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Google AdSense Forum

Interest-based AdSense ads based on Bing search?
How could this happen?

 7:08 pm on Jun 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

I rarely use Google for search these days. I switched to Bing a few months back when others here at WebmasterWorld decided to "kick the habit." On Tuesday, I found out that a person I once knew was working for a company I hadn't heard of. I did a search on Bing using my IE toolbar to search for the company name.

Bing listed the company first in the SERPs, of course, and I clicked the link and visited the site. The site was a corporate site, and had no advertising on it whatsoever.

I looked at a couple of pages, then left.

Later on Tuesday night, I was at another site totally unrelated to my site or the company site I had visited earlier. Wasn't I surprised to see an AdSense ad advertising that company!

Now, today, I've seen ads for that company appearing on MY site as well.

How in the heck does AdSense know I searched for this company? I used Bing to search, and that site didn't have advertising on it. I do not have the Google toolbar installed on this computer.



 7:14 pm on Jun 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

They're in the house!

Maybe there are 3rd party ad networks sharing data or advertising both places? Dunno. Nothing would surprise me.


 8:50 am on Jun 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

Did the company website use analytics?
Although - they aren't supposed to cross the data like that, are they?


 11:26 am on Jun 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

I didn't check to see if the company website uses Analytics or not, but I will.

That company's ads have followed me around the Internet, showing up on all kinds of sites. And I am NOT INTERESTED in that company now. I went, I saw, I'm done. So, Google continuing to show me ads for that company is ridiculous.

How many other ads that do interest me have I not seen because of this policy?


 1:37 pm on Jun 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

They don't know that you searched for the company. You WENT to the company's website. They are using the recently new Google AdWords program that allows a google to cookie the website visitor to later advertise to them.

This is the disadvantages with that program. Advertisers need to find the right balance of reaching back out to their previous visitors. Too much, like you are seeing is annoying and a waste of their money. Asking a consumer every five minutes if they are now interested is not good for a company's reputation. But, here and there would once in a while might make more sense. Each company needs to figure out their own sweet spot.


 3:04 pm on Jun 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm sure they probably tested the crap out of it and figured that on the whole, it was successful enough to risk the collateral damage of ticking of some users.


 7:37 pm on Jun 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Went back and checked the company website I visited. It is using Google Analytics.

So, Google is using its analytics service to display interest based ads based on sites people visit. Can you say "Big Brother is watching?" I will say I don't much care for it, not at all. And now that I've visited the site again, I'll probably see nothing BUT ads for that site.

Note to Google: I. Am. Not. Interested. In. This. Company.

I was curious about a person I used to know, and that's it. Interest over. No more ads.

If anything, this just proves to me the interest based ads don't work, because I normally have ZERO interest in the field this company does business in. So, any ads Google shows me for it are WASTED.

Edit to add: The site does not use AdSense, nor does it have any ads on it at all, so it has to be Analytics.


 11:56 pm on Jun 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

So, Google is using its analytics service to display interest based ads based on sites people visit. Can you say "Big Brother is watching?"

...Edit to add: The site does not use AdSense, nor does it have any ads on it at all, so it has to be Analytics.

I try to be careful about reaching and stating such conclusions so adamantly.

For example, someone might just come along and report a similar experience yet on a site that doesn't use Google Analytics.



 12:14 am on Jun 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

The code for setting the remarketing cookie is installed on a page-by-page basis, so unless you checked every page you viewed on your previous visit you might not spot it.

I strongly agree with Chrispcritters that showing followup ads can backfire if it's overdone. Remarketing is like pepper on your pasta ... you need to keep a light hand about it or you'll ruin the recipe.

If our AdWords forum could achieve one thing over the next while, I wish it could be getting the message out to advertisers that they should be using tight frequency caps if they're using the remarketing feature.

Overdoing the followup ads is just shooting yourself in the foot.


 6:34 pm on Jun 27, 2010 (gmt 0)


It was a bit of a relief to see that the site did use Analytics. If it hadn't, I'd be looking for my tin foil hat to wear! I don't like what they're doing, but the options are likely worse.


