One Very Scary Search

In our August story about search engine marketing, Alison Overholt wrote about an advertiser’s “worst nightmare.” Next to an online story in The New York Post about a horrific murder involving a body that had been cut to pieces was an unfortunately placed advertisement from Google’s AdWords for, well, luggage.

But that’s nothing compared to this even more terrifying example of online ads gone wrong. The blog AdRants posted a story today about how Kraft inadvertently found itself advertising on a white supremacist site. When a Connecticut reporter, researching the group, searched for “Halloween” on the hate group’s site, a Kraft ad appeared, making it falsely appear that the company was sponsoring it. Google, in adherence to its “do no evil” mantra, disabled the AdWordsfree search technology on the group’s site.

Gaffes like this are rare, but certainly dangerous as the paid search market continues to explode. At the very least, they’re a take-notice reminder that the search engine marketing world can still be a tricky one to navigate.