Of internet advertising, photocopiers and lotion

by Francois Joseph de Kermadec

There is something so irritating and pathetic about these «advertising sites» big hosts now put in the place of placeholder pages for domains that have been bought but somehow never used…

Last week, I was browsing the web looking for information on a band called «The Isotoners», which someone had introduced me to — my work requires me to gather as much information on as many topics I humanely can, so here I went Googling to my heart's content. Somewhere on a site, I clicked on a link that had been misspelt and ended up on one of these advertising sites.

Note how sneaky these have become? The title page of that domain had automatically become "Everything about the Isotoners" and a quick lookup of the source code confirmed that, indeed, the page was customized depending on what words were to be found in the link I had followed to arrive there.

I was about to go back and shoot a friendly mail to the site's webmaster when my attention was drawn to a very unusual promotional offer to purchase… Minolta supplies. What had Minolta to do with an independent New York-based band? And most of all, why was there, right below that offer to purchase bulk photocopier supplies an offer to rejuvenate my skin with some Paraben-infused lotion?

Oooo… Toner! But of course! Incapable of finding anything relevant for the word "Isotoner", the site thought I wanted to buy "toner". Then, incapable to decide which kind of toner, it proceeded to present me with offers related to both kind of toners… I appreciate the thought, of course, but given that these two are about as incompatible as one can get, I'm not convinced it was the best way to lure me into clicking onto a link…

Now, of course, there is an upside: I thought the mishap was so sad and funny at the same time I spent 10 minutes contemplating my very mixed feelings and completely forgot about being mad at the advertisers… ;^)

What about your advertising mishaps?