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Search Engines Keep The Lights Out On Fireworks Ads, Mostly
Yet, ads for explosives and pyrotechnic devices like “firecrackers,” “bottle rockets,” and “fireworks” are not allowed per the advertising policies of Google and Bing — and their respective search partners like AOL, Ask, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo.
Sam Engle at BrandVerity took a look at how well the search engines are doing at enforcing their own rules during this peak season for festive explosives.
Engle found a few ads that managed to get through. One ad for an Indiana-based fireworks store, Uncle Sam Fireworks, showed up on Bing, and Ask (a Google ad partner) had an ad for Dynamite Fireworks. Notice how both ads below claim to be “Closest to Chicago”? Turns out both sites are run by the same company.
When we tried to replicate BrandVerity’s findings, most of the team here at Search Engine Land struck out. I spotted some legal ads for sparklers, but that was it. Matt McGee managed to spot these ads below on Yahoo and DuckDuckGo, both of which are Bing Ads partners. The ad on DuckDuckGo, from comparison shopping engine, Pronto.com, links to a page of books on fireworks, and is a fine example of the broad use of dynamic keyword insertion used by many CSEs. (BrandVerity spotted a similar DKI ad from NexTag on AOL.)
It appears the search engines are having an easier time enforcing their ad policies when it comes to fireworks than they are in other areas such as weapons. You can be fairly confident the fireworks you see tonight weren’t purchased through a pay-per-click ad.