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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?
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?
... 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.
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?
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?
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.
It's a losing battle.
Strong words, Bill.
"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."
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.