Hogan's Alley

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Google Homepage Now Including Ads Disguised As News Stories

I use Google Homepage as my browser's homepage. It includes, at the users discretion, various news and info sources such as the NY Times, Washington Post, USA Today, etc. What is posted on the homepage is a heading, which is a link to the homepage of each source and a selection of lead stories from each which function as direct links to those stories.

On today's page, for the first time, the following link appears under the list of stories allegedly from the NY Times, "Accounts Payable Clerk, Mentor -4, Inc, - Tacoma, Washington". A curious lede for an story in the Times, no? The link is in fact a help wanted ad at a site called Thingamajob.com.

The question for Google is who was paid to place this ad, Google, the NY Times, or both? More importantly, what makes anyone thing that raw deception is a good or productive tactic for advertising on the web? If any thing, it is surely dishonest and annoying.