Normally, contextual advertising is a good thing for advertisers and content creators alike. It matches products with pages around the web containing content that is relevant to those products. But what happens when contextual ads go wrong? You might find your ads running on news stories about people that used a product similar to yours to commit murder.
That happened just this past week when OregonLive.com, the website run by The Oregonian newspaper, continued their coverage of the Jeremy Christian murder trial. Like a lot of news organizations they make money off native advertisements from Taboola. Like a lot of advertisers, Deejo writes articles about their latest products, and uses Taboola to drive traffic to those articles. Unlike most new stories, the Jeremy Christian trial involves the stabbing of three people with a pocket knife, and unlike most advertisers, Deejo makes pocket knives. A match made in heaven right?
Taboola's algorithm thought so. The end result was the running of ads promoting Deejo pocket knives on news stories about the murder trial of Jeremy Christian (https://copblaster.com/blast/3370/oregonlive-com-running-pocket-knife-ads-with-jeremy-christian-news).