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Can you trust contextual ads?

You might recall I talked about SiteTruth a while back, a free service that revamps search results from popular search engines to rate the trustworthiness of advertisers based on a variety of real-world factors. I suggested that they develop a GreaseMonkey script to rate contextual ads, and they went ahead and did just that.


Check out SiteTruth AdRater. It requires GreaseMonkey and Firefox, and it gives you the same kind of experience for many contextual ads that SiteTruth has done for search engines. You can see an example of its ratings for my blog’s home page below.
SiteTruth AdRater in action
SiteTruth’s AdRater stepped in to show what it thought of the ads. You can see the Google ads on the right of the screen, with one ad getting a green check, one a red minus sign, and the third a yellow question mark. Now a bad rating wouldn’t keep me from clicking on an ad that really seemed relevant to me, but I admit I would probably give the company a longer sniff test before I actually bought something.
I don’t know if SiteTruth will catch on with consumers, even savvy ones, but this is an idea that makes too much sense not to show up in one form or another. Perhaps SiteTruth should team up with Norton or one of the other companies that markets products to prevent phishing attempts. The same folks concerned about phishing would probably be interested in SiteTruth’s take on the reliability of advertisers.
If you’re an Internet advertiser, check out SiteTruth and see how it rates your company. As the Internet continually becomes a more sophisticated marketplace, you need to be aware of what criteria your customers will use to rate your company, and to stay ahead of the pack. Using offline criteria to rate online ads is an idea whose time has come. Don’t get caught napping with your reputation at stake.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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