I have been on the road for most of the last two weeks, so I have been getting current events news on both CNN.com and Google News, particularly about the Air France plane crash. A couple of days ago I noticed Google News was now embedding videos from (what I believe are) “trusted video news sources”, such as the Associated Press. If you see a tiny YouTube icon, you click the news link, and the video pops up underneath and begins playing. Sunday morning I noticed that one of the news videos about the Air France plane crash was showing ads for a travel site, which popped up overlaying the bottom of the video, after the video ran for about 15-3o seconds.
Inappropriate? Yes, it is a plane crash and people are sensitive to the issue. As an advertiser? Well, I can’t speak for all advertisers, but I am pretty sure most would be extremely ticked off to discover their advertisement for a travel site were showing up on a video about a major air disaster.
Here are screenshots from Google News showing the ads on the disaster videos, the first advertising charter flights, the second advertising a Brazil photo gallery, targeted since the flight took off from Brazil. Click each for the full size version.
Now, it has been a week since the Air France crash, why hasn’t Google added that phrase to a stop word filter on YouTube when showing through Google News, similar to the AdSense stop word filter (which words pretty well). And it isn’t exclusive just to the Air France disaster either. Other world current events with human tragedy have also been showing inappropriate ads as well.
In my mind, news videos that have anything to do with disasters, loss of life, terrorism, etc, should never show ads… PERIOD. It doesn’t take much to know that inappropriate ads will appear on these videos. And since many do seem targeted, such as the Brazil photo gallery ad on the Air France crash video and solar panels on the collapsed roof explosion, why isn’t it being stopped? And for that matter, why don’t these video uploaders – particularly the major news organizations – have the ability to click a button or check off a checkbox stating that the video contains content that might be disturbing or upsetting to others, and that advertising should not be displayed.
Perhaps when they launched this feature, no one thought about the fact that both viewers and advertisers might be offended by ads overlaying on inappropriate videos. It is far better for Google to lose a bit of income with an over-excessive stop word filter (one that would trigger for any news stories featuring words such as bomb, crash, kills, deaths, explosion, terrorism, etc). But in my opinion, there is no excuse for this kind of situation to be happening period, especially when shown on Google News, and particularly when they want to be considered a trusted source of news information.