I agree about the tight frequency caps. I'm still seeing ads for this company today. And now that I know why, they irritate me.

Google cannot possibly know why someone visits a site, or if that same person is using that computer the next day. It would be nice to know how they (think they) determine if an interest-based ad or an ad related to the content of a particular site is best at any given time. In my case, they've missed the mark. Big time.


 1:25 pm on Jun 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I strongly agree with Chrispcritters that showing followup ads can backfire if it's overdone. Remarketing is like pepper on your pasta ... you need to keep a light hand about it or you'll ruin the recipe.

That same question has been out there long before IBA existed. How many times does Google show the same ad to a visitor before changing the ad to something else?

Depending on where you go for reference, there are advertising books that claim sometimes a person needs to see a message 6 or 7 or whatever number of times before responding. I wonder if Google follows this theory and tries to limit the number of times an ad displays to an individual?

It's not just IBA that's causing the repeat messages to be shown to a visitor. A site about widgets might display a green widgets ad to a visitor each time he/she visits that site and even if a frequent visitor.

Is there a magic number of impressions that should cause Google to decide, "OK, that's enough, he's not interested, let's show him something else"?



 1:48 pm on Jun 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Within AdWords the default is no cap on impressions.

Advertisers can set their own caps, though, and in many cases I think it would be wise to do so.

a person needs to see a message 6 or 7 or whatever number of times

I don't think many folks would complain about seeing the same ad 6 or 7 times in a few days.

But to see the same ad 66 or 77 times a day, that just gets stupid.


 10:09 pm on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just thought I'd update everyone: I'm still seeing ads for the site I visited twice. It's been about 10 days since I was last there, no interest whatsoever, yet I'm still seeing "interest based" ads!

We're going on two weeks now...anyone wonder why your AdSense income seems down? Could it be because they're showing ads that were of interest weeks ago, but haven't been since?


 1:14 am on Jul 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Another update, in case anyone is interested. I am STILL SEEING ads for the company site I visited. Interest level is ZERO. If Google is doing this to others, it's easy for me to see why clicks and earnings are down.


 4:11 am on Jul 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Following a visit to a long bookmarked site, I now have an interest-based ad for it following me from site to site as well. It's like being stalked. I only see the ad on content sites, not in Google search. I used the competitive ad filter to block it from my own, very unrelated sites because I was so sick of seeing it.


 1:51 pm on Jul 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

...I now have an interest-based ad for it following me from site to site as well.

I had the same problem with a certain type of ad.

But I found that after I went ahead and bought one of those Russian brides the ads went away.



 3:29 pm on Jul 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is that what it's gonna take? Cause I get those ads on myspace all the time.


 11:16 am on Jul 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hi folks,

I can't tell you how annoying I've been finding these repeat ads. It seems like the same 3 or 4 advertisers have been clogging up every ad position on every unrelated website for weeks !.

I came across this forum thread on a google search for a way to stop them, and I've come back to join up purely to tell AndyA and the others above there is actually a cure for this nasty advertising disease.

Each site you visit that has signed up to Google Adwords has the option of tracking your cookie and displaying one of their own ads to on whichever subsequent sites you visit. In fact Google have a lovely little video explaining the fluffy goodness and positive aspects of this on youtube. (I'm not sure if it's ok to post links here, but just go to youtube and search for "Google Privacy: Interest-based advertising ")

However, to stop these wretched things following you around then the next time you see one of the ads just click on the tiny "Ads by Google" text at the bottom. This will take you to a page about adsense/adwords. Half way down the first paragraph there is a link to "Ads Preference Manager" Click it and you'll be taken to a page where you can choose the type of ads that interest you, or, thankfully there is an opt-out option. Yay !.
They'll make you jump through a couple more hoops, like installing a plug-in for Firefox to permanantly opt-out, and some advice to make sure it works for Safari and Chrome.(Other browsers incidentally, have no get-out clause here you're stuck with the ads, you just get to choose what type, although I didn't check Internet Explorer). You'll also need to do it for every browser you have, e.g. if you have Firefox on your laptop and your desktop machine, or even multiple browser versions then you'll have to repeat the process for each one. But, eventually it will work.

