Deftly-played? Or plain creepy?
If you Googled “Virginia Tech shooting” or “Virginia shooting” this week, the Internet search engine served up dozens of links to news about the university massacre. Yet some media outlets weren’t taking the chance of missing readers’ attention by being bumped down the list. The New York Times and The Washington Post, for example, bought keyword ads that put their coverage into the prominent “sponsored links” atop the Google results page. The Times, CNN and Fox News got similar links up on Yahoo; Fox News also mined MSN.
And the point’s a valid one. Despite the fact that mainstream media sites saw a traffic boost around the Va. Tech shooting, the Times can’t assume readers are going to go to them for breaking news on a national massacre. Quick solution: buy the Google keyword.