I spent a long time today reading about last night's porch-collapse tragedy in Chicago. I grew up in the Chicago area and knew one of the people who died in the incident.
Reading the news was shocking enough, but it was especially disgusting to see how one news site presented inappropriate advertising with its coverage. After reading the Chicago Sun Times' account, I was shocked to see text ads for San Francisco Stairs and deckrailings.com, two companies that construct porch-related materials:
The ads appeared at the bottom of the story, as if to say, "Do you have a porch? Do you want to prevent this from happening to you? Well, check out our products." This is a sick, sick exploitation of a loss of human life.
And that wasn't all. I reloaded the page a few times and saw even more inappropriate ads -- links to Aluminum deck railings, Construction books/videos and a list of "Top 9 Must-Do Home Repairs for the Summer."
As Web advertising systems become sophisticated enough to allow for ultra-targeted advertising based on content, online ad programmers should keep in mind that targeted ads aren't always appropriate. Sometimes they're infuriating.