Also, please remember it's not just Google that forces this stuff on us, all those sites that are members of other advertising networks do just the same e.g. AdBrite etc. However, they are relatively easy to opt out of. Just go to their collective site called : Network Adveritising org, and you'll see a big red button taking you to a long list of ad networks (and a little scarily which ad networks have already stored your cookie) which you can pick and choose to opt-out of.

To be clear, none of this stops ads appearing. It just makes sure you'll generally see ads relevant to the content you are browsing rather than the same ones again and again on unrelated sites. Guess which is my personal preference ?.

I hope this helps anyone that is getting fed up looking at the same ads all day/week/month

Thanks for reading, sorry it was a long ramble. I'm off to explore the rest of this site, it looks pretty cool.



 11:41 am on Jul 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Overdoing the followup ads is just shooting yourself in the foot.

i dont think it affects the companies that much. if you dont click the ad, then they dont have to pay. so it doesn't cost them a penny. and they could argue that they are building up brand awareness for free. if it annoys the people who have no interest in the site, so what? they aren't going to be interested in the site anyway. so its a no-lose situation for them.

(although dont you get a quality score based on click through rate? im not an adwords user so i don't know, but maybe that would act as a disinsentive)


 2:31 pm on Jul 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

@londrum: I have used adwords some time back. And that time the ad used to get disabled if there are not enough clicks. Only option to re enable the ad was to increase your bid. Dont know how it works now or with IBA.
May be the adwords veteran here may put some light on this aspect of IBA.



 10:22 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

So, Google is using its analytics service to display interest based ads based on sites people visit


Could be, maybe. But can you go back and check to see if there is any DoubleClick code on that first site you visited.

In the past couple of days I've noticed "DoubleClick Spotlight Tag" code on merchant and corporate sites and then -- of course -- ads for these same companies following me around. And as far as I could see, Analytics wasn't used on these sites.


 10:33 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)


I checked the site code and everything I could see very carefully when I went back. The site is not an ecommerce site, so no shopping carts. No ads, I'm certain there was no DoubleClick code as I would have noticed that.

The only think I found was Analytics. The corporate ads appear to have stopped following me around this week. Thankfully. Still, the "interest based" ads lasted way too long. Google should know that people have short interest spans these days.


 10:47 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

No ads,

Yeah, I didn't see "ads" on the sites I visited either. The code inserts a 1x1 iframe in the page and calls a file from from fls dot doubleclick dot net.

So, whether it's a DoubleClick, Analytics or both, you just can't get away from 'em.


 2:16 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Okay, at least I found the marketing term for all this: Retargeting.

Code is inserted into a merchant or corporate page in order to serve a third-party cookie. DoubleClick uses a 1x1 iframe for this, fetchback dot com uses a 1x1 gif.

Navigate to a site serving DoubleClick or Fetchback ads, the cookie is read and the appropriate "retargeting" ads are served.


 2:47 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

I had Adsense on one page of my site to try to take advantage of a very competitive search term that my site ranks in spot #1 nationally. That service is very broad and I've carved out a small niche and packaged my service in a way that others do not so that it is in fact very unique. So my point is I don't mind running a 468 width Adsense banner just to try it out for curiosity sake. CPC for that term is very high and would possibly earn me a bit of extra income. So it ran for a few days but then yesterday I dropped onto the page by mistake while updating another one and what do I see -- ads for purse hangers! Heck I know I didn't search for anything purse related, in fact no consumer search of any kind. My site is all information technology. Out comes notepad, whip open the file for that page, rip out Adsense script, FTP upload, resolved. I'm not going to be a Google prisoner. I also abandoned using their search engine about a month back, abandoned my private GMail account, constantly flush regular cookies and LSO Flash Super Cookies, if I go to an unfamiliar site disable JavaScript before entering -- they really have gone overboard.

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