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Logging in from different computers; different ads shown

Why are different ads shown?

     
4:15 am on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Over the holidays, I viewed one of my sites from a relative's computer while at the relative's home. The relative lives about 5 miles from me & in the same town. The relative uses a different ISP than me.

I was surprised to see ads appearing on my pages that I hadn't noticed when viewing those same pages from my own computer at home over the past few months. The ads were targeted, but different ads than I see at home.

When I returned home that evening, I visited the site from my own computer and saw basically the same ads I usually see on the various pages.

Any idea what causes this?

FarmBoy

5:17 am on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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incredibill's been talking about that since at least the summer. In discussions about whacking MFA's he has related that checking your ads from somewhere else you will find dramatically different ads, and not just geotargeting either. His point is that the inventory is vaster than people may realize.

So for the why about it, I like bill's explanation that the inventory is larger than most people assume. It does make you wonder though, if there's some kind of geographic and personalization algorithm at work. Like, if you're the owner of the site, AdSense won't waste impressions on you, so it shows trashy low paying MFAs instead. Wouldn't that be a hoot?

7:44 am on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Interesting . . .
11:26 am on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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... if there's some kind of geographic and personalization algorithm at work

This theory may not be too far off the mark. I spend a lot of time researching blue widgets. If I look at sites with adsense, I often see ads for blue widgets, irrespective of the site topic.

My father (300 miles away) spends his time researching red widgets. He's also confirmed seeing a greater proportion of red-widget ads on sites he visits.

It does seem a bit far-fetched that the adsense algo can be that darned clever, and a bit big-brotherish too. "We know you like blue widgets, so we'll show you ads for blue widgets". But who knows? Maybe it is that clever.

11:28 am on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I actually thought that this was a known about Google tactic. I thought that they had implemented some sort of behavioural algo - and the ads displayed to you were somehow sorted related to the user surfing history. Was this not discussed in here some time back?
12:52 am on Jan 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It does make you wonder though, if there's some kind of geographic and personalization algorithm at work.

Does Google get reliable information on my geographic location? Two reasons why I ask:

1. There is a major U.S. city located about 200 miles from me and my ISP has a facility there. Sometimes I see what appears to be targeted local ads but AdSense assumes I'm in that city - is it because my ISP is located there.

2. For one of my sites, the stats will show a map of the U.S. and the number of visits from each state. The state of Virginia is usually over-represented. I used to wonder why until someone told me AOL is located in Virginia? Does Google think everyone on AOL is in Virginia?

FarmBoy

11:38 am on Jan 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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This is happening since quite a while.

[webmasterworld.com...]

Basically, google identifies the surfing and searching habits of each user and shows related ads.

As john_k said in that thread:

Gee, that's really odd Mike. When I visit "innocent-site.com" on my computer, I see a bunch of Martha Stewart and Amazon.com ads. How come when you hit the same site you get all of these adult sex toy ads?
9:25 pm on Jan 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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@farmboy,

Geotargeting is a best-effort service. One should not expect it to return "correct" answers.

3:51 pm on Jan 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm vacationing in Florida at the moment and none of my usual advertisers are visible and the ad inventory is full. You can sample ads from different regions from your desk just by using a proxy from a different part of the country or somewhere else in the world.

This is why I don't waste my time chasing and blocking MFAs because the ones you see may not be seen in other locations and/or there may be others you'll never see. It's a losing battle.

6:05 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It's a losing battle.

Strong words, Bill.

  • Are you implying that any perceived gains in earnings from filtering sites are short-lived at best?

  • And that the low paying ads some are plagued with might be endemic to their niche?

  • And that for every advertiser they block, there may be thousands of other advertisers ready to step in with their penny bids?
6:33 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm saying MFA hunting is a losing battle because for every one you can see there are many more you probably can't because of your geographical location.

Maybe someone can start a new service to find them called GeoMFA :)

8:37 am on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I am inherently not exactly completely comfortable with the idea of not knowing which companies or individuals are advertising on my sites. It just doesn't sit right. Google should give you a list of which advertisers/ads appeared on your site. Don't we have a right to know? I really don't like having to visit my sites to see which ads appear to see which ones I need to kill, knowing I won't see the half of all ads that appear--and then being given a limit of 200 sites to ban. It all seems so primitive for a supposesly sophisticated company. Is this the best Google can do? Imagine publishing a magazine without being allowed to know who was advertising in it. I really don't like wasting people's time, but that's what happens with all these pathetic MFA sites which get ads on my site. I feel like putting up a note beside the ad blocks which reads:

"Please carefully check the URL in the ad which appears in superfine font size you can barely read before clicking on the text link above it. If the domain name looks really stupid, it's probably an MFA junk site, so don't waste your time clicking on it."

p/g

8:57 am on Jan 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I am with incrediBILL here, and my filter is empty since more than a year.

A few reasons for non using the filter:

1) my site has a very wide range od subjects. I am targeted by ALL the MFAs, the 200 sites limit would be plain ridicuolus in my case. That would be just enough for the Ebay affiliates...

2) it costs an MFA a few dollars to buy a new domain name every week, and rotate the ads. I will never be able to keep u with that

3) geotargetng might be in effect (even though I doubt MFAs are geotargeting)

4) I guess that (as the OP was saying) a lot of MFAs will be hiddem from my sight: I will never see them, my users will.

Possible factors causing this:
- the location of advertiser and of the user might influence the ad choice EVEN IF REAL GEOTARGETING WAS NOT USED
- the browing history of the user might trigger a different ad choice
- in particular, it would be dumb of Google not to use the past history of the user's CLICKS when determining what ads should be served. Now tell me: how often do you click on your ads? :-)

Let's not forget we are talking about a COMPETITIVE filter, i.e. a filter to remove your competitors, like "I don't want to promote the guy across the road that sells the same widgets I am selling". It's not that the filter does not work, just that we are using for something it wasn't designed for.

 

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