Geography-specific online ads is a dumb, dumb idea!

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Someone up the ranks in the online advertising industry – where the air is sufficiently thin and brain functions are sufficiently paralyzed – must have thought it would be a great idea to do geographically targeted advertising on online websites.

What they forgot to think through was that that scheme only works when the website itself has sufficient localization.

Because otherwise, just when contextual internet ads had begun to seem relevant, we were just thrown back in the stone ages.

Let me give you some beautiful examples to prove my point:



Question: HOW ON EARTH is it a smart idea to put out ads for online dating websites for techcrunch readers? How on earth is someone coming to ALREADY LOOKING FOR good marriage websites?!

How is this going to give them good ROI?

A couple of more examples below:

I also saw a "BBC Urdu Service" ad on TechCrunch, so let me repeat: Why on earth would I be interested in BBC URDU if I’m coming to TECHCRUNCH.COM…. you think I’m going there to look for good news services in urdu?

Here’s another one:


Why on earth would I be interested in Blackberry if I’m searching for "RON PAUL" on YOUTUBE? Do ONLY businessmen care about Ron Paul videos on YouTube?

Facebook comments:


  • To complete this rant, contextual ads would be much much much more useful for “global-focused” websites.

    As a techcrunch reader, I WOULD probably be interested in TheBigNetwork or VC or Angel Investors; development platforms; consulting support services or more.

  • On the other hand, if I were looking at, say, a Google Local versino of PK, it wouldnt hurt to also see local ads…. but again if they’re contextually revelant for god’s sake.

    I have very little attention to give anyway

  • bombed back to the stone ages 😀 lolzz!

    at first, even i was worried about this fact, especially when i kept see-ing mobilink and telenor ads wherever i went online.

    however, at this point in time, i doubt there is a sufficient market of online advertisers to start ‘contextualizing’ these ads for our country. When you have a million pageviews a month from our country and only a couple of advertisers, they kind of get monopoly dont u think.

    (somehow, i think this is how google got 2 sell ad space to mobilink in the first place :p lol)

  • Yea, which is all the more reason to let a good system run.

    I dont have a problem that Mobilink can solve – I have a problem that some service provider out there can solve, but I havent heard of him.

    If my problems could be solved by local guys I wouldve found them already.

    Let us just discover people abroad and connect with them so that we can continue to hope that the internet was meant for flattening the world.

  • At times it induced impulse buying behaviour. It about marketing and i dont see a problem with this. Its just you are not interested in online-dating, but many people got aware of category this this.

  • Obi Wan Kenobi

    And you think the researchers at Redmond/Mountain View/Sunnyvale labs do not have enough data to make decisions regarding this?

  • @Obi,

    They certainly do but what Osama meant was that geography-specific ads should also cater for the ‘context’.

    I guess the context should be mentioned by the publishers or the advertisers. Currently google adwords does not let publishers or advertisers control the context where ads can be displayed. But this may not be as simple as it sounds as it would mean that it should know what site is displaying it which I assume could be quite tough (how does urchin ad snippet determine context of the page? should the page specify some tags in it’s “meta” field or what? should publisher specify what ad it wants to display? etc etc.)

    So is there an entrepreneur out there that can build a wrapper on top of google adwords and make em context sensitive.

  • I have been working on a similar model and looking for investors .. any advice?

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