WSJ.com - Automated Ads Serve Up Nonsense: "Google Inc.'s powerful search engine can find nearly anything on the Web. It also serves up targeted advertisements alongside search results -- some of which leave consumers scratching their heads. Take 'lost dogs,' for example. A recent Google search turned up an ad promising 'great deals' on lost dogs. Similar ads touted bargains on 'disease,' 'sewage' and 'rot.'
Behold the bloopers of hyper-automation. Google lets companies bid to have their ads appear when users type in keyword phrases on its search site. Some advertisers, including online auctioneer eBay Inc., sign up for hundreds, or even thousands of these keywords at a time, generating automated, fill-in-the-blank ads around each. Google's computers then place these ads on pages automatically, sometimes without a human editor ever being involved."
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