Tweets began appearing within minutes of yesterday’s yarn about the launch of a New Zealand book on managing reputation risks. At the bottom of the page was an advertisement for Nickelback’s Auckland gigs. For those who don’t know, Nickelback is a Canadian faux rock band that most rock fans regard as, well, let’s just say dubious .

The advertisement damaged my reputation as a cool dude around town. There’s a lesson in that.

I’ve experimented with WordPress’ WordAds programme. WordAds is like Google Ads, serving up advertisements to readers based on words found in the posts.

Google Ads gives users a little control over the ads it displays, WordAds gives you no control at all.  Given the choice I’d prefer not to promote Nickelback on my site, after all I’ve a reputation to protect.

I fail to see how the WordAds algorithms made a link between reputation management and Nickelback. Ah, hang on, no perhaps it isn’t.

Either way, the important point is advertising is yet another avenue of reputation risk for online publishers to worry about. It was easy in the old days when publishers sold their advertising directly, but there’s less scope to reduce risk when using an automated service like WordAds.

Jokes about Nickelback aside, WordAds hasn’t shown anything flaky so far. I’ve used Google Ads on other sites and some advertisements have been extremely embarrassing. So, if you’re  worried about your online reputation, you may need to accept you can’t afford to display advertising.

2 thoughts on “Reputation management, online advertising: not a good mix

  1. It’s quite complex really. Google AdSense uses the content as *one* of the signals when selecting an ad to show. The other signals include obviously location, and sites previously visited by your reader.

    For example I’ve visited the website for a Las Vegas hotel looking for their address to ship a couple of parcels before staying there, and for the week after that, regardless which site I visited I got to see ads for Las Vegas hotels, restaurants, shows and more.

    Right now I see adds for IDS (Intrusion Detection Systems) on this page, because this is what I have been looking at previously. Someone else will see different ads.

    Back to your post, if someone saw “Nickelback” ads, then either they were visiting ticket sites for upcoming concerts, or they really visited sites about Nickelback before visiting your blog – in which case your “reputation as a cool dude around town” remains at high level, while theirs is the one that is gone downhill…

  2. Remarketing on Adwords is a standard practice and will definitely keep your cool with the individuals that were searching for that band or product. However, Bill you have a point in that you are limited in ways and each site owner must be aware and control what displays on their sites as advertisement. Our reputations are at stake.

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