Google's ads are the way Google Inc makes money. They are displayed on Google search results, related Google services (like Gmail), or on any other site with a web owner trying to earn some spare change. (You can buy your own ads using "AdWords," or sell your page space using "AdSense.")

Now the key to Google's ad success was relevancy. Google analyzes what's on the page, or what the searcher is looking for, and automatically chooses a fitting advertisement.

And this is where the fun starts.

As with any automation, we can see how sometimes computers and the human-created algorithms they work on are incredibly dumb at deciding just what fits onto a given page… in particular on exceptional circumstances. Here's a slide-show of those exceptions:

Say No To 0870 Telephone Numbers.

The page clearly states "Say No To 0870 Telephone Numbers." And what did the Google ads on it decide to advertise? "Memorable 0870 numbers," and "Free 0870 numbers."1

insure the Mars Rover

Yes, why not just insure the Mars Rover1? That way, if it gets lost the mission is still a success...

The Yahoo shop has everything

The Yahoo shop has everything. Including farts reviews.

eBay has everything too

Oh, eBay has everything too!2

Syphilitic singles

Syphilitic singles3... hmm, there has to be a bigger fish out there...

performance art

This is a "performance art" ad by Christophe Bruno (see Chapter 17).

there's a discount

Of course there's a discount. The pet is dead after all.

Google ads can be a one stop life help center

Google ads can be a one-stop life help center4. First, they aid you on cheating; then, they help your partner find out about it; and finally, they tell you how to cope with it once that happens!

What's that...?

What's that...?

come in handy when Superman's around

This might come in handy when Superman's around.

End Notes

1. Xcom 2002. (

2. Colleen Kane. (

3. Harlow. (

4. BrainWise. (

5. Zman Biur. (

6. Matt's Mac Journal. (