explanation.
Here’s what he said:
“The ads on the site are Google’s AdSense. As a site owner we have no control over the ads. We DO have the ability to block certain domains from being advertised, but other than that its all based on Google’s technology, including special keywords they use. There’s no way for us to know that. (What the search terms are.) If it were publicized it would be abused so there’s a real tight lipped exchange between publishers and advertisers.”
Out of curiosity, I asked the Obama campaign what search terms they might have bought to end up there. Spokewoman Jen Psaki responded only with the following statement:
“The campaign purchases web ads using keywords on google, but most of the sites are chosen through a computerized system. The ad is nolonger on the site and we monitor placement closely.”