Friday, February 12, 2010

The Logic of Keyword Advertising Strikes Again

Exactly a month ago I suggested that the best thing about keyword-based advertising was the entertainment value of some of the weirder placement decisions that ensue. Perhaps this will become the Web-based version of those clips of ludicrous text excerpts that used to provide comic relief from the more intense contributions to The New Yorker. (I have no idea if those bits are still there. I gave up on taking The New Yorker seriously enough to warrant a subscription decades ago.)

Last month's keyword entertainment was purely American and was based on the all-American pastime of figuring out whether Sarah Palin is the country's savior or the devil incarnate. This time the source comes from the other side of the pond, but the subject matter is just as American. It concerns a Texas mother, Melanie Typaldos, who, along with her daughter Coral, has decided that the family pet should be a capybara. This should be entertaining in its own right. The Web page comes from the Picture Galleries department of; and there are fifteen (count them!, as Phineas T. Barnum would have said) photographs of this beast (named Caplin Rous) enjoying (?) domestic life in Texas. (I particularly like the one where Caplin seems to be trying to hang his head out of the rear window of a car, as one would expect of a pet dog.)

However, I am less interested in Caplin and his relations with the Typaldos family as I am in the advertisement Google chose to associate with this item:

As one who really does not believe in trying to turn wild animals into house pets, I found this a particularly appropriate reminder of what one is likely to expect should one decide to choose a capybara over a more reasonably-sized hamster. It is hard to imagine that Caplin will ever be toilet trained, and one only has to get a good look at his size to appreciate the inevitable consequences of that failure!

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