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Chapter 7. Ads > Hacks 81-85

Hacks 81-85

You've probably noticed Google's advertising—or perhaps you haven't. But it's there, on the periphery of every Google results page. Then again, no one can blame you for overlooking the ads, since they're small, text-only, and rather unobtrusive. Nonetheless, they're effective. It turns out that hiding straightforward, content-like ads in plain sight is rather a relief in today's Web of flashy (and, indeed, flashing) in-your-face advertising. Visitors have learned to tune out traditional billboard-like ads and hone in on textual content—and Google's AdWords.

But simply grabbing eyeballs isn't quite enough. It's the click-through—clicking an ad and following it to the advertiser and its products—that counts. This is where Google's AdWords really shine. They're not simply rotating, flip-of-the-coin ads; they're every bit as relevant as the results of your search are. Query Google for "volvo safety" and alongside the Volvo safety reports and crash tests you'll see Car Safety ads from CARFAX (http://www.carfax.com) and Volvo Auctions from CHEAPCarFinder.com (http://www.cheapcarfinder.com). Try pirates and you'll be served (at least at the time of this writing) a Walmart ad. What's Walmart got to do with pirates, you ask? Not much, it seems, but they purchased the AdWord and must have had some reason for doing so. Click the link and Walmart's product search turns up a Gameboy game, as well as VHS and DVD versions of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean. If Google has nothing relevant to show, it'll show no ads at all.


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