targeted advertising, sort of

John M. Klassa (
Wed, 08 Apr 1998 08:58:54 -0400

I find it interesting that at least one search engine (or meta search
engine, as it were), MetaCrawler, makes some assumptions about what
kinds of things you're interested in. Apparently, the mere mention of
the word "sex" in a query is enough to have it consider you a candidate
for sexually explicit ads.

To wit, I queried for "nc sex offender registry", since I'd heard that
the North Carolina sex offender registry had been put online & I wanted
to see who might be lurking in my neck of the woods (FWIW, there were 13
in my ZIP code; shudder). What I got back was one match and an ad that
showed two women going at each other. Nice.

For fun, I tried "sexually transmitted diseases" -- thinking that such
a query might not be at all out of line for a young person doing a
little research on the net, perhaps for a school project. Looks like
"sexually" doesn't trigger the adds (or maybe it's the presence of

To see which was the case, I tried "sex disease" (without the quotes --
the others queries were with quotes). The explicit ads were back.

Anyway, no real point... I just find it interesting (and a little
disheartening). No comment necessary from you, CobraBoy -- I know what
your opinion is. :-)

John Klassa / Alcatel Telecom / Raleigh, NC, USA <><